First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Budget deal is a 2016 win-win for Dems, GOP
The budget deal that Republican and Democratic leaders reached late last night -- to boost military and domestic spending, to keep the government open, and to raise the debt limit -- appears to be a potential win for both parties. Especially when it comes to the 2016 presidential election. Think about it: As NBC’s Luke Russert points out, Republicans get to avoid the possibility of a government shutdown and debt default, either of which would have further damaged the party’s brand heading into next year’s general election. Democrats, meanwhile, get to lock in economic certainty and avoid a drop in consumer confidence like what happened after July 2011 (the debt-ceiling debacle) and Oct. 2013 (the two-week government shutdown). The devil is still in the details, of course, but the deal seems to help BOTH parties as it relates to 2016. And guess what: The budget deal and debt-limit hike last until 2017, which means that the party that wins next year will have the upper hand in the next round of budget fights.
But there's a possible 2016 pitfall: The deal could rile up both bases
Yet there is a possible pitfall for Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the deal: It could rile up both bases, and force the 2016 candidates to come out AGAINST it. So far, we haven’t seen 2016 reaction to the deal yet. Could it end up empowering the outsiders?
The details of the deal
NBC’s Frank Thorp and Alex Moe have more on the deal’s details: “The bill would set spending levels through Sept. of 2017 in an effort to return to the regular government funding process, a deal aides say would raise the spending caps set in place in 2011 that would result in deep cuts to both defense and non-defense spending, called sequestration. This deal would provide $80 billion in sequester relief — $50 billion the first year and $30 billion in the second equally divided between defense and non-defense spending.” Also: “The bipartisan agreement would include long-term entitlement reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program — the first major reform to Social Security since 1983. It also prevents a spike in Medicare B premiums for millions of seniors, a source familiar with the negotiations said. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, has been advocating for a change to this program.”
Conservatives and liberals voice their complaints
As we usually see with these kind of deals, both conservatives and liberals aren’t too happy. Here’s Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), per Politico: “I’m worried about how fast it’s moving. I see no reason for that. Based on what I know now, it appears the president got whatever he wanted.” Here’s Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) also in Politico: “We're really tired of the top-down, micromanagement where you have just a few people, or in this case just the speaker and his team, determining the outcome,” Amash said. “This is a fair reason to vote against the bill.” On the liberal side of things, here’s the Democracy for America group that Howard Dean created: "The White House needs to know that any budget deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits or eligibility for those benefits is unacceptable to the American people and roughly equivalent to declaring a holy war on struggling working families near the kick-off of the 2016 election.” And here’s the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee: “The White House, every Democrat running for president, and every Democrat in Congress should make clear that any deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits would be unacceptable policy.”
Carson takes the lead in his first national poll
Well, lookie here: Ben Carson is now leading in his first national poll. According to the brand-new New York Times/CBS poll, it’s Carson 26% among GOP primary voters, Donald Trump 22%, Marco Rubio 8%, Jeb Bush 7%, and Carly Fiorina 7%. If we see Carson ahead in another national poll, he’ll go from your new Iowa frontrunner to your new overall GOP frontrunner. One other observation in the NYT/CBS poll, per NBC’s Peter Alexander: Republican voters still haven’t made up their minds. “Seven in 10 of those who expressed support for a candidate said it was too early to say for sure who they would support. Just 28 percent indicated that their minds were made up,” the New York Times says.
Team Bush has Rubio in its crosshairs
The news out of the Bush family/donor retreat in Houston yesterday is that Team Bush has Marco Rubio in its crosshairs. NBC’s Jordan Frasier reported that a Power Point presentation described Rubio as “a GOP Obama." (The question we have is whether that’s an insult to Rubio or a compliment.) The Washington Post has more: “In a closed-door strategy briefing, Bush campaign officials detailed numerous contrasts they are seeking to draw with Rubio... An official with a pro-Bush super PAC mentioned Rubio’s name twice in a chat with reporters, despite not being asked about him. And a Bush ally suggested that Rubio should think about resigning from the Senate given his focus on the presidency.” It’s been clear for a while: Jeb Bush’s path to the nomination goes straight through Marco Rubio.
When the going gets tough, the tough don’t start complaining
Finally, when it comes to Bush and Rubio, both men have been voicing their frustrations -- the Washington Post reported on Rubio’s dissatisfaction with the Senate, while Bush complained about the state of the GOP race (“If this election is about how we’re going to fight to get nothing done, then I don’t want any part of it”). But here is a reality check for both Rubio and Bush: If you think working in the Senate or campaigning for president is frustrating, just wait until you’re president. This is as easy as it gets.
On the trail
Hillary Clinton appears on Stephen Colbert… Donald Trump holds a rally in Sioux City, IA at 7:00 pm ET… John Kasich has a debate kickoff rally in Ohio… And Rand Paul stumps in Nevada and Colorado ahead of tomorrow’s CNBC debate in Boulder, CO.
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