Waiting To Exhale

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July 31, 2011 5:13 p.m.

For those holding their breath over the debt crisis, Sunday night brought some positive news.

Around 8:30pm the chief Senate Democrat Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell hit the chamber floor to announce they had reached a deal in principle. Now they just need to sell it to their members. The Senate is due to reconvene at 10:30am Monday with a view to taking a vote in the following hours.

But don’t let out that sigh of relief just yet. Here’s why:Even if the bill passes the Senate it still has to make its way through the House. Speaker John Boehner provided the GOP caucus with a power-point presentation to try to sell them on the plan. However, he faces a sizable conservative rump that is still unsatisfied, largely because of concerns about defense cuts and the now-downgraded (and ludicrous) Balanced Budget Amendment.

On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has to hand her Democrats a plan that many regard as an utter capitulation to the Republicans. A progressive backlash is already underway. The bill has until Tuesday to clear both chambers and land on the President’s desk.

It’s been a remarkable few hours, but this thing ain’t over yet. Keep holding that breath.

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