With crunch time on a debt ceiling deal approaching, some hope emerged today that an agreement might be possible: Eric Cantor said Republicans would be willing to close tax loopholes that benefit the rich provided Democrats returned the favor elsewhere by, say, extending the payroll tax holiday to help businesses. “If the president wants to talk loopholes, we’ll be glad to talk loopholes,” said Cantor. Other Republicans were skeptical of the approach, including Mitch McConnell: "I'm open to tax reform. We need to do it broadly, but to cherry pick items in the context of these negotiations strikes me as pretty challenging."
As was Democrat Chuck Schumer: "It is like taking one step forward and then two steps back." But both the Washington Post, which described Cantor's comments as a "marked shift," and the Wall Street Journal, which called them a "potential path forward," were more optimistic. Another sign: The DC rumor mill has it that John Boehner and President Obama met face to face at the White House over the weekend to "quietly" discuss the debt ceiling, reports the Hill. The White House will not confirm or deny. Obama meets with leaders of both parties tomorrow. (Read more Eric Cantor stories.)