(Debt) Deal Or No (Debt) Deal?
Looks like party leaders may be close to working out the basic shape of a deal to raise the debt limit. ABC News has the rundown:
Sources from both parties tell ABC News that the major potential roadblock in deficit negotiations– the triggers—are now essentially agreed upon. The plan is for the House to vote on this tomorrow, assuming all goes according to plan.
The agreement looks like this: if the super-committee tasked with entitlement and tax reform fails to come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction that passes Congress, the "neutron bomb" goes off—as one Democrat put it—spending cuts that will hit the Pentagon budget most deeply, as well as Medicare providers (not beneficiaries) and other programs.
If the super-committee comes up with some deficit reduction but not $1.5 trillion, the triggers would make up the difference.
So it's a minimum $2.7 trillion deficit reduction deal.
And the debt ceiling will be raised by $2.4 trillion in two tranches: $900 billion immediately, and the debt ceiling will be raised by an additional $1.5 trillion next year – either through passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment, which is unlikely, or with Congress voting its disapproval.
There are apparently still conflicts over exactly how the cuts will be structured; ABC reports that Republicans are pushing for smaller defense spending reductions while Democrats want to "exempt programs for the poor." But even if leadership buys in (which seems likely), a deal amongst party chiefs isn't necessarily the same as a deal that can pass the rest of Congress. Leaders on both sides of the aisle still have to sell the agreement to the rank and file, and it's still not entirely clear whether House Speaker John Boehner, in particular, can sell his caucus on the plan.