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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has signed off on a deal to raise the debt limit pending the approval of his caucus -- and of course if can win the backing of Senate GOP leaders and then a majority of the House.

His spokesman confirms that Reid will present the deal to his caucus shortly, with the hope of holding a vote on it Sunday night, giving House leaders some running room to pass the plan before the nation's borrowing authority expires late Tuesday.



The deal works like this:

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Over on the progressive side of politics, they're nursing their wounds and drowning their sorrows as details of the deal to increase the debt ceiling emerge. They feel like they lost to a Republican party that dug in and used the debt ceiling to achieve their goal of dramatically shrinking government spending and solving the deficit problem without raising a single penny in new revenue.

So they might be surprised to know that conservatives don't think they won, either. The right, despite apparently negotiating Obama into a corner that pits him against large parts of his base, still isn't satisfied.

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Progressive groups are speaking out against the debt ceiling deal currently being hashed out in Washington. The response from two of the nation's largest organizations goes essentially like this: really?!?

Progressives are more than a little upset that the deal does not include new revenues upfront, a line in the sand President Obama drew early on in the process and apparently had to abandon as the cogs of the legislative machinery turned hours before the nation went into default. They're casting the deal outlined on the Sunday talk shows this morning as a huge win for Republicans -- and (yet another) agonizing defeat for the left.

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Speaking with reporters after Sunday's failed debt limit vote, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) criticized President Obama for not seizing the initiative and forcing a balanced plan for deficit reduction. He also explained the problems with and merits of a still-forming bipartisan plan that will raise the debt limit.

The key for now, as explained here, is that it avoids default in a way that assures deep spending cuts over the coming decades -- including to entitlement programs -- but provides no guarantees of higher tax revenues.

Specifically the plan calls for a new congressional committee to make and expedite tax and entitlement reform recommendations before the end of the year. If the reforms fail, early leaks suggest that would trigger across the board spending cuts -- including to defense and entitlements -- but no new tax revenue.

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Shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, the Senate voted down Majority Leader Harry Reid's debt limit bill.

That plan has been outmoded by a new one, hammered out by the White House and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that's still being finalized. When it's completed, it will be attached as an amendment to Reid's bill (Reid will be able to recall that legislation by voting to filibuster his own plan, knowing it's doomed anyhow).

As noted here, the McConnell/Obama plan is likely to contain an enforcement mechanism comprised entirely of spending cuts -- both to domestic and defense programs -- that will kick in if a bipartisan fiscal committee doesn't report a package of entitlement and tax reforms later this year.

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Very late on Saturday, multiple reports sketched out the framework of a debt limit compromise President Obama has struck with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

As noted here, the issue under contention was the design of a so-called "trigger," -- a penalty written into the bill meant to encourage Congress to pass further bipartisan deficit reduction legislation, authored by a new Special Committee, later this year. Here's what they've reportedly come up with, pending approval from Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

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Senate Democrats have delayed a key Sunday morning test vote on legislation to raise the debt limit, as negotiations to avoid a catastrophic debt default drag on.

Late Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced on the Senate floor that the White House is making progress in those negotiations, but several issues remain unresolved.



"There are negotiations going on at the White House now on a solution that will avoid a catastrophic default," Reid said. "There are many elements to be finalized, there is still a distance to go before any arrangements are to be complete. I've spoken to the White House quite a few times this weekend, and they've asked me to give everyone as much time as possible."

Earlier Saturday, Dems were prepared for the 1 a.m. vote to fail, based on continued disagreement between the two parties over how to assure future cuts to entitlement programs and tax reform, according to a highly placed Democratic source. That vote is now scheduled for 1 p.m., Sunday.

Both the House and Senate debt limit votes call for the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral committee tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion through entitlement and tax reform. But Republicans are reluctant to count that $1.8 trillion toward the debt limit increase unless there's a viable penalty in place that would be triggered if the committee gridlocks, Congress fails to pass their proposal, or President Obama vetoes it.

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It's getting late on Capitol Hill this Saturday evening. And it's only going to get later -- the Senate vote on Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan to raise the debt limit is coming after midnight, meaning members of Congress are cooling their heels and getting frustrated.

That might be the reason more and more Democrats are calling on President Obama to handle this debt limit fiasco unilaterally by ignoring the debt limit via a reading of the 14th Amendment popular with progressives.

Another reason may be that the scheme is actually in the mix as negotiations over how to raise the debt limit grind on as the deadline gets closer and closer.

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