So, what’s in this deal? The basics, from NRO:
Senate Leaders Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Mitch McConnell appear to be close to a deal that would reopen the government and raise the debt limit. Reports indicate that the (not yet finalized) agreement would extent the debt limit until early February, while funding the government through mid-January at sequestration levels. The deal would also establish a bicameral conference committee on the budget, which would have to report back to Congress by December 13.
The deal is said to include a requirement that Obamacare enrollees verfit their income in order prove their eligibility for health-care subsidies, something that was already mandated by the law as written, until the Obama administration decided to delay those requirements. The so-called reinsurance tax, a measure opposed by unions, may also be delayed as part of the agreement. Accounts vary as to whether a repeal or delay of the medical device tax is also still on the table. It’s something Republicans have pushed for, but Reid is said to be demanding something in return.
The outline of the emerging Senate deal is this: The government is funded until Jan. 15. The debt ceiling is lifted until Feb. 7. There are a handful of small Affordable Care Act changes: Stronger income verification, which Republicans want, and a one-year delay on the reinsurance tax, which Democrats want.
Oh, and there’s a bicameral budget committee that needs to report back by Dec. 13.
It is a sad state of negotiations when the “give” you get from Democrats is they agree to implement the verification parts of Obamacare that are already in the law. In the words of President Obama, Republicans shouldn’t have to negotiate over Obama doing his job and following the law.
Since the waters are muddy and the winners unclear (and I remain totally unconvinced there was ever a way out of government shutdown with a significant conservative policy win in hand), here are two takes from Charles Krauthammer and George Will, who prove there is diversity in our RINO ranks. Oh, I kid, but seriously. I’m on board with Krauthammer being very concerned about giving away the farm on sequestration, which was originally designed to be an equally painful cudgel for both Republicans and Democrats to force them into a grand bargain, but has ended up being an effective cut in government spending. A relatively small one, but one that actually happened, that Americans did not revolt against, and that Democrats absolutely hate:
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, when it came out last week, it was a bombshell, and they are headed for the exits now. The concessions that are supposed to be — and incidentally, Mitch McConnell who is negotiating this—I’m not blaming him at all, because he has been handed a hand with no cards and whatever he is able to pull off will be a way to escape from what was a disaster. But, they don’t get anything that is real. They will get a few, the Republicans I’m talking about, a few curlicues on the Obamacare that has no effect on the bill, itself, on the law itself, but they are giving away by having the Continuing Resolution of the funding of the government only until January 15th— they are giving the major achievement of this congress away, where in the Budget Control Act of 2011, they instituted severe and strict cuts which are called the sequester, which a Congressional Research Service says is the most successful and largest cutting since the early 1950s and they are giving it away, because if you were to do a resolution for the whole year, you fund for the whole year, you would have the cuts of next year kicking in automatically. And what the republicans ought to do right now is to extend the debt ceiling for six weeks clean, and exactly as Obama wants, and this is what the House should do, and give a clean C.R. for a year, and exactly as —
BAIER: right at thanksgiving?
KRAUTHAMMER: allow — you mean on the debt ceiling. You give yourself six weeks in which you can negotiate like a Ryan plan with the White House. that’s the only leverage that you are going to have for anything. On the C.rR, if you give them a year on the Continuing Resolution, which is again what Obama had wanted in the first place, what you will get are the automatic cuts next year, which is the most effective way to cut the budget.
Will thinks Republicans have notched a win by merely forcing Obama into some kind of negotiations, which he declared he would not brook. A Pyrhhic victory, but again, I’m convinced that’s what we were destined for regardless:
WILL: I disagree with Charles. I think that the Republicans are coming out of this very well. The President who said I never drew a red line regarding chemical weapons and did it, and then said he would not go to the sequester, and demonstrated the reporting that said it would and wanting Continuing Resolutions, and president who said he is not going to negotiate is going to negotiate.
I’m waiting on video of the exchange and I’ll update when I’ve got it.
Guy Benson acknowledges this for the bad deal it is, but suggests we move on from this all-consuming Charlie Foxtrot and get to clobbering vulnerable Democrats with Obamcare, as Tom Cotton is Sen. Mark Pryor:
Republicans should seriously consider improving the offer to whatever extent is possible, then accepting it. End the shutdown, stave off technical default, and pivot the entire GOP messaging strategy to addressing the slow-motion trainwreck that is the Obamacare launch. To attain goals beyond mere policy scraps at the federal level, Republicans need to win elections. It’s political malpractice to allow these budget crises to continue to detract from the “excruciatingly embarrassing” “disaster” Democrats have created for themselves with Obamacare. Take an imperfect deal, then bombard vulnerable Democrats like this: