McConnell Offers 'Backup Plan' to Avert Default

It would give Obama the power (and blame) to raise debt ceiling
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2011 5:48 PM CDT
Updated Jul 13, 2011 4:16 AM CDT
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Another day, another round of meetings and threats, and still no deal on the debt ceiling. But the big news looks to be a surprise "backup plan" from Mitch McConnell that would give President Obama unprecedented power to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion in three installments through the end of his term, reports Politico. Congress could theoretically reject the separate requests, but Obama's veto power makes it a virtual certainty that all would go through. (The Hill has more details.)

McConnell said he reluctantly offered the plan to give the markets confidence that the US would avoid a default if no other deal is reached. Republicans would be giving up leverage but getting a "political payoff" in return, writes Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. Obama and Democrats would get "100% of the blame" for raising the ceiling, and no Republican would have to vote in favor. It's not clear yet whether the White House or even the GOP rank-and-file will go along, however. The National Review quotes a Republican aide in the House who thinks it will never fly because it means giving up too much power.

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