By Molly K. Hooper and Russell Berman - 08/01/11 01:16 AM EDT
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) began selling his conference on the deal struck late Sunday during a call and slideshow presentation, assuring them "there's nothing in this framework that violates our principles."
In the presentation, which was provided by the Speaker's office, Boehner noted the framework has three main features: cutting government spending more than it increases the debt limit, implementing spending caps to restrain future spending and advancing the cause of a balanced-budget amendment.
President Obama announced Sunday evening a deal had been reached. Minutes before the president made a statement to the press, Boehner called his conference to present the plan.
“There is nothing in this framework that violates our principles," he said. "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. And in doing this, we’ve stopping a job-killing national default that none of us wanted.”
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not endorse the deal in a statement released after Obama's speech.
"We all agree that our nation cannot default on our obligations and that we must honor our nation's commitments to our seniors, and our men and women in the military," she said. "I look forward to reviewing the legislation with my caucus to see what level of support we can provide."
A senior Democrat aide said the deal finally came together Sunday when Boehner "blinked" and gave up his final demands to exempt the Pentagon from cuts next year. A GOP aide pointed out however that the final deal mandates that $5 billion of the total $10 billion in cuts in 2012 and 2013 must come from "security" spending, and this can include foreign aid, a fact that will give the House GOP wiggle room in finding savings.
Total discretionary spending in fiscal 2012 and 2013 will be capped at $1.043 trillion and $1.047 trillion, respectively, $7 billion and $3 billion below current levels. The House Appropriations Committee has been operating on the assumption that the number for 2012 is $1.019 trillion, a $31 billion cut from current levels. For all the worries on the left about deep cuts to government spending now, the actual bite up front is much less than the GOP has been pushing.
The Speaker's presentation touts the similarities between the final deal and his own House-passed debt limit proposal. In a statement sure to infuriate Democrats, the presentation says that the joint committee will operate on a budget baseline that "effectively make[s] it impossible ... to increase taxes."
Democrats have pressed for raising Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy.
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The White House, in its own fact sheet, vowed to use the threat of allowing the Bush-era tax rates on the wealthy to expire to pressure the joint committee to back revenue-raising tax reform.
The hurdle built into the deal meant to block the joint committee from raising revenue may be the hardest aspect for liberals to swallow.
The Congressional Budget Office's "current law baseline" assumes that the Bush-era tax rates expire and that the Alternative Minimum Tax is not patched, resulting in $3.5 trillion in extra revenue. A GOP aide explained that in using this baseline, the commission would have to raise taxes by more than $3.5 trillion in order for the extra amount to even count as "deficit reduction."
"Since that is essentially impossible, the Joint Committee will not produce a bill that increases taxes or likely even addresses taxes," the aide explained.
On the call, Boehner said he wanted to hold a vote as soon as possible and apologized for not giving lawmakers more time to review the agreement.
The Speaker told members that "it is his goal" to have the vote on
Monday and then break for the five-week August recess, but leaders are
waiting on the CBO score first. The text of the agreement will be
available Monday morning.
According to a source on the call, Boehner sounded "positive" and stressed "that it is similar" to the bill the House passed on a party-line vote Friday evening.
In fact, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the members that this "bill is tougher."
GOP participants on the call told The Hill that they are ready to vote on the yet-to-be-seen bill as soon as Monday.
Doing so would be a clear violation of the "three-day rule," adopted on the first day of the 112th Congress. House Republicans insisted on the rule in order to ensure that lawmakers have enough time to read the bills on which they vote.
One lawmaker wasn't concerned about the possibility of waiving the rule in order to beat the Aug. 2 deadline, especially because Boehner told participants on the call that the deal resembled Boehner's debt measure that passed the House on Friday.
"Everyone understands the situation," the lawmaker said when asked about waiving the three-day rule.
Boehner told his GOP colleagues that Pelosi was "on board" with the deal, according to sources on the call.
Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Monday to discuss the deal. House Democrats are also scheduled to meet Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) endorsed the deal on the Senate floor Sunday evening, but both parties are expected to face opposition from within their ranks: the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are holding press conferences Monday to blast the deal, and several Tea Party groups have come out against it.
The CPC and CBC announced late Sunday their press conference would be postponed until after Monday afternoon's CBC meeting.
—Erik Wasson and Mike Lillis contributed to this report.
This story was last updated at 11 p.m.