Is Harry Reid’s plan the way out of the debt ceiling impasse? Or is he preparing to give away the store?
Politico goes with the first take:
Democratic leaders said on Monday that they are looking toward Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s upcoming new proposal to raise the debt ceiling as offering “hope” for a deal — and warned time is fast running out.
“I think we’ve got 48 hours within which to do something very, very meaningful,” Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The plan that leads to progress, he said, could be Reid’s Sunday proposal, which would cut at least $2.7 trillion in spending and be matched by an equal increase to the debt ceiling.
Citing Reid’s plan, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democrat, said, “I think there’s some hope today” for progress.
“Sen. Reid is going to put forth an offer that meets the Democrats’ main criteria, going past 2012, and the two Republican criteria — enough cuts to equal the amount you raise the debt ceiling and no revenues,” Schumer said on MSNBC. “And I think that has some hope.”
Reid’s as-yet-to-be-unveiled plan, Schumer said, has the potential to be sufficiently conciliatory to House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) caucus that an agreement can be reached. “Hopefully it’s the kind of thing that Speaker Boehner can rally his tea party troops toward,” he said.
It’s also the kind of proposal that can get enough Democratic support to pass both the House and the Senate, Schumer said.
Democrats are ”willing to move and compromise,” he said. “What’s killing this, among many other things, is this idea they’re both to blame – that’s not the case.”
As details of the Reid plan continue to emerge, Schumer said his party is not giving up on its goals for a deal. “Surrender would be putting in all the entitlement cuts without a nickel of revenues. We’ve held the line on that and that’s not the case.”
And Greg Sargent goes with take two (with lots of other great stuff in that post):
Last night, Harry Reid released a statement saying Dems would release yet another framework today that contains a long term debt limit increase, spending cuts but no entitlements benefits cuts, and no revenue increases. Lori Montgomery previews how this offer would work, and it too seems designed to call the GOP’s bluff:
People familiar with the months-long search for a debt-reduction compromise said that hitting such a large target without raising taxes or cutting entitlement programs would probably require Reid to rely heavily on savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — a figure budget analysts said could easily amount to more than $1 trillion over the next decade.
Counting money not spent on wars that the nation is already planning to end is widely viewed as a budget gimmick, and House GOP leaders have been reluctant to include it as savings. But it has a political advantage because it was included in the budget blueprint House Republicans adopted this spring.
That Dems are now calling this latest offer a compromise — deep cuts and no tax increases in exchange for a debt ceiling increase that Republicans themselves previously agreed was inevitable — is another sign of just how far to the right this debate has shifted. It would constitute a substantial win for Republicans — if only they would take it.
Meanwhile, Republicans are still going on television this morning talking in vain about “cut, cap and balance.” Please, somebody tell these folks that idea, and the lame, focused group title they love so much, is deader than dead.