Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Framework for ‘fiscal cliff’ spending deal becoming clearer

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein,Budgets and Deficits,Fiscal Cliff

Earlier, I reported that the tax portion of the “fiscal cliff” deal between Senate Republicans and the White House was done. Now, the two sides are closing in on a deal on the outstanding spending issues, according to a senior Republican aide.

According to the source, the deal would extend unemployment insurance for a year and also delay for a year scheduled Medicare payment cuts to doctors. The Medicare “doc fix,” as it’s known inside Washington, would be paid for, according to the source, but the unemployment extension would not.

The remaining outstanding issue on the spending side is the automatic spending cuts to defense and mandatory programs. This sequester originally spawned from the 2011 deal to raise the debt limit. Though the details are still in flux, the aide said that under the current framework, the sequester cuts would be delayed by two months, but would be offset to ensure the same amount of deficit reduction.

There’s been no indication from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as to whether a vote could still take place tonight. CNN’s Dana Bash reports that this remains the goal, but that there’s still uneasiness among Democrats on the estate tax issue.

UPDATE: Public Radio International’s Todd Zwillich quotes a senior Democratic aide warning against “happy talk” and calling a two-month sequester delay a “non starter.”

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