Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has checkmated the Democrats. He has proposed a bill that will allow Obama to raise the debt ceiling three times, up to $2.4 trillion, over the next 18 months, but only provided Obama proposes equivalent cuts in spending each time.

Finally, the Democrats will be forced to pony up spending cuts — or default on the debt and crash the economy.

Contrary to some hysterical Republicans, McConnell’s bill does not forfeit any of Congress’ authority: The House and Senate will still have to decide whether to accept Obama’s proposed cuts when they write their appropriations bills.

But we will finally get some proposed cuts to federal programs from Obama, and not more nonsense about theoretical savings from “investing” in our children’s future with additional spending on Pell grants and prenatal counseling.

McConnell’s deal cleanly takes the debt ceiling issue off the Republicans’ back and puts it on the president’s back. Either the Democrats tell us what they’ll cut or they’ll have to admit: “We will never cut anything. Everything Ann Coulter says about us is true!”

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