“We have to try to get together and see what we can do in a bipartisan way, that’s true,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday. “But on the debt ceiling, you know what I’d say to Speaker McCarthy when we sit down: Show us your plan.”
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., met with members of the conservative Republican Study Committee on Wednesday to talk spending curbs, among other issues. At a press conference earlier in the day he told reporters that Republicans have already been vocal about the types of cuts they’re seeking. He said Republicans want to rescind unspent COVID-19 relief dollars and go after fraud in those programs. He also made a pitch for preserving Social Security, telling reporters “we strongly believe Social Security needs to be strengthened for seniors who paid into it.”
McCarthy and other Republicans have referred repeatedly to discretionary spending caps deals enacted going back to 2011, including under divided government, that have accompanied debt ceiling increases.
In the 2011 deal cut after a financial market-rattling summer debt limit standoff, Republicans and the Obama administration agreed to 10-year discretionary caps that the Congressional Budget Office estimated at the time would save $756 billion over a decade.
Those savings were locked in prior to the “sequester” that was part of the second phase of that 2011 law, which triggered after the “supercommittee” couldn’t reach a deal on mandatory savings and tax increases. Ultimately Congress ended up loosening those caps in subsequent legislation, but discretionary funding still wound up below the baseline that CBO estimated in early 2011.