The House Republicans have a position on the debt reform that is substantively sound and politically attuned to their base: cuts greater than the amount which the debt ceiling will be raised. There is no indication that Democrats or the president will accept that.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) has a plan, which isn’t ideal unless you think a bipartisan deal is possible or you think Republicans won’t be blamed for a default.
The president took a walk, abruptly leaving the White House meeting. Democrats say he was “badgered” by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Heavens, can’t have that. He also has no viable plan that can pass the House (or even the Senate).
So where are we? Yesterday Cantor reiterated, “Though none of the plans being discussed right now could garner the 218 votes needed for House passage, we have found areas of agreement.” So if not the McConnell plan, then what?
Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told me last night, “We’ll evaluate where we are at the end of the week. Eric would agree to a deal tomorrow if it met the threshold of cuts commensurate with the increase and no net tax increases. Obama isn’t willing to do that. Right now in that room the White House is pushing a $1.3, $1.4 trillion cut in exchange for a $2.4 trillion increase.” But we (and maybe the Republicans) don’t really know what those cuts would look like.
Unless lightning strikes, nothing is going to change between now and Friday. And then the Republicans will have to decide, I suppose, among default, the McConnell plan or some other as yet unknown backup plan. I can’t figure out what the “other” backup plan might be. I suspect no one has one, at least not yet.
In the end (or Aug. 2) McConnell’s plan (like democracy itself) may be the worst option except for all the others.