Ticking Clocks

McConnell Offers Back-up Debt Plan

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Tuesday a back-up plan to avoid a default that would essentially give President Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval—but will conservatives get on board? While House Speaker John Boehner expressed support for the proposal—“I think everybody believes there needs to be a backup plan if we are unable to come to an agreement, and frankly I think Mitch has done good work”—conservative activists were outraged. RedState.com called McConnell’s proposal “the Pontius Pilate Pass the Buck Act of 2011”; Newt Gingrich called it an “irresponsible surrender.” Boehner, meanwhile, seems to have lost control of the negotiations to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: The Washington Post details an exchange in which, after Cantor asked Obama for a list of details on a “grand bargain,” the president replied, “Frankly, your speaker has it. Am I dealing with him, or am I dealing with you?”