Two senior Republican offices have confirmed that while the outlines of a debt-ceiling deal are in place, no “paper” has been exchanged. The agreement would take the country through the 2012 election, but the Boehner bill two-step cutting process would remain. A trillion in cuts up front would be followed by $1.8 more to be determined by a bipartisan commission. The contents of the “trigger” — automatic cuts totaling $1.8 trillion that would go into effect if the commission cannot agree on cuts — are not yet determined.
The hope is that the outlines of a deal will be put out on Sunday; the House leadership could brief its conference, and then votes would follow in the House and Senate. The process likely would not be completed until Tuesday.
The president gets a deal through 2012; the House gets its cuts; and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gets his commission. And the GOP extremists don’t get their balanced budget amendment passed and sent to the states or the satisfaction of blowing up the deal. As for the country, if it passes, the agreement will take us from the days of automatic debt-ceiling raises to the first, tentative steps toward fiscal sanity.