This could very well be another red herring like the NYT article from two weeks ago that proved to be a dud, but for what it's worth according to ABC's Jonathan Karl, the White House and the GOP have just reached a tentative deal as follows...
- Debt ceiling increase of up to $2.8 trillion
- Spending cuts of roughly $1 trillion
- Special committee to recommend cuts of $1.8 trillion (or whatever it takes to add up to the total of the debt ceiling increase)
- Committee must make recommendations before Thanksgiving recess
- If Congress does not approve those cuts by late December, automatic across-the-board cuts go into effect, including cuts to Defense and Medicare.
In other words, virtually the same as the Boehner deal in the actual cuts, which will likely be back-end loaded (we expect about $10-20 billion in 2012 cuts), but the Democrats get what they want in that it will not require a second debt ceiling hike before Obama's re-elecetion as $2.8 trillion should last well into 2013. As for "future cuts", well, that's easily what Congress is so very good at. Indefinite future cuts that is.
Some more recent details from the National Journal:
Here are the outlines of a debt-ceiling deal that congressional leaders and the Obama White House are firming up in preparation for a possible announcement as early as Sunday afternoon.
In many respects, the deal will, if approved by all parties, resemble the contours of a short-lived pact negotiated last weekend by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Obama rejected that deal, forcing Congress to wrestle with other inferior legislative options throughout the week.
Among the newest wrinkles, according to informed sources, is an agreement to extend the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling very briefly to give the legislative process time to work without resorting to emergency, hurry-up measures.
President Obama has said he would only sign a short-term extension (days, not weeks) if it were linked to an extension of borrowing authority that lasts beyond the 2012 election.
According to sources, the Senate would use the military construction appropriations bill, one currently available for action, as the vehicle for the short-term extension. This element of the arrangement, like everything else, is subject to modification. But those close to the negotiations expect Congress to slow things down without jeopardizing the nation's full faith and credit. A debt extension of days would achieve that goal.