Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and one of the group of six senators that has been meeting in the hopes of coming up with a serious effort to address the fiscal crisis dismissed Paul Ryan’s budget proposal today, which should bring this “bipartisan” effort to a quick end.
The rapid dismissal of the House plan by Conrad –a plan which reflects the overwhelming vote of the people in November– confirms the fear that conservatives have always had about this effort: that it would end in a proposal for huge tax hikes untethered to meaningful entitlement reform. Since Conrad took Medicare reform off the table, the three GOP senators should leave the table which is already cluttered with growth-killing tax hike proposals.
The GOP senators involved in the effort are solid conservatives, but they should recognize now that Senator Conrad’s invitation to treat was never serious. It couldn’t be when Conrad took less than a day to dismiss the Ryan plan, demonstrating that the Schumer hyper-politicization approach rules the Democratic caucus. Every GOP senator should stand behind the House GOP and prepare for the stand-off with the president and Harry Reid that will be necessary to frame the issue for the public. Continuing the charade in which only tax hikes get debated but not entitlement reform injures the possibility of getting to serious reform in the future.