WASHINGTON (CNN) – To meet the president's demand that bipartisan House and Senate leaders come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling through the next election, a Democratic Senate leadership aide expects there will be bipartisan negotiations among those leaders "on a plan modeled on the Senate fallback proposal."
That fallback proposal is known as McConnell/Reid, a procedurally complicated measure - worked out by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - to raise the debt ceiling in stages between now and the end of next year.
However, a Senate GOP leadership aide said Friday that Republicans first might want to try to reach a deal on something other than McConnell/Reid, in part because the proposal is not terribly popular with Republicans since it doesn't mandate spending cuts.
McConnell/Reid is "on the shelf," the aide said, and available as a last-ditch way to avoid default.
The GOP aide said his party doesn't rule out pushing for a short-term bill - something along the lines of $1 trillion in spending cuts in return for $1 trillion in debt ceiling increase - that would raise the debt limit for several months.
If congressional leaders were to move such a plan, Republicans feel that the president would be unlikely to veto it even though he said at his press conference he wants the debt limit raised through the next election.
The McConnell/Reid plan would authorize the president to request of Congress debt ceiling increases in three increments before the end of next year. The first would boost the debt limit by $700 billion and the next two by $900 billion each.
Along with the each request, the president would be required to submit a list of recommended spending cuts in an amount higher than the debt ceiling increase request, but those cuts would not need to be enacted for the debt limit to go up.
Congress would then vote on, and likely pass, "resolutions of disapproval" of those requests. The president then would be expected veto those resolutions. Unless Congress overrode those vetoes, which is unlikely, the debt ceiling would increase.
McConnell/Reid includes a provision that automatically boosts the debt ceiling by $100 billion the moment the president submits his request to Congress. This way the debt ceiling negotiations could run right up to the August 2 deadline and the debt limit could be instantly increased, assuming, of course, the president signed the measure into law.
The two Senate leaders have also discussed adding $1 trillion or more in spending cuts to the plan. And they are discussing the creation of a special commission that could recommend to Congress ways to reduce the nation's long-term debt and force Congress to vote on those recommendations.