President Obama announced this evening that Congressional leaders from both parties have reached an agreement on a plan to raise the debt ceiling.
Saying the agreement wasn't the deal he "would have preferred," the President nonetheless threw his support behind the plan, which will now presumably come up for a vote in the House and Senate this week.
The measure would raise the debt ceiling in two steps lasting until 2013 and cut federal spending by $2.4 trillion. The plan also calls for a special joint committee that would recommend further cuts and changes to Medicare and Social Security- that would have to be voted on by the House and Senate this fall. If the special committee or Congress fail to act, the bill calls for automatic across-the-board cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his counterpart Mitch McConnell (R-KY) both appeared on the Senate floor just before the President's announcement to say that they will back the plan.
But earlier in the day House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she would have to present any deal to the Democratic rank and file members of the House and that the caucus "may not all be able to support it....or maybe none of us will support it." And reports indicated House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was on a conference call with GOP members even as the President was speaking trying to make the case for the plan to his rank-and-file.
House Democrats have encouraged the President to invoke the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling without Congressional authorization. The White House continues to reject that option.