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

170334784
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.

Advertisement

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

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.