Some Senators Want to Bring Back Bowles-Simpson to End the Shutdown Crisis

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 8 2013 3:52 PM

Some Senators Want to Bring Back Bowles-Simpson to End the Shutdown Crisis

Lindsey Graham sees a role for Gitmo in the shutdown negotiations.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The talk in Congress today, about a possible way out of the funding showdown, was about committees. Not supercommittees! No, people want to forget about that experience. Just some sort of deal that funds the government long enough to restart the normal negotiation process, and conferences. This latest mirage got a couple of the Senate's moderates talking about the great panaceas of yore.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, for example, told reporters that he hoped something "like Simpson-Bowles" might re-emerge. "I'm hoping we get a big package that fixes our long-term debt," he said. "Look at spending, look at revenue, look at reform. Look at what Tom Coburn showed the other day, on abuses of Social Security disability. ... If we can get a tax system that's more fair and equitable, and we spin off more revenue from that, this is a win-win situation."

Montana Sen. Max Baucus, the Finance Committee chairman who's retiring this year and really wants tax reform to be his legacy, didn't really play ball on this. "Fund the government first," he said, as reporters asked him about a possible deal to get to a wonderful reform-minded conference room.


But the fantasy was attractive to others. "My own proposal is take the supercommittee, the Gang of Six, Simpson-Bowles, and the president's own budget, and cobble together an agreement on structural changes to get us out of debt," said Sen. Lindsey Graham. "There's a lot of documents. All of this has been vetted."

This doesn't feel like 2011, when both sides in Congress—and the White House, and outside groups—spent months talking about a deal. This feels slapdash, reactive to how the White House won't negotiate until Republicans drop Obamacare. "They think they're winning, and obviously some people on our side feel like we're winning," said Graham. "If this is winning, I'd hate to be losing. ... Show me a way this ends without Boehner and Obama talking. I don't know how this ends. Maybe we put 'em both in Gitmo."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.