The National Journal's Ron Brownstein has the latest on the debt ceiling negotiations.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, said today he was “relatively optimistic” Congress and President Obama would reach agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling before the August deadline for default. But, he added, any deal will likely turn more on establishing a process to reduce the federal deficit than on identifying the specific steps to doing so.
“We are not going to get a grand-slam agreement; we are not going to get a big comprehensive agreement,” Ryan told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by Bloomberg News.
“I’m relatively optimistic this can get done in that time frame,” Ryan added, referring to the new August 2 deadline Treasury has set for default.
Ryan sketched out a process for raising the debt ceiling similar to the scenarios senior administration officials have privately described. He said that as part of any increase in the borrowing limit Congress and Obama would need to agree on some reductions in both discretionary and mandatory spending. But he said any such agreement would probably provide only a down payment on deficit reduction and was unlikely to include Medicare and Medicaid, the two giant federal health care programs at the center of the deficit dilemma. Continuing the baseball metaphor, he said that in the scale of the possible agreement, “I hope we get a single or a double.”
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