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Republicans Looking at Catfood Commission as Decent Deal for Their Side

Republicans Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo will agree to vote for the Catfood Commission plan, meaning that the commission has 9 votes for passage at this point. Coburn admitted some hesitancy with what amount to tax increases in the plan, but since they’re only 1/3 of the solution and the social safety net would be permanently ravaged by it, I guess he got over it.

Among Republicans, only Paul Ryan has come out and said no to the plan. But you can bet that when he chairs the Senate Budget Committee in the next Congress, he’ll use substantial amounts of the spending cuts in the plan in his first budget resolution. Jed Hensarling (R-TX), who was initially skeptical of the plan, said yesterday that “he could live with a proposal to cut military spending and increase overall federal tax collections as long as income tax rates were lowered, spending cuts were enforced and Democrats agreed to reexamine the growth of spending envisioned under the recent health-care law.”

It’s unclear whether Hensarling or Dave Camp will break with Ryan. But Republicans are waking up to the fact that the Catfood Commission report is a pretty sweet deal for them. It doesn’t mean that the report will get the necessary 14 votes – Andy Stern is presenting his own plan today, and I’d be surprised if he’d vote for someone else’s, given that – but it does mean that Republicans can use the imprimatur of bipartisanship given to the plan to try and force many of its provisions through. Heck, even Jim DeMint had kind words for the tax reforms in there.

Democrats, then, have become isolated, with the “very serious people” on the side of far-right Republicans who want to destroy government. Which you could easily have predicted the day this commission was put into place.

UPDATE: The plan cuts Social Security, cuts tax rates for corporations and the wealthy, introduces spending and revenue caps so progressive governance is impossible, and encourages outsourcing. For a Republican, what’s not to like?

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David Dayen

David Dayen