The two Republican lawmakers who are set to negotiate with Democrats over the debt ceiling limit are asking the White House to put its cards on the table. In a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to lead the negotiations, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl said they wanted to see a proposal from the president--and with cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office--before the discussions begin. "Such information will be necessary to have meaningful discussions regarding a legislative framework," the lawmakers wrote. The letter follows comments from Cantor earlier this week that he may schedule a vote on a "clean" debt ceiling increase, without any policy measures attached, only to show that such a bill would be a non-starter in the House. Cantor and Kyl are expected to begin negotiating with Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye, House Budget Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen and Democratic Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn.
Dueling Jobs Plans
Demonstrating a shift from the deficit towards the economy, both parties are unveiling dueling jobs plans this week. On Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio unveiled the Senate Republican Jobs Plan, which includes many items already on the GOP agenda, including loosening federal regulations on business and boosting domestic energy production, and repealing the Obama healthcare law. The plan also calls for simplifying the U.S. corporate tax code, by lowering the rates and eliminating "tax preferences" in the code for specific industries, although Portman was non-committal about whether corporate tax reform should ultimately raise or lower the overall amount of taxes collected--a controversial issue among lawmakers.
House Democrats are also set to unveil another jobs plan, dubbed "Make it in America," on Wednesday. Their plan will include incentives to boost domestic exports, as well as investments on education and energy. It also includes several items which Democrats have pushed for in the past, including eliminating wrinkles in the tax code which could incentivize companies to invest overseas, legislation to toughen the U.S. stance on Chinese currency manipulation, and also to cut "wasteful spending."