The Democrats would have gotten a de-coupling of the Bush Era tax cuts, making more permanent the breaks for the middle class and the Republicans asked for a repeal of the individual mandate provision in Obama's health care law in the case that the two sides failed to hold up their end of the deficit reduction bargain in the future, aides said.
Now the Ohio Republican, still tethered by a conservative caucus with many Members unwilling to raise the debt limit under any circumstance, will begin work with McConnell and Reid to try to find an acceptable way to extend the nation's credit. McConnell and Reid met in the Minority Leader's office earlier Friday and have been working on a so-called Plan B for weeks in the event that a larger deal cannot be reached.
The Reid-McConnell framework would raise the debt ceiling in a series of three votes through the 2012 elections, ask the president to make suggestions for cuts and establish a joint commission to produce a report by the end of the calendar year on a larger plan to tackle the debt. House Republicans have expressed reservations that the plan cedes too much power to Obama by giving him the primary responsibility in raising the debt ceiling, and GOP leadership has been quietly meeting for much of the week to work out options of their own. Meanwhile, Senators on both sides of the aisle have indicated an openness to move forward with the plan.
The Senate has adjourned for the weekend, but leaders could begin the process of bringing a bill to the floor as soon as it reopens, though House Republican aides would not say that they have the votes to move the Reid-McConnell framework through their chamber. House Democratic aides, however, seemed to indicate their bosses were lining up behind the deal.
In his brief session with reporters Friday night, Obama was asked if he was confident the group would strike a deal.
"Yes," he said, because, "I cannot believe that Congress would end up being that irresponsible that they would not send a package that avoids a self-inflicted wound to the economy at a time when things are so difficult."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.