What’s Behind Door Number Three?

by Daniel Foster

With McConnell-Reid and the Gang of Six plans both considered DOA, there was some excitement early this afternoon when the New York Times reported that President Obama and Speaker Boehner were close to a big deal of the “Grand Bargain” order. The problem is that both the White House press shop and Speaker Boehner denied any such deal was at hand.

Now this from the National Journal, suggesting that not only is a new deal imminent, but it looks pretty good for Republicans:

The aides, who declined to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, said the proposal’s outline is broadly similar to a plan discussed previously by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and a Gang of Six proposal to cut about $3.7 trillion in a decade, with the major exception that it would not raise significant tax revenue. The gang proposal by contrast would seek $1 trillion of its deficit cuts from new tax revenue.

That result would be a major, and unexpected concession, to congressional Republicans. And as described, the plan would enrage many Democrats in Congress, endangering its prospects in the Senate in particular. The mere fact the deal is under discussion already has Democrats up in arms.

Congressional aides said an agreement on the proposal is not imminent, characterizing discussions on the proposal as at an early stage.  

A House leadership aide, meanwhile, told National Journal that Boehner is letting House Republicans know that he will unveil a debt-ceiling plan to them during their closed-door conference on Friday. Details of what he will lay out are not immediately known.

If something sounds too good to be true. . . . Still, if there is indeed a $3.7 trillion deal to be struck that involves only, say, the elimination of ethanol subsidies and other tax expenditures of a similar size and scope, what a dramatic reversal that would be.