It appears that the debt ceiling negotiations have reached the stage at which the players who have leverage are working out a deal behind closed doors, and everyone else is listening in, or so the New York Times is reporting.
Jake Tapper has updated the situation for this morning:
Think of the negotations as a sliding scale, with all parties being asked how far they’re willing to go.
The base level starts off with $1.5-1.7 trillion in cuts over the next decade, largely in domestic spending cuts and also from some mandatory spending programs (such as farm subsidies). These take the form of spending cuts and caps in spending to next year’s budget (which the White House would be discussing anyway, since the FY2011 budget ends in a few weeks, at the end of September.)
The high end of the scale would be about $3.7 trillion in deficit reduction.
It’s a complicated process as to how to slide up to that, but it might be easiest to think of it as roughly a 1:1 ratio in entitlement reforms (cuts) to tax reform (revenues), details to be determined later.
The two sides have also talked about possible “triggers” for if the deficit reduction targets aren’t met: Obama is pushing for tax increases, while Boehner wants Obamacare’s individual mandate on the table.
If those are indeed the terms of the discussions, I’d expect the final deal to be closer to the low end of spending cuts. Although entitlement reforms would be much more significant, Democrats are far less likely to agree to them. Meanwhile, asking Republicans to agree to billions or even trillions in tax increases is a bit much.
Of course, both sides are strenuously denying that any deal is in place or even likely. Republican House leadership just held a press conference to reinforce that point and accentuate their support for Cut, Cap, and Balance.
Last paragraph added.
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