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To review, here are the elements of compromise that the White House and Senate Democrats are currently working out with Republicans:
  • We get not one, but two more debt ceiling votes in the immediate future, like Republicans wanted.
  • The McConnell notion of a future debt vote in which the president can get a small partial raising of the debt limit if he agrees it's all on his own head, upon which Congress gets to have a meaningless "no" vote to wash its hands of it.
  • But that's not good enough, so we also include the formation of Super Congress! It's a Republican-desired committee tasked with making up to $1.5 trillion in budget cuts, so that Congress doesn't have to do the dirty work itself. Then Congress gets to vote on whether to adopt those cuts...
  • ... and we get the Republican demand of a "trigger," because if those committee-proposed cuts get voted down by Congress, presuming the committee can even produce recommendations in the first place (the last one couldn't), we get cuts anyway, in the form of mandatory across-the-board cuts of as much as $1.5 trillion.
  • As the GOP insisted, there are no new revenues. No tax increases. This had long been cited as Obama's own immovable requirement: budget cuts would have to be matched with new revenues. Not happening: it seems the committee will be able to reformulate the tax code, so long as they do it in such a way as to create no actual new revenue. Yes, I believe you read that right.
  • Yet to be negotiated: Boehner and other Republicans are currently still balking at the inclusion of steep defense cuts either now or in the "trigger" mechanism. Because it's not enough that we be saddled with an automatic trigger that cuts all the government programs Republicans hate, if by some silly chance the GOP decides to not allow the committee to succeed. They also want their own pet program, the only one that they care about, exempted from that pain, thus nullifying the only downside of the trigger for them. Unresolved: how the hell any sentient Democrat can reconcile this plan in their own brain, considering that it undoes even the slightest impetus for Republicans in the Super Congress or the Congress to negotiate in good faith. Or neutral faith. Or any faith at all.

So let's see. Two more rounds of this, triggers, committees, no revenues, steep cuts, carve-outs for defense ... am I missing anything? The only major GOP demand of the last few months that seems left out is the ridiculous "amend the Constitution" pipe dream: we seem to have some form of literally every other far-right request shoved in this "compromise" now.

We even have managed to include overlapping concessions, piling McConnell's "it's Obama's fault" vote along with a separate trigger-triggering vote, even though they were originally separate proposals on the same vote mechanism.

In exchange for caving in to all those points—many of which were stated to be showstoppers, by the White House, a mere few weeks ago—here's what Republicans have conceded to:


Congratulations! You're now caught up. Unless, that is, the Republicans decide that in order to let this previously rote bit of legislation through they need to demand yet more—say, the nullification of Roe v. Wade, or a free gold-nugget-pooping pony for every Republican member of the House, or the impeachment of Obama just because they feel like it—it appears this is the deal we're going with.

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