The debt-ceiling plan authored by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) cuts the deficit by more than the plan by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) if an assumption about war funding is removed from the Reid bill.
Without assuming a drawdown in military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Reid bill only cuts the deficit by $909 billion. That's $8 billion less than the $917 billion Boehner plan. With the war funding factored in, the Reid plan cuts $2.176 trillion over 10 years.
The newly revised Boehner plan has the potential for even greater savings because it would require a balanced budget be enacted. Depending on how it is structured, a balanced budget could require many trillions of dollars in deficit cuts to achieve.
That's hardly the only problem with Reid's bill. As Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., points out, Reid's bill "deems two consecutive budget resolutions for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. In other words, it basically takes over the budget process and sets the basic spending number." Senate Democrats have already gone over two years without producing a budget, and to go two more without a budget seems like an untenable abrogation of responsibility.
Of course, there's still the not insignificant matter of getting Boehner's plan through the Senate. Jennifer Rubin reports on how that can play out, and while there's still a lot up in the air, there are also reasons for optimism:
Over in the Senate, an adviser to a senior Republican senator predicts: “Because Dems wouldn’t release any votes in the House, Boehner now has to do this with just Republicans. Reid will table this and I eagerly await Reid’s plan.”
You can guess that there is already some deal in the works between McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). You can imagine the House obstructionists need a way to step down from the limb that they have walked out on. There are dozens of ways this could play out. But for now, Boehner, though slightly bruised, now seems back on track to claim a win.
UPDATE: Here's video of Sessions discussing this on the Senate floor: