The Senate adjourned late Friday night without an agreed-upon framework for raising the debt limit. Shortly before this, a source passed to TPM a blueprint of what Democrats hope will be the way out of this imbroglio. It’s a copy of what could be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s final offer to Republicans in the debt limit standoff.
The gist: Reid hopes to entice Republicans to support his plan in two ways. First, with slightly deeper cuts. Second, by adopting an idea, first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that would delegate the authority to raise the debt limit to President Obama — and give Congress the prerogative to attempt to block Obama from taking that action.
It does not include any penalties or triggers to force Congress to enact entitlement and tax reforms in the coming months.
The new cuts aren’t very extensive. They bring the package’s total deficit reduction up to $2.4 trillion — but only when judged against a slightly outdated January baseline. Judged against the current baseline, the revised plan would still reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion.
It’s unclear if Reid is willing to go any further. Asked if this is Reid’s final offer, a spokesman says “This is the last train leaving the station and we hope Republicans will get on board.”
Late update: At a late Friday press conference, Reid suggested that the door is still open to further tweak his proposal, including by adding failsafes to assure future entitlement and tax reforms — but it’s up to Republicans to offer up their votes.
“We have a closet full of triggers, people have suggested dozens of them but even though earlier this week, I was sitting talking to Jack Lew about triggers for an hour and a half and we can’t get Republicans to move on any trigger. We’re not going to have cuts on more programs without some revenue - that is a line we’ve drawn in the sand,” Reid said. “It’s up to the Republicans, right now we have a proposal…we are waiting for them to do something, anything, move toward us.”
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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.