Nothing like playing chicken with the global economy, right? And having America’s reputation, not to mention her creditworthiness, lay in the balance as well? Good news. First of all, Kevin McCarthy has gone on record saying that the June 5 default deadline will be honored, so it looks like America is not going to go over the cliff next week. That’s good to hear. Secondly, Josh Marshall has parsed through all the data. He gets it that gutting a Democratic president and humiliating him is the point of Republican intransigence. All that said, he thinks that Dark Brandon has prevailed.

One thing that has had me very concerned over recent days is that the White House would be forced to take a rough deal with House Republicans and then also have to whip Democratic votes to get it passed. So the Freedom Caucus forces a ruinous deal and then doesn’t even vote for it. Democrats have to make up those votes. That’s not worth doing. Despite the danger, force McCarthy to pass it entirely with Republican votes. If he can’t get the votes for his own demands, let’s just go over the cliff.

But news out tonight from the Times, now also confirmed by the Post, points to the outlines of a deal that actually looks fairly good for the Dems.

Caveats: You’ll know there’s a deal when it’s official. Maybe this falls apart. Also, let’s remember that we shouldn’t be in this negotiation at all. But we are in the negotiation and we’re days from a crisis. Here are the outlines of a deal as I understand them from the Times article.

Defense and Veterans spending continues to rise at the level Biden outlined in his budget. No freeze there. Other spending (non-defense discretionary spending) gets frozen but at roughly 2023 levels rather than 2022 levels and for just two years. That difference may not sound like a big deal but it is.

There are cuts that bring the numbers in a bit under 2023 levels. But they make up that money but taking $10 billion from the $80 billion of expanded funding for the IRS. Taking $10 billion away from the increased funding for the IRS allows Republicans to say they clawed back some of the money going to that mythical army of IRS “agents” who are going to harass ordinary working folk. That’s not great. But $10 billion off the $80 billion leaves the great bulk of the funding intact and it basically protects key social spending.

There are two additional provisions which, if they pan out, seem key. The debt ceiling is raised into 2025, so out past the next election. The deal also prevents Republicans from coming back for another bite at the apple later this year when it comes time to put together an actual budget. That’s always been one of the huge risks here. You’re forced to agree to ruinous cuts and then Republicans come back in 4 or 5 months to extort more cuts, this time with the threat of a government shutdown. This prevents that second bite at the apple and basically rules out the possibility of a government shutdown later this year.

Clawing back unspent COVID spending isn’t even mentioned in this piece. Perhaps that’s because it’s assumed at this point. I don’t know.

They’re still arguing over work requirements and so-called “permitting reform.”

Again: This isn’t great. There shouldn’t be a negotiation at all. But this is a fairly small payment for the hostage, given what was possible.

The good thing is that when this passes, it will defer this nonsense for another couple of years. With any luck, Democrats will still be in control of the White House in 2025. And the way Donald Trump is going, Democrats may retain control of the Senate and possibly regain the House. All in all, we are not in terrible shape. That said, it should not be ignored that both of the front runners for the GOP nomination, Trump and DeSantis, are fascists.

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    • That’s the big problem. To do that, the IRS needs MORE agents, especially those with experience and training or a certain amount in specialization in following the money that’s all too often hidden away. And those agents won’t really be all that cheap. So, either the IRS hires more specialists to go after the really big bucks while not being able to replace as many of the agents who have retired or are in the process of retiring over the next couple of years or the IRS gets the funding to replace all the agents it’s lost or is preparing to lose.

      The GOP as a whole has been doing its best to unravel and defund the IRS for the last 20 years (only gaining real steam since Obama’s election and the 2010 Teabagger wave). Remember how the IRS was so scrutinized at the sheer audacity of its “investigating” the sudden explosion in right-wing 501(c)(3) applications after 2010? It was as if none of the GOP investigators could connect “1000 applications from parties advocating lower taxes in 1 single year” to “possible tax fraud and tax evasions schemes.” No. They blamed it all on “politics” and “attacking conservatives” (even though the IRS was also investigating progressive/left-wing applications at the same rate; the whole numbers didn’t match up to GOPers simply because there were far fewer progressive/left-wing applications). But because the IRS is *supposed* to stay relatively non-partisan, agency heads were stymied from really defending themselves and the agency against the GOP performance art attack dogs. And, so the GOP continued pressing for more massive tax cuts for millionaires while cutting funding to the IRS so they couldn’t keep up investigating (and auditing) the targets that really deserved it (you just can’t spare 3 to 5 investigators for a year trying to untangle the spider webs of accounts the big-money folks have when those same investigators could each deal with a dozen “little guys” in the same time frame; sure the payout would likely be bigger on the “big-money” guys but, again, it’s a matter of time and resources).

  1. Hope IRS gets up to snuff . And any investigations or reports on FINCEN. Somebody’s kiddo put in there by Diaper Dolt 45??


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