No Time for Gangs

On Bloomberg TV yesterday, Kent Conrad sounded optimistic about the chances of scoring and readying for passage the Gang of Six’s budget plan.

I can tell you that we are moving to put in legislative language for what we’ve done. We think that’ll take a couple of days because we’ve done a lot of that already. And then to get it scored, we don’t think that’ll take very long because the elements of our program - much of it has already been scored to help our work.

Optimistic, but not certain. In 12 days, the government runs out of borrowing authority. It will take some number of days for the CBO to score the Gang’s plan – which is not, right now, in legislative language. The House needs the final bill to be available for three days before a vote can be held. We’re talking either about 1) superhuman effort or 2) some multi-week plan that punts the debt limit increase to give the Gang more time. That seems to be what the White House left room for by saying, after ruling it out, that a short-term deal would be doable.

What does the Gang have so far? Below, I’ve embedded the document that senators are basing their raves on. There are lots of “ifs” and working groups – they outnumber the clear decisions. This remains a hard sell to the House, even if the CBO’s number guys buy out Five Hour Energy.

Gang of Six