The PJ Tatler

GOP Leaders Claim They're Close to a Debt Deal with Obama

Yes, but will it pass muster in the House?

Top GOP congressional leaders indicated Saturday afternoon they are close to reaching a deal with President Barack Obama to raise the nation’s debt limit and avoid what would be an unprecedented national default.

Addressing reporters on Capitol Hill around 4 p.m. ET, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he had talked to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “within the last hour” and was “confident and optimistic” that there will be an “agreement within the very near future.

A national default “is not going to happen,” McConnell promised.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also expressed optimism that an agreement is near.

“In spite of our differences, we’re dealing with reasonable, responsible people,” Boehner said.

There do not appear to be enough Republicans in the House who would be willing to blow up the economy if they don’t get a balanced budget amendment in a debt deal. But there are certainly enough GOP hardliners who would not accept a deal that contained tax increases. If taxes are off the table in these negotiations, there is a reasonable chance of passage in the House and probably in the senate too.

A spending cut only debt limit bill would be a big victory for Republicans that Obama would try to spin into a personal achievement due to his “bi-partisan” approach. Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill, frozen out of the negotiations, will be left to fume in silence as their irrelevancy in the debt negotiations is revealed.