Let's take a deep breath and re-establish the timeline. Over the weekend, Speaker Boehner, Sen. Reid, and Sen. McConnell reportedly agreed in principle to the primary contours of a bipartisan debt deal. Their staffs were collaborating to generate the plan's legislative language when the president rejected it "out of hand," aborting the process. In light of Obama's stubborn opposition, Reid is now formulating his own plan, which largely accedes to GOP demands -- although there's a good chance quite a few of his proposed cuts will turn out to be budget gimmickry. Boehner has also gone back to the drawing board, and will release his revised plan at a press conference at 4pm ET. He called Rush Limbaugh with some specfics of the two-step proposal, and Fox News fleshed it out even further:
--Cuts That Exceed The Debt Hike. The framework would cut and cap discretionary spending immediately, saving $1.2 trillion over 10 years (subject to CBO confirmation), and raise the debt ceiling by less - up to $1 trillion.
--Caps To Control Future Spending. The framework imposes spending caps that would establish clear limits on future spending and serve as a barrier against government expansion while the economy grows. Failure to remain below these caps will trigger automatic across-the-board cuts (otherwise known as sequestration).
--Balanced Budget Amendment. The framework advances the cause of the Balanced Budget Amendment by requiring the House and Senate to vote on the measure after October 1, 2011 but before the end of the year, allowing the American people time to build sufficient support for this popular reform.
--Entitlement Reforms & Savings. The framework creates a Joint Committee of Congress that is required to report legislation that would produce a proposal to reduce the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion over 10 years. Each Chamber would consider the proposal of the Joint Committee on an up-or-down basis without any amendments. If the proposal is enacted, then the President would be authorized to request a debt limit increase of $1.6 trillion.
--No Tax Hikes. The framework included no tax hikes, a key principle that Republicans have been fighting for since day one.