When the 1 a.m. Sunday vote over the debt deal was delayed last night till 1 p.m. Sunday, the mood in Washington seemed to change. The delay indicated to many that Republican Senator Mitch McConnell was negotiating with the White House. Suddenly, things were looking up. As of Sunday morning, ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported that there is a tentative debt deal in the works, and congressional leaders are sharing the plan (based largely off McConnell's proposal) with their respective members. According to ABC's Jon Karl, here are the key elements (as of now, changing by the minute it seems):
- A debt ceiling increase of up to $2.1 to $2.4 trillion (depending on the size of the spending cuts agreed to in the final deal).
- They have now agreed to spending cuts of roughly $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
- The formation of a special Congressional committee to recommend further deficit reduction of up to $1.6 trillion (whatever it takes to add up to the total of the debt ceiling increase). This deficit reduction could take the form of spending cuts, tax increases or both.
In light of this almost agreement, here are a couple of things to feel good about:
We won't default! At this point, the details are by no means fully hammered out. Senator Charles Schumer told Politico that "there's no final agreement" yet, and that both sides are still wrangling over the trigger mechanism that would precipitate automatic cuts. But he added: "If there's a word that would right here that would sum up the mood, it would be relief...default is far less of a possibility now than it was a day ago."