Saturday, July 30, 2011

Debt Ceiling - Saturday Update

It's a gorgeous day here in Winnetka, Illinois. I am sitting in front of my iMac, with the screen opened to CNN Live, where Minority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner are to hold a presser, in theory "any minute now". The Boehner bill has been passed in the House, then tabled in the Senate. The Reid bill will be voted on for cloture late tonight in the Senate and was just voted down in the House. It might be time at last for the real talks to begin, but I can't be sure.

The short presser was just held. They have been in touch with the President. They are confident a deal will get done in time. When asked why the holdup, the Speaker said he and Senator Reid had an agreement last Sunday and the President nixed it, so the week's delay is the President's fault. Implication is that Reid agreed to Boehner's bill and the President said no. I had heard that Reid had agreed to the two stage concept, but not the full deal, but we shall see.

In any case, think there will be a deal outline some time tomorrow, perhaps sooner. We're going to get there. Will Boehner have trouble in the House? He'll need lots of Democrats and I think he'll get them. It remains to be seen how mad his caucus will be, when he brings in a bill without the Balanced Budget Amenment and without the Stage Two trigger. The Tea Party Freshmen will be furious: Boehner convinced them to vote for his bill by adding the BBA and telling them this bill would improve his leverage with Reid. They will look at what he is likely to bring them, and the Young Turks will feel betrayed.

As an admittedly biased observer, I think the Freshmen will have a point. Boehner should have told them a good time ago that a compromise was coming, that no one in the caucus was going to like it very much, but that he/they had responsibilities for governing that occasionally would supersede their ideological preferences.

Looks to me like the President is stepping in at just the right time: the Republicans needed to pass their bill and let the Democrats hammer it, and vice versa. Once each side had taken their best shot and lost, it was the right time for an adult conversation.

A further update tomorrow.

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