In return for a $1 trillion debt-ceiling increase, and after a promise of $1.2 trillion in cuts, we get … $850 billion in actual savings over 10 years and just $1 billion(!) this year, which plays directly into conservative fears of backloaded deficit reduction that future Congresses will end up canceling. In fairness, as Politico notes, the savings would be $122 billion higher if not for the fact that CBO readjusted its baseline after Obama’s and Boehner’s deal on the 2011 budget, but of course the savings in that deal also fell famously short of conservative expectations. How do you sell 218 Republicans on this deal when they’re still haunted by that one?
Cantor insists that they can still get the votes, partly because more Republicans have become convinced that hitting the ceiling really would jolt the already fragile recovery. Whether that’s still true after this, I don’t know. Frankly, this is probably the best pitch the leadership could offer at this point.
Update: Boehner’s office says they’ll rewrite the bill to make sure that the amount of savings matches the amount of the debt-ceiling increase.