entitlements

New bipartisan negotiations over fiscal policy are underway, as a result of the deal that ended the government shutdown. But don’t expect these negotiations to produce a “grand bargain” in which Democrats and Republicans each make major concessions.

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The Republican fever is starting to come down. It hasn’t broken yet.Members of the Senate GOP on Friday met with President Obama, just as House Republicans had done one day before. And like their House counterparts, they sketched out an idea for ending the current political impasse—so that the federal government reopens and, no less important, so that the Treasury Department gets new borrowing authority to pay incoming bills.

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House Republican leaders on Thursday morning announced that they have a new proposal and it hews to the outlines media outlets reported overnight. Basically, House Republicans would leave the government shut down but give it about six weeks' worth of borrowing authority. Assuming I understand what the Republicans have in mind, the idea would be to use that time for some kind of broader negotiation on fiscal policy, entitlements, etc.—and, somewhere along the way, to start funding normal government operations again.

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The big news this morning is a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Paul Ryan, in which he dangles a new offer to President Obama and the Democrats. According to Ryan, Republicans could agree to fund the government (thereby ending the shutdown) and increase Treasury’s borrowing limit (thereby avoiding default) as long as Obama and the Democrats agree to negotiations over fiscal policy.

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House Republican leaders are starting to look pretty desperate.

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