The measure itself - which would tie the passage of a balanced budget amendment to any increase in the debt ceiling - has many ardent supporters in the House. And while it will probably pass, its chances in the senate are extremely small and the fate of the balanced budget amendment itself is equally problematic.
By giving Tea Party conservatives in the House of Representatives a chance to take their favored legislation as far as it will go, House Speaker John Boehner may buy himself some needed goodwill from a vocal segment of his party that has sometimes viewed his deal-making efforts with suspicion.
That could make it easier for Boehner to eventually pass legislation that could be acceptable to President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate, clearing the way for an increase in the debt ceiling before August 2 when the federal government faces a default on its financial obligations.
Even as Boehner touted his party's latest plan at a news conference on Friday, he left open the possibility that the House may take up a compromise being shaped in the Senate that so far has failed to catch on with junior lawmakers.
"The cut, cap and balance plan that the House will vote on next week is a solid plan for moving forward. Let's get through that vote, and then we'll make decisions about what will come after," he said at a news conference.
Since a 2/3 vote is needed in both the House and the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment, a balanced budget measure might not even make it through the House. Boehner knows this, which is why the McConnell compromise that would cut less than $2 trillion and hand authority to President Obama to raise the debt limit has a decent shot of being passed next week.
Both sides want the blame to raise the debt ceiling to fall on the other. Rather than address the deficit issue seriously, this is what passes for statesmanship these days from both parties.