House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is calling in the big public relations guns: former co-chairman of Obama debt commission Erskine Bowles. Bowles has long been an advocate of entitlement reform, recognizing that Americans entitlement programs are unsustainable in the mid- to long-term. A GOP House aide told The Hill, “”The problem is that congressional Democrats are drawing lines in the sand against the substantial spending cuts and reforms that are crucial to any agreement. We have to highlight the fact that the president’s own party is the roadblock here.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who has come under serious and sustained fire for his decision to break with the party base and vote for a tax increase, says that the discussion needs to shift to what will be cut rather than which taxes will be raised. “Any time [Boehner] can emphasize to them that we said revenues need to be on the table, they need to say entitlements need to be on the table, certainly that would help the progress.”
Democrats have yet to offer even one specific cut. All leading Democrats will say is that the White House “is floating cuts behind the scenes.” Bringing Bowles into the discussion is a good move for a Republican Party flailing to even raise the issue of spending cuts in a discussion that should be entirely about spending cuts.