A preliminary outline between the White House and Republicans suggested that the "trigger" for the panel would be across-the-board spending cuts to entitlements and the Defense Department's budget if the 12 lawmakers on the special committee fail to reach a deal.
Sources confirmed Sunday night that the last obstacle to settling the trigger issue is determining the level of the defense cuts. Republicans would like cuts limited to 2 percent of total DOD spending, while Democrats are pushing for 3 percent.
With Senators refusing to answer questions from a swarm of reporters following them across the Capitol, it is unclear how the enforcement mechanism was settled. But for Reid to hold votes soon indicates that a deal is close to cooked. He will need 60 votes to send the measure to the House, where Boehner will face an even more complicated vote calculus given the conservative members of his Conference.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.