Too Late for the Grand Bargain?

By Clive Crook

Alexis Simendinger explains that the grand bargain Obama is demanding is already out of reach.

Writing any legislation takes time, and moving it through the House and Senate could take longer. Even if the president and the eight congressional leaders from both chambers suddenly sprinted to the Rose Garden waving a grand bargain sketched on legal pads, congressional enactment before the default-clock tolls is close to impossible, according to budget experts interviewed by RCP.

That's why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took the first stab on Tuesday at an emergency escape hatch. His proposal would effectively abandon Congress' legislative responsibility to approve the administration's requests to lift the nation's borrowing authority, and instead cede Obama the power -- and presumably the political blame, should voters object.

Putting aside for the moment details of McConnell's fallback idea, which appears unlikely to get serious traction among the House GOP, his search for a short-term fix was a signal that the usually canny Kentucky Republican now believes his colleagues need to identify Plan B.

If not McConnell's stratagem, then what?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/07/too-late-for-the-grand-bargain/241941/