The final compromise to raise the debt ceiling could include automatic across-the-board spending cuts that take effect if a proposed bipartisan debt committee fails to take action to reduce the deficit, according to White House senior adviser David Plouffe and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D).
During NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Thune said his GOP colleagues in the Senate are looking for any budget compromise to include no new taxes and an initial spending reduction equal to the amount the debt limit is increased.
Plouffe said the White House is prepared to agree to $1 trillion in up front spending cuts but expects the debt committee to address entitlement and tax reform in the future. He said the White House is not willing to put Social Security or Medicaid on the table without some balance in the form of a discussion about new revenue.
Leaders from both parties have acknowledged the current sticking point for any deal is a trigger or enforcement mechanism that ensures Congress will revisit the deficit issue in the near future. Both Thune and Plouffe said one of the measures being discussed in earnest is an automatic, across-the-board spending cut that would affect programs prized by both parties if they fail to compromise further.
Plouffe said any such trigger would have to have enough impact to compel both parties to act while not being overly detrimental to the nation should it take effect. He dismissed calls for President Obama to exercise his 14th Amendment authority and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. "There is no off-ramp here," Plouffe said.
"The only way out of this is for Congress to act, for the Republicans in Congress to be willing to compromise a little bit."
Thune said he is not a big fan of the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral debt committee but said the creation of such a body is probably the best possible outcome to the current standoff.