PREDICTION: HOW THE DEBT DEBATE WILL UNFOLD
Here’s what’s going to happen:
1. The Senate leaders from both parties and President Obama will coalesce around the Gang of Six deal based on the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission.
2. After initially voicing reservations, House Speaker John Boehner and, perhaps, Majority Leader Eric Cantor will sign off on the deal in return for some unimportant modifications.
3. When the deal reaches the House floor, all hell will break loose and the rank and file Republicans will revolt en masse. Defying their leadership, they will reject the Gang of Six deal in caucus.
4. The House Democrats, who could provide the votes to pass the bill when their ranks are added to those Boehner-loyalists who back the proposal, will refuse to go along unless there are equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats voting for the Gang of Six proposal. Not wanting the albatross of passing the gang’s proposal as a Democratic plan, they will withhold the votes on the House floor for its passage. Boehner won’t bring it up for a vote.
5. The deadlock in the House will push the government beyond the August 2nd deadline and Obama will be forced to admit that it was a phony date all along. He will suddenly “discover” enough coming in via tax collections to pay for the debt service but other functions of government will have to be trimmed back or halted after the debt limit fails to pass.
6. Then a stalemate will ensue in which the House Republicans will call Obama’s bluff and stand firm against caving in to more tax increases.
7. And then???? Who knows who will win that standoff. The debt limit will go up. Really conservative Republicans will still be outraged. So will really liberal Democrats. But the majority of both parties will vote to pass it. And everyone will debate who the winner was politically.