July 6th, 2011
04:47 PM ET
From CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin:
Democratic officials familiar with the deficit negotiations are now saying that the White House is talking about doing a deal larger than the roughly $2 trillion deal we’ve heard discussed in recent weeks. “The President doesn’t want a small deal that kicks the can down the field,” says an official. One official said he thinks there are leaders in both houses of Congress who want to reach “a significant deficit reduction deal…something big and meaningful.”
Officials on both sides of the aisle say this could be in the range of a $3-4 trillion deal.
Sources tell CNN that the president thinks there are “leaders and members in both chambers” who want to reach “a significant deficit reduction deal,” “something big and meaningful” and “not the path of least resistance.”
Why up the ante, especially given the difficulty the two sides have had reaching agreement over a smaller roughly $2 trillion deal? Discussions with aides on capitol hill indicate some Republicans might like the idea of a larger deal – easier to sell to deficit hawks who want major cuts, and it could include more for everyone. Others say not so fast, insisting the larger deal would require major entitlement and tax code reforms that can’t be completed before the August 2nd deadline.
There’s politics and expectations at play here. With the bigger goal, Democrats and Congressional leaders can position themselves as pushing for something big and if it falls short, they tried. It’s not on them. This bigger option also sets up a straw man – a position to bargain down from so the $2 trillion looks like a compromise. Plus it gets negotiators that much farther away from the push for a short term deal.