Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's debt limit plan is convoluted. Some conservatives have argued that it is a surrender of the debt limit issue, but I don't think that's the right way to look at the plan. The plan is primarily a political device. First, let's look at the details.

In one sign that top leaders worry they won't reach a deal in time, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) unveiled a proposal that would allow President Barack Obama to raise on his own the federal borrowing limit by $2.4 trillion in three installments before the end of 2012, unless two-thirds of Congress votes to block it.

Because Mr. Obama would have to lift the debt ceiling, it could place any political fallout on him for doing so. But Republican conservatives protested that Mr. McConnell's plan would give up the leverage the GOP has to force the White House to approve government spending cuts in return for a debt-ceiling increase.

There are many implications to this plan.

  1. President Obama could increase the debt without cutting any spending if he wanted to. There's no way that a veto-proof majority of Congress would vote to block the increases.
  2. Every Republican could vote against debt limit increases three times.
  3. Most Democrats would have to vote for debt limit increases three times, potentially paired with zero spending cuts.
  4. Every Republican in Congress and every Democrat senator up for election in 2012 could pin the blame for the increased debt on the President.

McConnell's debt limit plan isn't primarily designed to reduce spending -- it is a political plan aimed at scoring points for the 2012 election.

Pejman Yousefzadeh thinks the plan in unconstitutional.

Jennifer Rubin calls it a pincer movement intended to show the the world that the only one who can prevent the debt limit from being raised is President Obama.

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