'Decision Time': McConnell, Reid Work on Plan B
Standard & Poor's threatens to downgrade US credit, too
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2011 6:59 AM CDT
Updated Jul 15, 2011 7:46 AM CDT
In this 2010 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left, walks past Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a meeting.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – With negotiations looking more hopeless than ever, a modified version of Mitch McConnell's backup plan is starting to get some serious traction, reports the Wall Street Journal. Conservatives originally swatted down McConnell's idea—basically giving President Obama the ability to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion over the next year in exchange for Republicans getting to blame him for it. But the pressure for a deal is growing: Standard & Poor's says there's a 50% chance it will downgrade the US credit rating on long-term debt. (Moody's is worried, too.)

Along with giving Obama temporary authority over the debt ceiling, the new "Plan B" being put together by McConnell and Harry Reid would cut spending by $1 trillion and add no new taxes. Although House Speaker John Boehner has expressed some openness to this compromise, Politico suggested that might only be political gamesmanship, as Boehner continues to try for his $4 trillion deal that conservatives shot down last week. Although no talks are planned for today, Obama is scheduled to hold a press conference at 11am to update where things now stand, notes CNN. He has told lawmakers it's "decision time."