As time has almost run out for all practical purposes for the Do-nothing Congress to act to avoid an economic disaster and a credit downgrading, Congressional Leaders can’t even agree on whether progress is being made or not. With this degree of divisiveness, how can even find a deal they can agree on?
McConnell says deal is close; Reid says it is not; White House in between
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) held a news conference Saturday saying that a deal to avoid default was near. McConnell said he was now dealing with the “one person out of 307 million Americans who could actually sign a bill into law.” Boehner said that they were dealing with “responsible persons who want to avoid a crisis.”
Soon afterwards, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said on the Senate floor that the two sides were a long way off from any deal. The White House asked Reid to postpone the scheduled 1:00 AM vote on his debt ceiling bill in order to give the parties more time to negotiate. Reid accommodated the White House and scheduled the vote for 1:00 PM Sunday. Many say that is too late to pass a bill in both houses and still meet the deadline.
While a White House official told Reuters that no deal had yet been reached, elements of a possible compromise began to emerge near midnight.
NBC News reports a deal is very near
NBC News reporter Chuck Todd reported Sunday morning that a deal is very close. He said the compromise would push both tax increases and entitlement increases off until after the 2012 election. “The way this deal is shaped, Congress can avoid BOTH the tax and entitlement fights until 2013,” NBC News’ Chuck Todd said in a tweet.
Presumably, it would also push the need for another debt ceiling vote until then as well, since that is a major concern of the President who does not want to put the American people and the world economy through another round of this insanity in 6 moths, which the Boehner and McConnell plans would have done.
Late on Saturday, Reuters laid out these elements of a possible deal:
• $2.8 trillion deal. It would raise the debt ceiling by that amount through 2012 and make equal spending cuts.
• $1 trillion in cuts would be agreed now.
• Special committee appointed by Congress would recommend a second installment of savings of about $1.8 trillion.
According to Reuters, if Congress cannot agree on how to implement the cuts recommended by the committee, automatic cuts would be triggered, including reductions in military spending and cost savings to the Medicare health care program for the elderly. Benefit cuts would not be triggered, however. No cuts in Social Security.
Alleged deal is only show in town
As improbable as it is that Congress can agree on anything except their own pay increases, this reported deal is the only show left in town. The Senate killed the Boehner bill; the House killed the Reid Bill before it was even voted on in the Senate; 43 Republican Senators said they would vote against ending the filibuster to allow the Reid Bill to even be voted on in the Senate. Check Mate.
Meanwhile, American have already lost billions in their stock portfolios and their 401K accounts while partisan games are being played in Congress.
So, all America can do is hope Chuck Todd and Reuters are correct. Stay tuned.
you like this article, follow me on Facebook, or click the white button with orange letters “Subscribe” next to my picture (above) for a free, anonymous subscription to this news column!
Feel free to leave a comment below. Dissenting views are fine, but trolling and profanity will not be tolerated