There were conflicting reports yesterday about whether or not the White House and Congressional leaders were working on a short-term fix for the debt limit to buy more time for the ultimate solution. Throughout this debate, President Obama has said that he would never sign a short-term increase, but it wasn’t an entirely credible threat, because it would mean that, during an endgame situation, he would have to veto a bill and send the country into default, something I don’t believe he was prepared to do. So yesterday, it appeared that Press Secretary Jay Carney opened the door to a short-term solution. But it was a narrow opening. Basically, Carney said that, if there was a deal and it was still being written, there could be a short-term increase while the legislative process worked itself through.

However, on the House side, a short-term deal is seen as something to buy time for negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected that approach entirely. So there isn’t even agreement on that, which should tell you something about the state of the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the number of House Republicans who reject the last resort solution, McConnell-Reid, is growing:

It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate how deadly serious conservatives are about ensuring that the McConnell escape-hatch proposal, should it come to that, does not pass the House — perhaps leading to default with untold consequences to follow.

The latest: Some eighty House Republicans have now signed a letter calling on GOP leaders not to even let the McConnell plan get to the floor for a vote, a GOP aide tells me

[cont’d.]

So what does the 80 total mean? If the letter does get around 100 signatories, that would mean there are around 140 remaining Republicans. Even if all of them voted for the plan, that would mean you’d need roughly another 80 House Dems. That is probably gettable, though it may be difficult, given all the noise Dems are suddenly making against the proposal. One Dem aide tells me the question of how many Dems will support it turns heavily on the complexion of the $1.5 trillion in cuts that would be packaged with the McConnell proposal.

That may give House Democrats some leverage. They themselves have 70-plus signatures on a letter against any benefit cuts to safety net programs. So there’s not a lot of room to maneuver in that space in between. And remember, McConnell-Reid currently has no revenue increases, which House Democrats have previously rejected as a solution. Felicia Sonmez has some good numbers on where House Republicans would shake out on any last resort deal.

You know that we’re not very close to a deal when epithets like “cult” start coming out. With anger on the right about McConnell’s plan, confusion about the air-dropped Gang of Six framework without enough time for passage, and resistance to a short-term solution, the likelihood of default continues to rise.

Put it this way: Wall Street is trying to reduce its exposure to Treasury bonds. That says it all.

There were conflicting reports yesterday about whether or not the White House and Congressional leaders were working on a short-term fix for the debt limit to buy more time for the ultimate solution. Throughout this debate, President Obama has said that he would never sign a short-term increase, but it wasn’t an entirely credible threat, because it would mean that, during an endgame situation, he would have to veto a bill and send the country into default, something I don’t believe he was prepared to do. So yesterday, it appeared that Press Secretary Jay Carney opened the door to a short-term solution. But it was a narrow opening. Basically, Carney said that, if there was a deal and it was still being written, there could be a short-term increase while the legislative process worked itself through.

However, on the House side, a short-term deal is seen as something to buy time for negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected that approach entirely. So there isn’t even agreement on that, which should tell you something about the state of the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the number of House Republicans who reject the last resort solution, McConnell-Reid, is growing:

It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate how deadly serious conservatives are about ensuring that the McConnell escape-hatch proposal, should it come to that, does not pass the House — perhaps leading to default with untold consequences to follow.

The latest: Some eighty House Republicans have now signed a letter calling on GOP leaders not to even let the McConnell plan get to the floor for a vote, a GOP aide tells me […]

So what does the 80 total mean? If the letter does get around 100 signatories, that would mean there are around 140 remaining Republicans. Even if all of them voted for the plan, that would mean you’d need roughly another 80 House Dems. That is probably gettable, though it may be difficult, given all the noise Dems are suddenly making against the proposal. One Dem aide tells me the question of how many Dems will support it turns heavily on the complexion of the $1.5 trillion in cuts that would be packaged with the McConnell proposal.

That may give House Democrats some leverage. They themselves have 70-plus signatures on a letter against any benefit cuts to safety net programs. So there’s not a lot of room to maneuver in that space in between. And remember, McConnell-Reid currently has no revenue increases, which House Democrats have previously rejected as a solution. Felicia Sonmez has some good numbers on where House Republicans would shake out on any last resort deal.

You know that we’re not very close to a deal when epithets like “cult” start coming out. With anger on the right about McConnell’s plan, confusion about the air-dropped Gang of Six framework without enough time for passage, and resistance to a short-term solution, the likelihood of default continues to rise.

Put it this way: Wall Street is trying to reduce its exposure to Treasury bonds. That says it all.

UPDATE: This is as much a partisan problem as it is a cross-chamber problem. Nothing can pass the House that can pass the Senate, and vice-versa. At least for the moment. But the Senate may be able to jam the House by passing a bill and leaving town, throwing the consequences for default onto their counterparts.

David Dayen

David Dayen