The New York Times reports:
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Tuesday that a bipartisan budget deal with President Obama was probably out of reach, and he proposed a plan under which the president could increase the federal debt limit without Congressional approval for offsetting spending cuts.
Mr. McConnell’s proposal reflected a growing sense of pessimism on Capitol Hill about the prospects that Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders could come to terms on a budget deal before the government’s borrowing authority hits its limit on Aug. 2. The negotiators sat down for another round of talks at the White House on Tuesday afternoon.
In an interview with CBS News, Mr. Obama said he “cannot guarantee” that the government can pay benefits next month to Social Security recipients, veterans and the disabled if Congress does not increase the federal debt limit, raising the political stakes even as Republicans hardened their opposition to him.
Mr. McConnell’s proposal would give Mr. Obama sweeping power to increase the government’s borrowing authority, in increments, by up to $2.4 trillion — enough, it is estimated, to cover federal obligations through next year — only if Mr. Obama specified spending cuts of equal amounts. But Congress would not have to approve the spending cuts prior to the debt-limit increase.
It is not clear whether House Republicans would sign on to such a measure, given their drive to extract deep spending cuts in return for any debt-limit increase.