I'm hearing from Republican contacts that the current state of play is that the GOP has essentially punted after a falling out between Boehner and Cantor about whether or not the GOP could marshal the votes in time for a passage of a Grand Bargain-type legislative package.
Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell then stepped in and fashioned a compromise, which compromise involves Obama submitting a bill full of cuts at some point in the future which will almost definitely not be passed by Congress. In exchange for this "concession" Obama gets control over the debt ceiling until the end of FY2012, a provision that will presumably be extended in an election year without much fuss.
Is that right? I don't get the sense at all from liberal blogs and commentators that the Democrats have won, but I get that sense from the Republicans I'm talking to. What gives?
So, here's the bare bones of the Reid/McConnell plan, via The Hill:
The proposal McConnell introduced would authorize President Obama to raise the debt limit by $2.5 trillion in three requests.
Under the plan, Obama would have to make three requests to Congress which lawmakers could block only through a resolution of disapproval. It gives Obama nearly unilateral authority to raise the debt limit because it would require only 34 votes in the Senate or 146 votes in the House to sustain a veto of a disapproval resolution.
Reid is talking with McConnell about adding $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion in spending cuts to the authorizing legislation.
Now what I heard, which I'm still trying to find evidence for, is that the cuts aren't even part of the actual legislation, that they are a sort of floater that requires an up or down vote on a slate of Obama cuts. That's not what this piece says so that bit may be wrong. I'll continue to update as I have more information.