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What is the Gang of Six Plan

What is the Gang of Six Plan

The gang of six is a group of six senators which consist of three democrats and three republicans. The six senators are chosen to propose a plan that will help in reducing the deficit and in preventing the debt ceiling. And this is called the Gang of Six Plan. Read More...
Foram Mehta
Two groups have been working the gang of six. In 2009, a group was working on 'health care reform bill' and in 2011, second group has been working on reducing the national deficit and preventing the ceiling of national debt; their proposal is called the Gang of Six plan. This plan was presented on July 19, 2011.
The Gang of Six plan is bipartisan plan that aims at solving the problem of deficit and avoiding debt ceiling. This plan has already received a nod by the current President of United States, Mr. Barack Obama.
The senators of the Gang of Six are Democrats - Dick Durbin, Kent Conrad and Mark Warner; and Republicans - Mike Crapo, Tom Coburn and Saxby Chambliss. This group is led by Mark Warner. However, the final proposal was eventually presented by only 5 senators on account of resignation of the senator, Tom Coburn. He quit because of a disagreement between him and the other senators on cutting the Social Security and Medicare. Coburn said, "The only way we get out of this problem is increasing revenues,".
Mentioned below are the three documents that were presented as a part of the Gang of Six Plan.
1. Gang of Six Summary
2. Gang of Six Slides
3. Gang of Six Charts
The plan focuses at slashing the national deficit by $3.7 trillion/ $3.6 trillion over a period of 10 years as per Congressional Budget Office's 2011 baseline or by slashing $4.65 trillion/ $4.55 trillion as per the original fiscal commission baseline. It also will aim at stabilizing the publicly-held debt by 2014 and reducing it to 70%, by 2021. Finally, the plan mentions to impose an unprecedented budget enforcement.
The Gang of Six plan has three legislative parts. The main features are mentioned below.
Part One
i. Cut deficits by $500 billion, by implementing aggressive deficit reduction down payment, immediately.

ii. Cut discretionary spending on security and non-security over 10 years.

iii. Spending money more efficiently on health care to strengthen the Medicare and Medicaid.
iv. Reforming the tax code by abolishing the $1.7 trillion Alternative Minimum Tax and reduction in marginal income tax.

v. Tightening government's budget process by imposing security and non-security firewalls and spending caps.

vi. Reforming social security for future generations by ensuring 75 year solvency.
Part Two
i. Cut deficits by $500 billion, immediately by implementing aggressive deficit reduction down payment.

ii. Imposing statutory discretionary spending caps through 2015 and implementing various budget reforms.

iii. Shifting to the chained-CPI, a more accurate measure to calculate inflation, from 2012.

iv. Repealing the Class Act.
v. Implementing policy changes such as freezing congressional pay and selling unused federal property and making unemployment insurance more effective.

vi. Implementing a comprehensive deficit reduction plan that includes discretionary, entitlement savings and tax reforms. This will require the committees to report within six months, the legislation that would attain real deficit savings in entitlement programs over 10 years.

vii. Submitting a report within six months for reforming taxes by broadening the tax base, lowering tax rates and generating economic growth, by the finance committee.
viii. In order to curb the wasteful spending by the government on programs to curb fraud and abuse, a program integrity savings of $26 billion must be achieved.

ix. Reviewing total spending on health care in 2020 to increase efficiency.

x. It has been mentioned in the plan that a expedited floor consideration should be provided for a consolidate bill meeting the instructions mentioned in the plan.
Part Three
i. Only if deficit bill has received 60 votes, a social security reform can be passed.

ii. The social security reform should ensure 75 year solvency. 

iii. If a social security bill does not receive 60 votes, vitiation of the votes on deficit reduction bill can be allowed.
There are two ways to measure social security which are '75- year actuarial balance' and 'Cash flow balance'. The plan states that the social security reforms should be met by both these tests.
Even though the Gang of Six Plan has received appreciation from the President, the proposal is still being critically evaluated for changing the way inflation is being measured and the tax reforms suggested in the plan.
President Obama said, "We have a Democratic president and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts, modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems and allow them to move forward, and would include a revenue component,". We now have a bipartisan group of senators who agree with that balanced approach. And we've got the American people who agree with that balanced approach."
Looks like this plan is going to achieve positive results in attaining their goals.