ABC: GOP, Dems reach tentative budget deal involving "at least $33 billion" in cuts; Update: No deal?

So there’s the secret top-line figure we knew of but didn’t have a number for. $33 billion — and maybe a bit more — pegging this just north of half of the GOP’s target for the year.

Good enough, tea partiers?

Sources tell me that budget negotiators on Capitol Hill have tentatively agreed on a deal that would involve at least $33 billion in spending cuts from this year’s budget. That’s $23 billion dollars more than Democrats have previously agreed to in short-term continuing resolutions, and $28 billion less than Republicans previously passed in the House…

The deal could still fall apart over the composition of the cuts, or policy “riders” previously passed by the House. These include issues like de-funding Planned Parenthood and President Obama’s health care legislation. It’s also not clear that this compromise will fly with rank-and-file House Republicans, which means that the $33 billion goal could still climb by a few billion. But this is most significant progress since the beginning of negotiations.

Riddle me this. Given how intent the base is to not see the leadership cave and accept smaller cuts, even if it means a shutdown, why would Boehner signal that he’s willing to accept smaller cuts before a firm deal has been struck? It’s one thing to irritate grassroots righties if you’re winning centrists in the process by nailing down a compromise, but if negotiations end up collapsing over O-Care or PP funding, then he’s got angry conservatives on the one hand and disillusioned moderates on the other. Lose/lose.

Before you throw up your hands and decide that it’s third-party time, though, here’s a bit of breaking news from The Hill: “Senate Republicans will finally unveil their balanced budget amendment tomorrow, this time with leadership (I.e., McConnell) on board.” That’s the way they’re going to sell this to Republican voters, I guess — by accepting a deal on this year’s budget and then going nuclear on the next, replete with entitlement reform and a BBA. Works for me, but for non-RINOs? We’ll see.

Update: Dan Foster at NRO says to beware of Democrats bearing compromises:

“They are setting us up by saying there is a deal,” the [Republican] source says, “so when there isn’t one by 4/8, they can claim they had a deal but we backed out.”

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