ABC News' Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) reports:
The outlook for a deal to raise the debt ceiling has grown considerably more pessimistic over the last several hours.
“Right now I’m very worried,” Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said today during a taping of ABC’s “Subway Series.” “If I were a betting man, I’d bet no. The President says he’s not going to do a short term extension. Our guys are saying we aren’t going to generate any new revenue.”
Senator Graham said if the debt ceiling is not raised, it would be “a disaster.”
This morning, the entire House Republican conference met behind closed doors to get an update on the talks from John Boehner and Eric Cantor. According to sources at the meeting, Cantor and Boehner outlined the $1.7 trillion in cuts they had presented to the President yesterday.
The reaction? The overwhelming majority of Republicans who spoke up declared that these cuts – which include Medicare cuts and no tax increases – are not deep enough to justify a vote to raise the debt ceiling.
And remember: these are cuts that Democrats have already dismissed as being too deep (on Medicare) and unfair (because they don’t include tax increases on the wealthy).
The second half of this 90-minute meeting was an open-mike session. Republicans were invited to step forward to tell their leadership how they feel about all of this. According to these sources, about 35 Republicans rose to speak and all hit the same theme: they won’t support increasing the debt ceiling unless there are deeper spending cuts and no tax increases.
Republican leaders are worried about the prospects of economic crisis if no deal is struck by August 2nd, but their rank and file members don’t seem to share that concern.
I am told that during the open-mike session, not a single Republican expressed concern about market or economic reaction in the face of government default.
In other words: even if Cantor and Boehner were willing to compromise, many of their rank-and-file members seem unwilling to go along.
But talking tough will be harder to do as the August 2nd deadline approaches. Boehner told his fellow Republicans to expect more pressure in the coming weeks including letters to Social Security recipients, student loan recipients and members of the military that their checks may not be in the mail after August 2nd if no deal is reached.