CBO: Reid plan reduces deficits by more than Boehner plan, but less than advertised 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan for hiking the debt limit would reduce deficits by $2.2 trillion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, with about $1 trillion of that number coming from the expected wind down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you take the higher number, it falls short of the $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction claimed by Reid when he unveiled the plan, but if you exclude the war savings, it still reduces deficits more than the $851 billion in Rep. John Boehner's plan, which is currently being reworked.

Politically the news reshuffles the deck in several ways. Reid can no longer claim that his plan meets the Republican demand that any debt limit increase is paired with an equivalent reduction in deficits. Yet it also allows Reid to claim that his plan saves more money that Boehner's does, which may put more pressure on Boehner to find additional savings as he tweaks his plan.

The breakdown of the deficit savings in the Reid plan are as follows: $751 billion in discretionary savings excluding war savings, $1.8 trillion if you include war savings, $41 billion in savings on mandatory spending, and $375 billion in lower interest costs.

A likely difference between the two plans is that Reid relies more heavily on defense spending cuts, although the CBO doesn't break down the numbers in that way.

Jenifer Rubin raised alarms over the Reid defense cuts yesterday.

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Philip Klein

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