I’m sure Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell have received plenty of advice in the recent past, but I’m going to dare to offer some of my own. Here is an imaginary speech which I am imagining they could deliver to shore up their negotiating position.
Mr. President, the Republican Party has gone on record with its proposal. It’s called the Ryan Plan. It’s been written up as legislation, scored by the CBO, read by the American people, and passed by the House of Representatives.
On the other hand, the public doesn’t really know what you are offering. You have said that you would take your argument to the American people. Although you may have intended that as a threat, we think that’s a great idea. In fact, we think it’s a necessary step to continue with these difficult negotiations.
So here’s what we’ll do. We’ll postpone these closed-door meetings while you write up in plain legislative language the proposal from the Democratic Party. Once we have it in hand, we’ll ask the CBO to score it as quickly as possible, and we’ll move it aggressively through hearings and other steps in the legislative process. We’ll put it before the public for their input. And, we’ll hold clean up-or-down votes in the relevant committees.
Now, we won’t promise to pass your budget. We hope you understand by now that Republicans won’t vote in favor of a budget that we think is bad for the American people. Nor will we promise not to filibuster it in the Senate, because that’s one of the tools available to the minority party in the American system.
Our expectation, however, is that it will receive the support of enough Senate Democrats to receive a majority vote in that house, since you do hold a Senate majority, and enough House Democrats to receive at least a 1/3 vote in that house. Why is this important? Because that will show that you are serious, and it will give us something specific to debate, in the halls of Congress as well as at the kitchen tables of America. We can then get back together in our effort to find common ground, between the choices and priorities expressed by the Ryan Plan and those expressed by the Democratic proposal.
We look forward to resuming these critical negotiations promptly.