Another proposal would allow a bipartisan group of Senators to get a vote on a deficit reduction package on the Senate floor if a joint committee deadlocks or if its plan is not enacted. That, conceivably, would allow the Senate’s bipartisan “gang of six” proposal to come to the floor for a vote.
The trigger idea also is being pushed strongly by outside groups such as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Reid hasn’t yet agreed to any triggers, however, and earlier declared the gang of six trigger “a little weak,” but he has repeatedly said that he is open to compromise and will work with McConnell to try to find a solution.
Other trigger proposals for automatic spending cuts, repealing parts of the health care law or tax increases have proved toxic to one party or the other, and disagreements over them helped contribute to the demise of the “grand bargain” negotiations between Boehner and Obama.
Other than the question of the debt ceiling, the Reid bill and the Boehner bill are nearly identical when it comes to the level of discretionary cuts over the next decade, with only a few differences in mandatory spending programs.
Reid’s plan assumes an additional $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction from a drawdown in war spending; House Republicans assume the exact same drawdown but just haven’t tried to use it as real savings.
A Senate Democratic aide said Boehner’s version of the joint committee, which is squarely aimed at entitlements, “won’t fly” and would need to be tweaked to look at deficit reduction in general.
John Stanton, Humberto Sanchez and CQ’s Paul Krawzak contributed to this report.
This article updates the print version to include information on the House delaying a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s debt limit bill.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.