Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Obama, Congressional Leaders Reach Debt Deal

The Senate likely will vote on the deal Monday, as soon as legislative language is pinned down and Conference support is secured, leaving little room for error on the House side to get a bill signed into law before the Treasury Department's Tuesday default deadline.

Both Senate Democrats and Republicans will hold party caucus meetings Monday morning so leaders can present the final deal to their rank and file. The package won't completely satisfy either party, but a passage vote in that chamber will be much easier than the lift that House leaders face if the bill advances.

The House Republican and Democratic conferences are expected to meet to discuss the deal Monday afternoon. It’s unclear just how many votes Boehner can deliver, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated earlier Sunday evening that many House Democrats may be unwilling to support the deal.

Boehner said he expects to move quickly on the measure if it advances through the Senate.

"My hope would be to file it and have it on the floor as soon as possible. I realize that's not ideal, and I apologize for it. But after I go through it, you'll realize it's pretty much the framework we've been operating in," he said during the conference call Sunday.

Liberals were already wary of the emerging details Sunday, and many will oppose it outright. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the deal was a disaster for entitlements.

“Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block,” the Arizona Democrat said in a statement. “Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage.”

Pelosi was reserved in her reaction late Sunday. "We all agree that our nation cannot default on our obligations and that we must honor our nation's commitments to our seniors, and our men and women in the military," she said in a statement. "I look forward to reviewing the legislation with my Caucus to see what level of support we can provide."

The bill cuts would reduce the deficit in two stages, making more than $900 billion in spending cuts in the first stage. In the second stage, a bipartisan joint Congressional committee would identify $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction measures — possibly including revenue raisers and entitlement reform — and make its recommendations by Nov. 23, with Congress acting by Dec. 23. If the committee fails to make its recommendations or Congress fails to enact them, across-the-board spending cuts would be triggered, half of which would come from Defense Department spending. Social Security and Medicaid benefits and veterans' benefits and pensions would be exempt from these cuts.

The debt ceiling would be raised by at least $2.1 trillion in two steps, with an initial down payment of more than $900 billion followed by an additional $1.2 trillion, which could be triggered by a request from Obama and does not require Congressional approval. The package also requires that both chambers vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which would trigger the $1.2 trillion debt ceiling increase if passed.

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