What's the Number?

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 8 2011 11:01 AM

What's the Number?

Jon Karl grilled Harry Reid this morning over the size of cuts in the possible budget deal. No good answer.

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Thing is, everyone has the exact same answer to the question. John Boehner says he wants the "biggest cuts we can get." Rank and file members of the GOP say they want the biggest cuts they can get. Yesterday, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., turned back a bunch of questions from me about the size of a deal he could accept.

"How can I even respond?" he said. "I can't even consider trying to negotiate against myself. As a prosecutor, I see the moving target. Defense attorneys are very good at making you negotiate against yourself with different proposals, and I've learned from that."

But I've talked to several members who see the number of cuts and the policy riders as trade-offs. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Tex., told me he had to bring something back to his voters -- it could be the promised $61 billion in cuts, or it could be riders.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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