I'll have a fuller story on this later, but the basics about where we stand now:
- After a conference call and a caucus meeting, John Boehner appears to have moved his conference to at least consider a two-stage plan of cuts, with the hope down the line of more cuts and a Balanced Budget Amendment vote.
- Harry Reid has put together a plan that consists of previous GOP priorities -- enough of them for the Drudge Report to headline it as a "cave." But it saves $1 trillion by winding down wars. The GOP doesn't take it seriously.
"Half of his plan is smoke and mirrors," huffed Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla, after the caucus met today. "If we passed that, we'd be laughed at... the markets wouldn't take it seriously."
During the GOP's meeting, the Cut, Cap, and Balance Coalition came out against the Boehner plan -- whose details will remain a mystery until tonight.
Perhaps most troubling is the proposed Congressional Commission. History has shown that such commissions, while well-intentioned, make it easier to raise taxes than to institute enduring budget reforms. Additionally, a symbolic vote on a balanced budget amendment at some later time minimizes its importance, as it will not be tied to an increase in the debt ceiling. A BBA that allows a tax increase with anything less than a 2/3 supermajority is not a serious measure.
I talked to as many House members as I could after the meeting and did not hear much agreement on this.