The House and Senate are expected to vote today on a package to raise the nation's debt ceiling. President Obama announced from the White House last night, that congressional leaders reached a last-minute agreement to avoid default, admitting the deal has some flaws. The President said, "Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could have made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform."
The agreement proposes a two-stage process to raise the debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion. It includes an initial $1 trillion in spending cuts over ten years. Next, it forms a bipartisan committee to recommend additional cuts of at least $1.5 trillion. And if Congress fails to act on the committee's recommendations, the deal would force automatic spending cuts. The proposed deal also extends the debt limit through 2012, a priority for President Obama.
Moments before the President spoke, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the Senate floor, announcing they will meet with their respective caucuses this morning before the vote. The leaders both encouraged their colleagues to support the bill.
Now, House Speaker John Boehner must sell the deal to conservatives in his party. Last night, Boehner had a conference call with all 240 Republican members of his caucus, telling them the deal is not perfect but they have come a long way. He said, "There is nothing in this framework that violates our principles. It's all spending cuts. The White House bid to raise taxes has been shut down. And as I vowed back in May - when everyone thought I was crazy for saying it - every dollar of debt limit increase will be matched by more than a dollar of spending cuts."