Are Obama and Boehner Nearing a Debt Deal?

Word has been trickling in from a variety of sources all day about the basic outline of a deficit-reduction deal that President Obama and Speaker John Boehner are nearing. While both sides are denying it in their preferred arenas — the White House through its spokesperson at a press conference, John Boehner with a telephone call to Rush Limbaugh — it still seems like we've got our hands on the latest trial balloon! Summary: It sucks for Democrats.

The New York Times, The Hill, Time, Reuters, TPM and wherever else people get their annoying Capitol Hill play-by-play these days are all reporting on the same basic, floated deal: Approximately $3 trillion in spending cuts over ten years, including cuts to entitlement programs, in exchange for... no guaranteed revenue component — just the promise that a separate "tax reform" bill would be considered later this year or next year.

Democrats were supposedly informed of this possibility late last night, and Senate Democrats met with White House budget director Jack Lew during lunchtime meeting today. There's probably not a better word to describe their feelings towards these reports than the one Sen. Barbara Mikulski used: "Volcanic." What with the total cave of epic proportions that's under consideration and all. And here's how Harry Reid gingerly put it:

"What I have to say is this. The president always talked about balance. There has to be some fairness in this. This can't all be cuts," Reid said. "There has to be some revenues. The caucus agrees with that. I hope the president sticks with that and I am confident he will."

Maybe Obama and Democratic leaders just let the word out to get Democrats absolutely furious and ready to reassert their negotiating posture. If so, lovely job! But maybe it's a cave. We'll find out soon enough. Unless after the "heat dome" kills us off first, which would really be the best solution to this standoff/everything.

[Image via AP]