On Thursday, Democrats and Republicans met for the fifth time in five days. Guess what? No deal. There are no formal negotiations planned for Friday to achieve a deficit-reduction deal, but President Obama will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. to update the country on the situation. At Thursday's meeting, Obama told congressional leaders to consult with their caucuses over the next 24 to 36 hours and decide how they should proceed. If the group is unable to reach a compromise, the president suggested another meeting would be called this weekend. Meanwhile, according to The Wall Street Journal, a "Plan B" is emerging, in private discussions between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell:
It would link a package of spending cuts to a plan McConnell proposed earlier this week that would give the president the power to raise the debt limit through 2012 in three installments. It likely wouldn't include any tax increases. McConnell and Reid are also exploring the idea of creating a committee to identify further deficit-reduction measures and force a congressional vote on the package.
Speaker John Boehner has signaled that he’s now "open to new options to avert a default," according to Politico, including McConnell's plan to have Congress temporarily surrender much of its power to approve any increase in the debt ceiling to the president. McConnell's alleged backup plan, however, would face political and procedural hurdles, since House conservatives keep pressing for deeper spending cuts, but the idea has gained some popularity as August 2 — when the Treasury Department says the U.S. government will run out of money to pay its bills — approaches.
Then there's Plan C: Force congressional leaders to fast for 24 hours; from there, the president would leave a tab open on Seamless Web during the debt meeting and offer free pad thai if and when a deal is worked out. Seems like that would work.