McConnell presents debt back-up plan

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) presented an alternative plan for avoiding federal debt default if the parties discussing an increase in the debt ceiling were unable to come to an agreement before Aug. 2, when funding for federal government debt would run out.

Sen. McConnell’s plan would raise the debt ceiling in three incremental portions: $700 billion now, $900 billion before the end of the year, and $900 billion in the summer of 2012. The ceiling would be raised automatically on set dates unless two-thirds of both Houses of Congress passed a “Resolution of Disapproval” barring the President from borrowing more.

President Obama would be expected, but not required, to provide commensurate cuts for each rise in the debt ceiling. This plan would force all involved parties to have three record votes on the debt ceiling before 2012 elections. While specific cuts are not available at this time, this plan is considered as a possible way to avoid default without having to come to a long-term agreement on a specific budget plan. This represents a third official option for those negotiating an increase in the debt ceiling.

While the National Rural Health Association has no details yet on the cuts within this plan, NRHA strongly opposes the $14 billion in proposed rural hospital cuts under House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) plan.

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