Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell emerged from their smoke-filled back room today with news of a debt ceiling deal. Though it looks like Obama and the Democrats got virtually none of what they asked for — Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) calls it a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich” — it appears that the life of the hostage has been spared. And in a statement released late tonight, the White House calls it a “victory”:
BIPARTISAN DEBT DEAL: A WIN FOR THE ECONOMY AND BUDGET DISCIPLINE
The debt deal announced today is a victory for bipartisan compromise, for the economy and for the American people. The agreement:
· Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain;
· Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students;
· Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform;
· Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs;
· Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks.
Even Rand Paul says he will not seek to filibuster the plan, though he will vote against it. So it appears that the plan should fly by the Senate.
But will it get by the tea partiers and liberal Democrats in the House? That’s the big question remaining.
Two more days…