Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Proposal to Keep the BCA Joint Committee Moderate

The success, or failure, of the Budget Control Act's Joint Committee, which will have the resposibility to craft a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction package, will depend in large part on who is assigned to the committee.

Party leaders from both sides are facing pressure to pick party loyalists. Many Republicans don't want anyone appointed that will support revenue increases. Many Democrats don't want anyone appointed that will support reductions in the growth of entitlements. If party leaders appoint people who are unwilling to compromise, the committee will stalemate and no deal will be possible.

Here is a proposal that would help the party leaders, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell, avoid this situation: they could each agree to choose one person from the opposite party.

Each leader chooses three members. In this scenario, each would choose two from their own party and one person from the other party. So, Boehner and McConnell would each choose two Republicans and one Democrat, and Pelosi and Reid would each choose two Democrats and one Republican, for instance.

Since Boehner and McConnell would choose centrist Democrats, and Pelosi and Reid would choose centrist Republicans, at least four of the 12 member committee would be centrists and a compromise bill would most likely emerge from negotiations.

Congress would not have to do anything to make this happen. An agreement among all four leaders is all that would be needed to make this happen.

What do you think? Please let me know in the comments below.