Republicans may be willing to go along with a “mini” debt ceiling deal to stave off the immediate threat of default on the nation’s obligations. The potential deal, which came to fame after former President Bill Clinton promoted it over the weekend in an interview with the Atlantic at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival, would trade the cuts in spending both sides have already agreed to for a short-term increase on the debt ceiling, buying six to eight or more months for negotiations. “Big problems aren’t going to go away if you cut a mini deal,” said Republican Sen. John Cornyn on Fox News Sunday. “So I’d say better now than then, but if we can’t, then we’ll take the savings we can get now and we will re-litigate this as we get closer to the election.”
In the absence of a large scale agreement, a short-term deal could prevent the dire consequences economists and politicians have predicted if the debt hits its ceiling on August 2. It would also provide more time for Congress and the White House to (hopefully) try for a well-thought-out, long-term deficit reduction plan.
The problem? The negotiations would just have to start up all over again, presumably with the same kind of partisan fighting, finger pointing, and brinkmanship that marked this round of debate, only with the heightened campaigning that will come as the 2012 election cycle heats up.
Update, 5:00pm: President Obama said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that he was not interested in “kicking the can down the road” with a short-term deal that would get “just enough” done to avoid catastrophe without solving the problem.
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