The Speaker of the House called in to Rush Limbaugh's powerhouse radio program this afternoon to respond to rumors and reports swirling in Washington suggesting that a Boehner/Obama debt agreement is forthcoming:
"Rush, there is no deal. No deal publicly, no deal privately. There is absolutely no deal."
There is no deal. Fine, but if you listen to the full clip, Boehner doesn't deny that there may be a deal in the works. The extent to which the details of that "fallback plan" -- to use Boehner's words -- have been finalized is unclear. As I noted earlier, National Journal describes the non-deal this way:
The White House and House Republican leaders are discussing a large deal to raise the debt ceiling that would include about $3 trillion in deficit cuts over 10 years, according to several congressional aides.
The aides, who declined to be named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly, said the proposal’s outline is broadly similar to a plan discussed previously by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and a "Gang of Six" proposal to cut about $3.7 trillion in a decade, with the major exception that it would not raise significant tax revenue.
As described, the plan would be a major, and unexpected, concession to congressional Republicans. The lack of immediate tax revenue would be a nonstarter for many Democrats in Congress, endangering its prospects in the Senate in particular. The mere fact the deal is under discussion already has Democrats up in arms. Democratic lawmakers ripped the proposal after Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew briefed them at a Caucus meeting on Thursday.
Is that the "fallback plan," or is this?
With the August 2 deadline for a deal on raising the debt ceiling almost out of reach, House Republican leaders are mulling a short-term debt-limit extension, leadership aides said. As President Obama and congressional leaders scrambled to resolve the impending debt crisis, House aides suggested such a plan could buy a month or so for a larger deal to be worked out.
All of the above, perhaps?
UPDATE - Harry Reid has announced that he doesn't want to "waste" any more time debating 'Cut, Cap, and Balance,' so he'll allow a cloture vote on the legislation tomorrow.