The Spectacle Blog

Debt Ceiling: Let’s Make a Deal?

By on 7.31.11 | 10:56AM

News broke late Saturday night that Republican congressional leaders had reached a tentative deal with the White House on a measure to increase the federal debt ceiling. It's one of those neither-fish-nor-fowl compromises that is sure to leave much unhappiness among both Democrats and Republicans.

Jonathan Karl of ABC News sounds a note of caution this morning: How many Republican votes can House Speaker John Boehner deliver for a compromise that abandons principles that were seen as essential to conservatives, when he could just barely get 218 votes for his own bill Friday? And if Boehner can't deliver a majority for the compromise deal, can Nancy Pelosi produce any Democrat votes at all, considering that zero Democrats voted for Boehner's bill? Getting Senate votes for the deal will likely prove less problematic, as the Senate thrives on compromise in a way that the House does not.

Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post briefly describes the contents of the deal:

The agreement would take the country through the 2012 election, but the Boehner bill two-step cutting process would remain. A trillion in cuts up front would be followed by $1.8 more to be determined by a bipartisan commission. . . .
The president gets a deal through 2012; the House gets its cuts; and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gets his commission.

Every party to this bargain could thus claim partial victory. The key triumph for the GOP? No new taxes, not even on those "millionaires and billionaires" whom Obama has been demonizing in his speeches for the past several weeks.

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