Reports: Agreement in Washington
Steve Hayes from the Weekly Standard is concerned that the debt deal apparently agreed to this morning will be weighted toward defense cuts. That, he says, could lead to GOP resistance.
Administration officials and congressional sources confirm that a deal on raising the nation's debt limit is nearly inked, and that both parties will come together in the coming days to approve a $3 trillion debt-reduction package over the next decade.
Under the agreement, lawmakers will approve a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt ceiling along with $1 trillion in immediate cuts for the next 10 years. At the end of this year, a joint committee of Congress will find another $1 trillion to $2 trillion in cuts. Democrats will get the debt-limit increase through 2013, which they had pushed during the entire debate. Republicans will get a guaranteed vote on a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, which had been a key conservative demand, especially among Tea Party Republicans.
But to make sure that the second round of cuts are actually made later this year, leaders of both parties have floated a trigger mechanism that, if no second round was agreed to by a joint congressional committee, a series of automatic cuts would kick in that would hurt both parties equally.
For Democrats, that would mean across-the-board cuts to every agency in the range of 5 percent. For Republicans, it would be to make major cuts to the U.S. defense budget. The idea is to give both parties an incentive to return to the table to negotiate later this year out of fear keeping their sacred cows from slaughter.