McConnell plan recalls the Democrats' "deem and pass" scheme for Obamacare 

I've already detailed my objections to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's "last resort" proposal to resolve the debt limit fight, but I wanted to follow up on one point.

The usually solid Wall Street Journal editorial page is out with a thoroughly unconvincing item today defending the McConnell proposal, saying that if the complicated series of procedures he envisions go ahead as expected, "The President would get his debt-limit increase, but without Republicans serving as his political wingmen."

Let's get real. A vote for the McConnell proposal is effectively a vote to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion without any spending cuts. All President Obama would need to do is gain the support of just over one-third of the House and Senate.

If Republicans were to back the McConnell plan and then claim to voters that they never voted to raise the debt limit, they'd be insulting our intelligence. It reminds me of the desperate stages of the health care debate, when House Democrats floated the idea of using an obscure "deem and pass" strategy so their members could pass the despised Senate version of the legislation and then claim that they didn't directly vote on it. Democrats eventually abandoned the idea after a widespread backlash. And so should McConnell.

If Republicans decide that they have no leverage over Obama and no option but to raise the debt limit, they should have the courage to vote for a clean bill to hike it, and explain themselves to voters. At least that would be honest. McConnell's proposal totally reeks of the same sort of inside Washington gamemanship that Americans rebelled against last year.

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Philip Klein

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