WASHINGTON -- With the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation's debt limit fast approaching, the Senate has cancelled its Fourth of July recess to address the issue.
The president insists on tax hikes as part of a debt deal, while Republicans say the only solution is to cut trillions in spending.
But one GOP lawmaker says he has a plan everyone should be able to agree on - and it's based on a penny.
The Penny Plan
The copper-plated penny -- you can find them virtually anywhere.
While some question its very existence, to Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., it's the key to trimming a bloated government. He's nicknamed the measure, officially known as One Percent Spending Reduction Act, "The Mack Penny Plan."
"It's a bill that says to Congress that you'll have to cut 1 percent - or one penny - out of every federal dollar for six years," he explained.
He told CBN News if Washington embraces his idea, it would cut $7.5 trillion, cap federal spending at 18 percent of the economy, and balance the budget in eight years.
"It's one penny out of every federal dollar. It's not a lot of money. This is something we should be able to do easily," Mack said.
In a recent interview with CBN News, Rep. Connie Mack explained the origins of his "Penny Plan." Watch below.
The one cent solution is gaining supporters on Capitol Hill. So far, Mack's proposal has around 40 co-sponsors, and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., recently introduced the same legislation in the Senate. The plan also has its own grassroots network with supporters in every state.
Fly in the Ointment?
But Michael Linden, director for tax and budget policy at the Center for American Progress, says when it comes to entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Mack's plan runs into problems.
"The cost of running the Social Security program goes up every year, not because Congress is changing how much we're giving to each beneficiary, but because there are more beneficiaries," the Florida lawmaker said.
"And if the benefit just keeps pace with inflation," he continued, "the cost of Social Security goes up every year because of prices and because of more people."
But Mack believes the beauty of his plan is that Congress could cut some programs more and some less - so long as it makes a total reduction of 1 percent from spending each year.
"Either the Congress is going to decide where those cuts are going to come from, or it's going to be across the board," Mack said. "And most members would rather us find ways to make those cuts without doing across the board. That is really the stick out there."
Rep. Mack told CBN News that it's the "fight for freedom" that gets him up in the morning. Click below for more from the Florida lawmaker about his political philosophy.
"The Congress and the president need to work together, or, if not, all of us will go home sharing in the responsibility that we cut across the board," he warned.
As the debt ceiling deadline gets closer, Mack and other Republicans are insisting that GOP negotiators include their demands in any agreement.
"The only way I'm voting to raise the debt ceiling is if we have a Balanced Budget Amendment, if we have my bill, and if we put caps on spending and an automatic rollback of the debt ceiling," Mack said.