By Alexander Bolton - 07/07/11 08:01 PM EDT
GOP leaders said they will know by Sunday if a comprehensive deficit-reduction deal can be reached with the White House.
House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell (Ky.) briefed GOP senators Thursday after meeting earlier in the day
with President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders.
In a final push to ink a deal to raise the national debt limit by Aug 2., Obama has put Medicare and Social Security reform on the table, GOP leaders told members of the Senate Republican conference.
BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE and McConnell told their colleagues that if there is to be a grand bargain, it will have to be reached by the beginning of next week to give Congress enough time to fill in the details, put it in legislative language and pass it by the end of July.
“They’ve been talking long enough. If we’re going to get an agreement, expect to get it by Sunday,” said a GOP senator, summarizing the meeting with Boehner and McConnell.
“What they said is they expect to have an agreement or no agreement by Sunday,” said the lawmaker. “If there’s going to be an agreement, we’ll have it by Sunday. We almost have to have it by Sunday in order to get it written, debated, voted on and enacted by the end of July.”
A second GOP senators said there’s “no deal or framework of a deal” but “serious consideration about everything.”
The lawmaker said Boehner and McConnell said that Obama had expressed a willingness to put Medicare and Social Security reform on the table. But GOP leaders are not certain what exactly Obama will accept in return as part of an agreement.
The GOP senator also said that it was clear from the meeting that if a comprehensive deal were not reached by the start of next week, there was very little chance of reaching a broad deficit-reduction deal by Aug. 2.
“If we’re going to have a deal, it’s going to have to be at the start of next week,” the senator said.
The lawmaker said Republicans are debating what their fall-back plan will be in the absence of a deal.
Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who has played a central role in the debt-limit talks, declined to predict whether Monday is a make-or-break day.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Obviously time is short.”