Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and human-turtle hybrid Mitch McConnell seem to have finally–almost–come up with something that will end the shutdown AND raise the debt limit…for now.
While it is not confirmed yet, it seems the deal would reopen the government until January 15–the same day that sequestration will bring about an additional $21 Billion in budget cuts, and extend the debt limit until February 7. The plan would also require further negotiations to conclude by December 13. The proposal also would give federal agencies more leeway in how future cuts are implemented. The deal could be a win for labor unions, delaying the “reinsurance tax,” a $63 fee per person covered by a plan per year, for one year.
Reid said on the matter,
“We’ve made tremendous progress. We are not there yet but tremendous progress, and everyone just needs to be patient. Perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day.
McConnell echoed Reid’s sentiments:
“We’re doing our best to make everybody happy but everyone knows we’re not going to be able do that. So everybody understand we’re doing the very best we can with all the frailties that we have as people and legislators.”
However, even if a deal is cemented, it would still need to go through the House–and that means Boehner and Lord Cantor. Since it does not gut the Affordable Care Act, it is unlikely that a vote will even be allowed, let alone succeed. Boehner was noncommittal on the issue. Speaking through an aid, Boehner intimated,
“If the Senate comes to an agreement, we will review it with our members.”
Boehner’s reticence to employ some modicum of sanity and rational thought is unsurprising, but we must ask: is this the time for such childishness? If an agreement does not come together before Thursday, the United States will be unable to borrow money and forced to subside on the roughly $30 billion cash on hand in the treasury, which could be devastating to its credit rating. Let’s not forget what happened the last time the GOP pushed us into a last minute debt ceiling deal…
One thing is for certain: While backs are being pushed against the wall, it is important to realize the GOP’s clever trap–to tie the funding debate to the midterm elections, and win leverage against Democrats’ sure opposition to continuing sequestration.