Continuing to suggest he would not be satisfied by any agreement made to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” Sen. Bob Corker introduced legislation Wednesday offering suggestions for how to negotiate one of Washington’s next political battles-the debt ceiling.
The senator issued the bill, called the Dollar for Dollar Act, which would allow for a raise in the federal debt limit by nearly $1 trillion next year, only if the move is accompanied by a combination of nearly $1 trillion in reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Corker suggests the reforms be broken down into increments of $689 billion in reductions to Medicare spending, $62 billion in reductions to Social Security and $136 billion in spending cuts that would be a result of instituting a chained consumer price index.
In total, the reductions amount to $937 billion-the same amount the bill would allow the debt limit to hit.
In a news release, Corker suggested the chance to take on meaningful entitlement reform in the face of the cliff had been missed and that debate on the debt ceiling would allow Congress their next chance.
“The next opportunity we have to make the structural, transformative reforms to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that will save these programs and put our country on a path to fiscal solvency is the debt ceiling debate,” Corker said. “I’ve introduced dollar-for-dollar legislation that will raise the debt ceiling by roughly $1 trillion in exchange for roughly $1 trillion in reforms to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”
Many of the senator’s suggestions are similar to ones put forth in his recent Fiscal Reform Act of 2012. Hyping the plan last month, Corker had hoped it might play a role in continuing negotiations surrounding the $700 billion double-whammy of tax increases and spending cuts set to go into effect at year’s end.
Corker, who originally suggested a compromise could be reached between President Barack Obama and Republicans by moving to cap itemized tax deductions at $50,000, recently said GOP negotiators ought to consider ceding an increase in tax rates for the nation’s top 2 percent of wage earners in order to gain leverage for future debates, such as the debt ceiling.