To the Super Committee, and Beyond!

With Republicans beginning to focus their efforts on passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and further spending cuts via the “super committee,” it’s natural to wonder what plan – if any – Democrats have for the coming months. At a meeting this morning with liberal bloggers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explained her strategy and how Democrats would move forward after the August recess.

As with the Obama administration, which has officially made its pivot to jobs, Pelosi plans to stick to jobs-and-economic growth messaging instead of deficit reduction. Her reasoning is straightforward: When Washington talks about deficits, Republicans dominate and put Democrats at a disadvantage. What’s more, partisan fighting over deficit reduction tars both parties with the public’s hate, even if Democrats are working to protect middle- and lower-income Americans from painful cuts. “When 12 clowns are in the ring, and a sane person jumps in, he looks like the 13th clown,” said Pelosi describing the dynamic.

However, despite her reluctance to talk about deficit reduction, Pelosi was willing to talk a little about how Democrats will approach the “super committee” established by the debt-limit deal, which is tasked with finding an additional $1.2 trillion in budget savings. Democrats won’t draw any lines in the sand -- again, Pelosi says she wants to keep the focus on jobs -- but they are prepared to defend traditional Democratic priorities like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

For liberals worried that Republicans will return to hostage-taking as a strategy for forcing spending cuts, Pelosi offered her assurances, “It suffices to say that we won’t see a repetition of last week.” And while she declined to detail her plans, she did say that “a default is a much more serious consequence than a government shutdown,” implying a Democratic willingness to let the government shutdown rather than agree to further spending cuts.

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