The top Democrat on the House Budget Committee offered tepid support on Wednesday for the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Six plan to raise the debt ceiling, saying he and his colleagues want to see the details before signing on.
“People really do need to digest what’s in there,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And we still haven’t seen the full plan … it’s really hard to get our caucus to focus on this without some of the detail.”
“Let’s see where this takes us in the next 48 hours,” Van Hollen said, adding that “we still need to proceed with Plan B in case this thing unravels,” referring to a plan that would raise the debt ceiling if a deal mixing spending cuts and new revenues can’t be reached ahead of the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
A small group of Democratic and Republican Senators — the Gang of Six — briefed more than 50 of their colleagues Tuesday on a plan to cut the deficit by $3.7 trillion over 10 years, which would include measures to raise $1 trillion in new revenues.
President Barack Obamamade a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to hail the group’s proposal as “a very significant step” that represents “the potential for bipartisan consensus.”
Van Hollen did the same Wednesday, saying, “I give these guys a lot of credit for coming together around the table in a bipartisan way to hammer things out….The overall framework mirrors what the president was trying to do. In some ways what the Speaker of the House was apparently trying to do, get a big deal in a balanced way. So that’s the good news.”
The Gang of Six plan “provides some additional momentum,” but there may not be enough time before early next month for all the details of a deal to be worked out, he said.
And an indication of whether House Democrats will support it must wait until the plan shapes up.
“I think our guys want to do what most of us think is the responsible thing, which is to say the United States has to pay for the bills for obligations we’ve already incurred,” he said. “Whether they are prepared to accept something along the lines of the Gang of Six proposal will depend on the details. That’s why it’s so important to get them quickly.”
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