Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown August 6, 2011: Washington Post Analysis — The Reasoning Behind the Republican Showdown in the Debt Crisis — “Origins of the Debt Showdown”

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

FEATURES:

For the GOP, the debt showdown was a ‘leverage moment’:

Source: WaPo, 8-7-11

Origins of the debt showdown

The frantic showdown over the debt ceiling that played out in Washington, bringing the nation to the brink of default, looked like the haphazard escalation of a typical partisan standoff. It wasn’t.

Rather, it was the natural outgrowth of a years-long effort by GOP recruiters to build a new majority and reverse the party’s fortunes. That effort began before the economy collapsed in 2008, before the government bailouts that followed, before the tea party rose in response to push its anti-tax, anti-spending message.

The Washington Post reconstructs the Republican party’s transformation, and its impact on the nation’s economic course, through interviews with the leading participants during this summer’s drama and from earlier interviews, some of them recorded, at various points during the past 2 1/2 years….READ MORE

Political Highlights: Debt Ceiling Showdown 2011 Recap — President Obama Signs the Bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011 into Law Averting 1st Default in US History

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN 2011 RECAP: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/obamasigningdebtbill.jpg?w=500

IN FOCUS

Debt Ceiling Showdown All Posts; News, Quotes, Speeches, Press Conferences & Analysis on History Musings

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown August 1-2, 2011: Debt Ceiling Crisis Averted House & Senate Pass Bipartisan Compromise Bill — President Obama Signs Budget Control Act of 2011 into Law — History Musings, 8-2-11

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown July 25-31, 2011: Finally, a Deal! After Week of Partisan Votes in Congress — President Obama, White House, Republican & Democratic Leaders Agree to Debt Deal — Still Needs to Pass House & Senate Votes — History Musings, 8-1-11

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown Recap July 18-24, 2011: 2 Plans, 8 Days No Debt Deal in Sight — Will the US Default on August 2, 2011? — History Musings, 7-25-11

Political Debt Ceiling Showdown Recap July 6-18, 2011: Bipartisan Senate Compromise Plan Emerges — Obama Sets New Deadline for Friday July 22, 2011 — History Musings, 7-18-11

Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDF

How the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

Resources on the Debate About the National Debt — White House

  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt dealPolitico, 8-2-11
  • Obama Approval Drops to New Low of 40% Similar to his approval rating for handling the debt ceiling negotiations: President Obama’s job approval rating is at a new low, averaging 40% in July 26-28 Gallup Daily tracking. His prior low rating of 41% occurred several times, the last of which was in April. As recently as June 7, Obama had 50% job approval…. – Gallop, 7-29-11
  • Majority of Americans surveyed believe Congressional leaders behaved like spoiled children: Congressional approval ratings fell to a dismal 14% in the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Survey released Tuesday. It showed a whopping 77% of people felt elected officials in Washington behaved mostly like “spoiled children” in the run-up to the vote.
    Only 17% of people surveyed believed the pols behaved like “responsible adults,” with 4% saying it was a mixture of both…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11
  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline — White House, 7-31-11 Timeline of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations — NYT, 7-31-11

    SNAPSHOT-U.S. lawmakers close to deal on debt: Here is what is happening on Sunday as lawmakers and the White House race to broker a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion borrowing cap by Tuesday’s deadline and avoid default on obligations…. – Reuters, 7-31-11

    FACTBOX-Key elements of possible U.S. debt deal: U.S. lawmakers were working furiously on Sunday to hammer out details of a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and put in place a deficit-reduction plan to help avert a potentially catastrophic debt default.
    Lawmakers, administration officials and aides have made clear that they have yet to agree on the final deal. But they did provide the following details of how the deal is taking shape…. – Reuters, 7-31-11

    FACTBOX-What’s ahead in the U.S. debt limit fight — Reuters, 7-30-11

    How Different Types of Republicans Voted on the Revised Debt Plan: Analysis of how different Republican blocs voted on the revised debt plan… – NYT

    Interactive Graphic: House Roll Call: Boehner’s Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase — NYT

    Interactive Graphic: Comparing Deficit-Reduction Plans — NYT

    Timeline: How U.S. debt talks spiraled into crisis: The United States drifted closer to a credit rating downgrade and default on Wednesday as President Barack Obama’s Democrats and their Republican rivals worked on competing plans to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling. Following is a timeline of the U.S. debt debate… – Reuters, 7-30-11

    Factbox: Details of competing debt limit plans: House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid are pushing rival plans to raise the government’s borrowing limit before an August 2 deadline. Reid could modify his plan to attract Republican support once Boehner’s bill fails in the Senate. Here are details of the two plans… – Reuters, 7-28-11

    Factbox: House factions influence debt/deficit vote: On any major piece of legislation that moves through Congress, various factions within the House of Representatives and Senate can influence chances of success or failure.
    That has been especially true in the debate over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2 in order to avoid a U.S. government default. Here is a rundown of the various factions — many overlap — and how they shaped the debate and how they might influence the final vote:

    TEA PARTY HOUSE CAUCUS…
    HOUSE REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE…
    THE TUESDAY GROUP…
    BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS…
    THE CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS…
    REPUBLICAN SENATOR JIM DEMINT…

    - Reuters, 7-28-11

    Debt ceiling Q&A: How did we get here, what happens next?LAT, 7-28-11

    Debt ceiling poll: Voters with Obama: Most Americans would like to see a mix of spending cuts and tax increases be part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, a new poll finds, aligning the majority with President Barack Obama’s position. Of those surveyed for a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday, 56 percent said they want to see a mix of approaches used in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The poll was conducted overnight Monday, as Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced their views on the impasse in negotiations in back-to-back televised primetime speeches.
    Just 19 percent of Americans said they favor a plan like Boehner’s, which would rely solely on spending cuts to existing programs to reduce the deficit. Twelve percent said they would prefer a plan to reduce the deficit only by raising taxes.
    Americans’ blame for the impasse is spread all around, though is particularly strong against congressional Republicans, with 31 percent of those surveyed saying they are responsible for it. Twenty-one percent blamed Obama and nine percent blamed congressional Democrats…. – Politico 7-26-11

    New polls confirm Obama’s Democratic base crumbles: …”More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base,” the Post reports.
    Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama’s jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president’s measures helped the economy have plunged from 77% to barely half.
    Obama’s overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one. – LAT, 7-26-11

    INFOGRAPHIC: Where does our national debt come from?: One of the fundamental things to understand when considering the debate about reducing our national debt is how we accumulated so much in the first place.
    To explain the impact various policies have had over the past decade, shifting us from projected surpluses to actual deficits and, as a result, running up the national debt, the White House has developed a graphic for you to review and share. – WH, 7-26-11

  • Factbox: How the Obama/Boehner debt talks unraveled: President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner had agreed on the rough outlines of a far-reaching budget deal that would allow the United States to avert an imminent default before Boehner broke off talks on Friday.
    Here is a summary of what the two sides had agreed upon, where they had differed, and how things fell apart… – Reuters, 7-24-11
  • Timeline: How the debt talks spiraled into crisis: With financial markets on edge, White House officials and Republican leaders scrambled to reassure them that the United States will avert default and lift its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit before August 2. Following is a timeline of the U.S. debt debate…. – Reuters, 7-24-11
  • Debt Ceiling for Dummies: Why Compromise Is so NecessaryHuff Post, 7-24-11
  • SCENARIOS-Options for raising the U.S. debt limit: Democrats and Republicans in Congress, unable to compromise on how to cut budget deficits and raise U.S. borrowing authority, are now working on their own, competing bills. With nine days’ left until the United States runs out of money to pay all its bills after Aug. 2, the two parties were rushing to get their respective bills moving through Congress this week.
    Here are some scenarios for raising the debt limit by the early August deadline to avoid a potentially crippling government default:
    AN ALL SPENDING CUTS, NO REVENUES PLAN…
    A SHORT-TERM DEBT LIMIT INCREASE…
    BLEND THE TWO IDEAS?…
    MCCONNELL “FALLBACK” PLAN…
    TALKS RESUME…
    OBAMA INVOKES THE CONSTITUTION… – Reuters, 7-24-11President Obama USA Today Exclusive Op-ed: Go ‘big’ on debt deal: For years now, America has been spending more money than we take in. The result is that we have too much debt on our nation’s credit card — debt that will ultimately weaken our economy, lead to higher interest rates for all Americans, and leave us unable to invest in things like education, or protect vital programs like Medicare.
    Neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this debt, but both parties have a responsibility to come together and solve the problem. That’s what the American people expect of us. Every day, families are figuring out how to stretch their paychecks a little further, sacrifice what they can’t afford, and budget only for what’s truly important. It’s time for Washington to do the same…. – USA Today, 7-21-11
  • Poll: Sharp Partisan Divide Over Debt Ceiling Deal: With the deadline to broker a debt ceiling deal fast approaching, Americans are craving a solution but remain strongly divided along party lines over how to achieve it, according to a CNN/ORC poll released today.
    The poll finds 64% of Americans want a package that includes both spending cuts and tax increases, although the partisan divide is clear: 83% of Democrats and nearly two-thirds of independents support this combined approach, while only 37% of Republicans say they agree. A majority of Republicans and self-described tea party supporters support a plan that only includes spending cuts…. – NY Daily News, 7-21-11
  • ‘Cut, cap, and balance’ vs. ‘gang of six’ plan: Which for House GOP?: ‘Cut, cap, and balance’ legislation, which lays out a GOP plan to eliminate the US budget deficit, is set for a House vote late Tuesday. A symbolic move, the vote is nonetheless vital to Republicans. Here’s why…. – CS Monitor, 7-20-11
  • Latest developments in debt ceiling standoff: Congress has until Aug. 2 to raise the federal borrowing limit or the government will run out of money and possibly default on its debt. House Republicans say they won’t raise the debt limit without equal spending cuts. President Barack Obama and Democrats insist that higher revenues must be included.
    Monday’s developments: Obama says the two sides are “making progress” in negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says the Senate will meet each day until the issue is resolved.
    What’s Next: Republican House to vote Tuesday on bill to cut and cap spending and require that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment before the debt ceiling can be raised. While the bill is unlikely to pass the Democratic Senate, Obama threatens to veto it. – AP, 7-18-11
  • McConnell Offers Three-Stage Debt-Limit ‘Last Choice’ Option: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a “last choice option” for increasing the U.S. debt limit in three stages in case President Barack Obama and Congress can’t agree on a deficit-reduction plan.
    McConnell’s plan would let the president raise the limit, while accompanying it with offsetting spending cuts, unless Congress struck down his plan with a two-thirds majority. The debt-ceiling increase could occur without the companion spending cuts, McConnell said.
    Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said the plan would allow Obama to raise the debt limit while putting the onus on him and congressional Democrats for any failure to cut spending. At the same time, Republicans wouldn’t have to agree to tax increases.
    The proposal is “not my first choice,” McConnell said, adding that he wanted to show the financial markets that the U.S. will not default on its debts. He said he continues to seek a broader deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit with congressional Democrats and the White House. “We’re certainly not going to send a signal to the markets and the American people that default is an option,” he said…. – Bloomberg, 7-12-11
  • Timeline: Debt debate, 7-11-11: President Barack Obama and top lawmakers will meet again Monday in search of a deal on slashing the U.S. budget deficit and raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before the United States defaults.
    Obama wants to strike a deal well before August 2, when the Treasury Department says it will no longer be able to honor its obligations and issue new bonds without breaching the limit that Congress set on how much the United States can borrow.
    Republican and Democratic lawmakers say any increase must include measures to ensure the country’s debt remains at a sustainable level. The debt-reduction debate is a sharp shift for Washington, which less than a year ago was focused on additional deficit spending to lower the unemployment rate.
    Following is a timeline of the debate…. – Reuters, 7-11-11
  • Factbox: What’s on the table in debt talks: President Barack Obama and congressional leaders resume their White House talks on Monday to see if they have the makings of a deal to trim budget deficits and avert a looming default.
    The Treasury Department has warned it will run out of money to cover the country’s bills if Congress does not raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2.
    Although Democrats and Republicans agree on the need for trillions of dollars in budget savings, they remain sharply divided about how to get there.
    Following is a summary of the debate… – Reuters, 7-11-11
  • Bruce Bartlett: Five myths about the debt ceiling: In recent months, the federal debt ceiling — last increased in February 2010 and now standing at $14.3 trillion — has become a matter of national debate and political hysteria. The ceiling must be raised by Aug. 2, Treasury says, or the government will run out of cash. Congressional Republicans counter that they won’t raise the debt limit unless Democrats agree to large budget cuts with no tax increases. President Obama insists that closing tax loopholes must be part of the package. Whom and what to believe in the great debt-limit debate? Here are some misconceptions that get to the heart of the battle….

    1. The debt limit is an effective way to control spending and deficits.
    2. Opposition to raising the debt limit is a partisan issue.
    3. Financial markets won’t care much if interest payments are just a few days late — a “technical default.”
    4. It’s worth risking default on the debt to prevent a tax increase, given the weak economy.
    5. Obama must accept GOP budget demands because he needs Republican support to raise the debt limit….

    - WaPo, 7-7-11

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown August 1-2, 2011: Debt Ceiling Crisis Averted House & Senate Pass Bipartisan Compromise Bill — President Obama Signs Budget Control Act of 2011 into Law

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell are pictured. | AP Photo composite by POLITICO

IN FOCUS AUGUST 1-2, 2011: DEBT CEILING CRISIS AVERTED HOUSE & SENATE PASS BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE BILL — PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS BUDGET CONTROL ACT OF 2011 INTO LAW

 

  • Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown August 1-2, 2011: Debt Ceiling Crisis Averted House & Senate Pass Bipartisan Compromise Bill — President Obama Signs Budget Control Act of 2011 into Law — History Musings, 8-2-11
  • Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown July 25-31, 2011: Finally, a Deal! After Week of Partisan Votes in Congress — President Obama, White House, Republican & Democratic Leaders Agree to Debt Deal — Still Needs to Pass House & Senate Votes — History Musings, 8-1-11
  • Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown Recap July 18-24, 2011: 2 Plans, 8 Days No Debt Deal in Sight — Will the US Default on August 2, 2011? — History Musings, 7-25-11
  • Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDFHow the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

    YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
    NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

    How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

    YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
    NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

    Resources on the Debate About the National Debt — White House

  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt dealPolitico, 8-2-11
  • Obama Approval Drops to New Low of 40% Similar to his approval rating for handling the debt ceiling negotiations: President Obama’s job approval rating is at a new low, averaging 40% in July 26-28 Gallup Daily tracking. His prior low rating of 41% occurred several times, the last of which was in April. As recently as June 7, Obama had 50% job approval…. – Gallop, 7-29-11
  • Majority of Americans surveyed believe Congressional leaders behaved like spoiled children: Congressional approval ratings fell to a dismal 14% in the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Survey released Tuesday. It showed a whopping 77% of people felt elected officials in Washington behaved mostly like “spoiled children” in the run-up to the vote.
    Only 17% of people surveyed believed the pols behaved like “responsible adults,” with 4% saying it was a mixture of both…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11
  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11

SENATE VOTES ON DEBT DEAL — PRESIDENT OBAMA MAKES STATEMENT & SIGNS DEBT BILL INTO LAW RAISING THE DEBT CEILING

Obama signs debt-ceiling deal into law: President Obama has signed into law the bill raising the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

President Obama says work not done: After the Senate passed the debt deal and removed the threat of default the day the Treasury was expected to run out of funds, President Obama told the American people from the Rose Garden that “the next phase” of the process involved such things as entitlement and tax reform, extended unemployment benefits and middle-class tax cuts.
He urged Congress to tackle those issues when it returns from its August recess.
“Voters may have chosen divided government, but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government,” Obama said. “They want us to solve problems.”
The president added “While deficit reduction is part of that agenda, it is not the whole agenda.”

Congress approves debt deal, averts U.S. default: The Senate approved a plan, 74 to 26, Tuesday that will increase the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills.
The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it shortly. The plan will cut the national debt by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years with no immediate provision for tax increases.

Senate begins vote on debt deal: Approval would send the measure to President Obama and immediately grant the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, just hours before a midnight deadline.

 

  • Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDFHow the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

    YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
    NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

    How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

    YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
    NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

    “It was a long and contentious debate. And I want to thank the American people for keeping up the pressure on their elected officials to put politics aside and work together.” — President Barack Obama

    “We have seen in the past few days that Washington has the ability to focus when there is a timer ticking down and when there is a looming disaster. It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs. Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.” — President Barack Obama

    “It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working. But, in fact, the opposite was true. The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty…. It was a debate that Washington needed to have.” — – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    The bill passed by the House last night isn’t the bill we’d write if conservatives ran Washington, but it’s a step in the right direction. When I went to NY & said we wouldn’t pass a debt limit increase without spending cuts larger than the hike, skeptics said we were crazy. We’ve proven the skeptics wrong. When Americans stay engaged in their government, there’s no limit to what can get done. Keep up the fight. — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    “Never again will any president from either party be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people. And in addition to that, without having to engage in the kind of debate we just went thorough. This kind of discussion isn’t something to dread. It’s something to welcome.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “The American people want to see accountability and cooperation in Washington. And they want to see that we’re working to get our fiscal house in order. This legislation doesn’t get us there. But for the first time in a long time, I think we can say to the American people that we’re finally facing in the right direction.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “It is the beginning of a process where we are going to change a system in this town. And it also, I think, sends a signal that we can work together to try and produce results.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

    “It’s hard to believe that we are putting our best foot forward with the legislation that comes before us today. I’m not happy with it, but I’m proud of some of the accomplishments contained in it.” — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    “There is great incentive created in this committee to deal with tax reform. It is certainly our expectation that that product will include revenue as well as other areas of finding deficit reduction.” — Speaker of the House Jay Carney

    “I believe the joint select committee can in fact produce real cuts in spending.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    Senator Tom Coburn: Why I voted against the debt deal”: “The real debt crisis is not a debate that has been imposed on Washington by Tea Party activists. It is a crisis Washington has imposed on the American people through laziness.” — WaPo, 8-2-11

  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Debt Bill Becomes Law; Default Averted: The Senate voted Tuesday to raise the government’s debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending, finally ending a fractious partisan battle just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out.
    The bill, which passed 74 to 26 after a short debate devoid of the oratorical passion that had echoed through both chambers of Congress for weeks, was signed by President Obama later on Tuesday.
    A few minutes after the vote, President Obama excoriated his Republican opposition for what he called a manufactured crisis that could have been avoided. “Voters may have chosen divided government,” he said, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Fitch: US Debt deal alone won’t sustain AAA rating: The bill to raise the country’s borrowing limit and prevent a possible U.S. debt default passed in Congress. But it not enough for the U.S. to maintain its coveted AAA debt rating, according to Fitch Ratings.
    On Tuesday, Fitch said the agreement was an important first step but “not the end of the process.” The rating agency wants to see a credible plan to reduce the budget deficit.
    David Riley, managing director at Fitch, told The Associated Press: “There’s more to be done in order to keep the rating in the medium-term.”… – AP, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes, Obama signs debt limit bill: President Obama signed a bill to raise the nation’s borrowing limit on Tuesday, just hours after the Senate voted 74-26 in favor of the deal that will cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • President Obama Signs Debt Deal as Next Fight Looms: Hours before the U.S. faced a first-ever default, President Obama signed into law a compromise deal that averts a crisis by raising the debt limit, but signaled that he will not abandon his stalled efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy.
    “It’s an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means, yet it also allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs and assures that we’re not cutting too abruptly while the economy’s still fragile,” Obama said in a statement from the White House Rose Garden before signing the bill.
    Moments before his remarks, senators voted 74 to 26 to pass the Budget Control Act, the last hurdle for the controversial measure that was first approved by the House Monday night, making a $2.4 trillion down-payment on the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
    Obama’s signature ends a bruising Washington-made crisis that has gripped the country and lifts what the administration has called a “cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy.”… – ABC News, 8-2-11
  • With debt debate over, Obama urges focus on jobs: President Obama marked the end of the “long and contentious” debt-limit debate Tuesday afternoon, lamenting that the “manufactured crisis” has stunted the economic recovery and promising a return to a jobs-focused agenda.
    The president spoke from the Rose Garden moments after the Senate gave final approval to the deal by a vote of 74-26. The House had voted for it by a surprisingly comfortable 269-161 margin on Monday.
    Obama signed the measure more than an hour after the Senate vote, ensuring that the nation is able to continue borrowing money to pay its bills.
    The president called the deficit-reduction measures paired with the debt-limit increase an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we continue living within our means.” But he also said he would continue to fight for a “balanced” approach when Congress continues the debate this fall.
    “I’ve said it before, I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have born the biggest brunt of this recession,” he said…. – LAT, 8-2-11
  • Obama says more needed to boost U.S. economy: President Barack Obama said on Tuesday a just-passed bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and cut spending was a first step toward ensuring the United States lives within its means but that more was needed to rebuild the world’s largest economy.
    Speaking at the White House, Obama made clear he expects tax reform to emerge from deliberations by a new committee of Democrats and Republicans to be established by the legislation and that a “balanced approach” in which the wealthier pay more taxes is needed for more deficit reduction.
    Obama, a Democrat, said uncertainty from the bitter debt debate had been an impediment to business but the economic recovery also suffered from unforeseen problems such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
    Obama urged Congress to pass stalled trade bills and said he wants tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment benefits extended.
    “Both parties share power in Washington. And both parties need to take responsibility for improving this economy,” Obama said shortly after the Senate passed the debt bill and sent it to him for signing into law.
    “I’ll be discussing additional ideas in the weeks ahead to help companies hire, invest and expand.”… – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Obama hails passage of debt limit compromise: President Obama hailed a hard-fought, last-minute deal to avert economic catastrophe Tuesday, saying a compromise to cut spending and increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit marked an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means.”
    The bill, he said, was the outcome of a “long and contentious debate” to avoid a man-made economic disaster that he described as creating “unsettling” economic uncertainty. He said that while voters chose divided government, “they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”
    “It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs,” the president said. He added: “Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.”
    Mr. Obama plans to sign the legislation in a closed-door ceremony Tuesday afternoon. It will effectively increase the nation’s borrowing authority through the end of next year and promises more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years.
    Now that the debt limit fight is effectively over, Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats say they will pivot to a focus on jobs and the economy, which they say should be Congress’ top priority.
    “We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put Americans back to work,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday. He called on Congress to extend middle class tax cuts and unemployment benefits, pass trade deals and plow money into infrastructure when it returns from its August recess…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Obama signs debt-limit bill into law: The Senate passed a landmark plan to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending Tuesday, ending a partisan stalemate that threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.
    The measure was approved by a vote of 74 to 26. It promptly went to President Obama, who signed it into law, giving the government the money to pay its bills ahead of a midnight deadline.
    Speaking in the White House Rose Garden after the Senate vote, Obama called the legislation “an important first step” in ensuring that the nation lives within its means, and he said it avoids “cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.” He vowed to keep working for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that includes “reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share.”
    The Senate vote came a day after the House voted 269 to 161 to pass the plan, as recalcitrant Republicans and disappointed Democrats rallied around calls to avert the nation’s first default and rein in ballooning deficits. The measure immediately grants the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, with more to follow…. – WaPo, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling bill passes Senate, 74-26: Treasury won an immediate reprieve of $400 billion in new borrowing authority Tuesday, as the Senate gave final approval to a hotly contested debt and deficit-reduction agreement hammered out with the White House Sunday night.
    The bipartisan 74-26 roll call followed a 269-161 vote in the House Monday evening and the bill will be quickly signed by President Barack Obama, ending an unprecedented, hard-edged political struggle that pushed the nation to the brink of default.
    Indeed, the stakes were far larger than the April shutdown fight, and more than any single event this year, the debt ceiling fight captured all the power—and critics would say extreme risk-taking—of the anti-government backlash that fueled the GOP’s gains in the 2010 elections…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Done Deal Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Bill 74-26: Members of the Senate this afternoon approved a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, narrowly avoiding the nation’s first-ever default.
    The bill garnered broad bipartisan support in today’s 74-26 vote. The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    The bill now heads straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Senate Passes Debt Plan to Avert Default: The Senate put an end to months of partisan impasse on Tuesday, passing a landmark budget agreement to raise the debt ceiling and sending the measure to the White House for President Obama’s signature — just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out at midnight.
    The bipartisan vote was 74 to 26 , a margin that belied the intensity of a fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted.
    With the ambivalent support of Congressional leaders in both parties and Mr. Obama, the compromise, which passed the House with bipartisan support on Monday night, averts a potential default on the government’s debt and provides for increases in the debt ceiling to be phased in, with compensating budget cuts, lasting beyond the 2012 elections. Enactment of the legislation would signal a pronounced shift in fiscal policy, from the heavy spending on economic stimulus and warfare of the past few years to a regime of steep spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficits — so far, without new revenues sought by the White House…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes debt deal: The Senate approved — and President Obama is likely to sign — $2.4 trillion in budget cuts and a roughly equal amount of additional debt capacity, ending months of gridlock.
    The 74-26 Senate vote came just in time to avoid an unprecedented default that Treasury officials predicted could happen if Congress didn’t raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by today.
    The debt drama wasn’t a one-act play. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it would be the “template” for all future debt limit increases…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Senate approves bill to raise debt ceiling; sends to President Obama: The Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, voting 74-26 for a bill that would cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012. The bill will now be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it immediately.
    The bill was brokered Sunday night in last-minute negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a key player in the negotiations, and Majority Leader Harry Reid,D-Nev., both backed the bill – paving the way for its easy passage in the Senate.
    The six Democrats who voted against the measure on Tuesday were sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Tom Harkin (Ia.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.). Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, also voted against the measure.
    Nineteen Republican senators voted against the bill…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt battle set to draw to close, for now: The United States is poised to step back from the brink of economic disaster on Tuesday when a bitterly fought deal to cut the budget deficit is expected to clear its final hurdles.
    Just hours before the Treasury’s authority to borrow funds runs out — risking a damaging U.S. debt default — the Senate and President Barack Obama are expected to approve a deal to cut a bulging deficit and lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling enough to last beyond the November 2012 elections.
    The bill overcame its biggest obstacle late on Monday when the Republican-led House of Representatives passed the measure despite noisy opposition from both conservative Tea Party members, who wanted more spending cuts, and liberal Democrats angered by potential hits to programs for the poor.
    The vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate, due to take place at noon EDT, is expected to be less dramatic. If approved, Obama would sign the bill into law shortly afterward.
    That would mark the end of a fierce partisan battle that has paralyzed Washington for weeks and spooked investors already nervous about a weak U.S. economy and Europe’s sovereign debt woes…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Senate expected to vote in favor of debt-limit bill: The Senate is set to vote this afternoon on the bill to raise the debt limit that the House approved Monday. Senators are expected to approve it and then send the bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.
    With a strong backing from Democrats, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the House on Monday approved raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
    The Senate is expected to approve it at noon today, and President Barack Obama is prepared to sign it almost immediately, averting the prospect of an unprecedented default…. – AP, 8-2-11
  • House Approved Debt Bill Faces Final Hurdle: The Senate today is expected to sign off on a compromise bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid the country’s first ever default on its bills.
    The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    Once approved, the bill will head straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing.
    The measure allows for a $2.4 trillion increase to the debt ceiling, but also slashes about $2 trillion from the federal budget. It also means Congress doesn’t have to deal with the debt ceiling again until 2013.
    Many Republicans say it still does not cut enough spending, while many Democrats slammed the deal because it does not include tax hikes…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Republicans Turn to Dealmaker McConnell for Compromise: While Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell stayed out of the spotlight during much of the negotiations over the U.S. debt limit, the deal that’s headed for approval by Congress today has his fingerprints all over it.
    Those who have worked with McConnell say that is typical of the lawmaker from Kentucky, a tight-lipped veteran of 26 years in the Senate who says little in public while wielding broad power behind closed doors.
    He “tends to be underestimated by the press, because they don’t see him doing things,” said former Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican and longtime ally. “He’s not at the microphones all the time, so they underestimate his capacity to do things. And he’s the last person in the Senate you want to underestimate.”
    The deficit-reduction deal that is set for a Senate vote today is largely a product of direct negotiations among McConnell, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi…. – Bloomberg, 8-2-11
  • Senate to Vote on Debt-Ceiling Bill: The Senate is expected at noon Tuesday to sign off on a bipartisan agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling and cut as much as $2.4 trillion from budget deficits, after the House passed the measure 269-161 last night.
    The deal is the product of one of the most ferocious fights ever over government spending and political brinksmanship that caused economic uncertainty and continues to threaten the nation’s prized AAA credit rating. Its passage through the Senate makes it likely that Congress won’t break Tuesday’s deadline set by the Treasury Department after which the nation could run out of money to pay all of its bills.
    WSJ’s Alan Murray and Joe White join the News Hub panel to discuss Monday evening’s House vote to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, and look ahead to Tuesday’s vote in the Senate. WSJ Photo.
    Passage in the House came despite the opposition of both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, both of whom balked at the deal reached over the weekend between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.
    However, the agreement was expected to obtain the 60 votes needed for it to pass the Senate, paving the way for Mr. Obama to sign it into law Tuesday afternoon…. – WSJ, 8-2-11
  • Senate poised to pass debt deal despite criticism from left, right: The Senate will vote at noon Tuesday to approve a bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and send it President Obama before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.
    The deal is expected to attract strong support from mainstream senators on both sides of the aisle while the chamber’s most liberal and conservative members will vote no.
    It passed the House easily Monday evening by a vote of 269 to 161.
    Wall Street, however, did not seem impressed by the deficit-reduction package, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.75 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell by 1 percent Tuesday morning.
    Senators from both parties lined up to praise and criticize the agreement…. – The Hill, 8-2-11
  • Obama, GOP brace for ‘Super Committee’: It’s a bird … it’s a plane … It’s Super Committee!
    As President Obama prepares to sign the debt ceiling agreement later today, lawmakers are already positioning themselves for the special congressional committee that will be assigned to look for $1.5 trillion in debt reduction over the next ten years.
    Some observers are joking about whether members of so-called “Super Committee” will don capes and costumes with dollar sign logos, but the political parties are preparing another serious battle over the topics that dominated the debt ceiling debate: Taxes, spending, and the scope of government.
    Obama and aides said they will continue pushing the idea that any debt reduction plan must be “balanced,” including not only spending cuts but more taxes from the nation’s wealthiest Americans.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said “it’s going to be pretty hard” for the committee to recommend taxes, and suggested that GOP appointees would block such a move…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Obama shifts to the right: President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks from White House briefing room, Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Washington, about a deal being reached to raise the debt limit. (AP)
    The most distressing outcome of the deficit hysteria gripping Washington may be what Barack Obama has revealed about himself. It was disconcerting to watch the president slip-slide so easily into voicing the fallacious economic arguments of the right. It was shocking when he betrayed core principles of the Democratic Party, portraying himself as high-minded and brave because he defied his loyal constituents. Supporters may hope this rightward shift was only a matter of political tactics, but I think Obama has at last revealed his sincere convictions. If he wins a second term, he will be free to strike a truly rotten “grand bargain” with Republicans—“pragmatic” compromises that will destroy the crown jewels of democratic reform.
    The president has done grievous damage to the most vulnerable by trying to fight the GOP on its ground—accepting the premise that deficits and debt should be a national priority. He made the choice more than a year ago to push aside the real problem—the vast loss and suffering generated by a failing economy…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling agreement a fair compromise?Politico Arena, 7-31-11
  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt deal: Almost as abruptly, the compromise started coming together. What happened during a weekend of frenzied negotiations to salvage the deal is a tale of cataclysm narrowly averted, a historic debt-reduction plan that satisfies none of its signatories and a lesson on how even the most dysfunctional political system can be made functional through the injection of fear, finesse and Joe Biden’s old friendships…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Pols all ‘look like idiots’ during debt crisis, but President Obama takes biggest hit of them all: There are no real winners in the debt-crisis debacle, and in such moments the leader of the country absorbs a larger hit than most.
    The tawdry spectacle of governmental paralysis, engineered by take-no-prisoner Tea Party newbies and abetted by Republicans fearful of crossing them, is more reminiscent of a banana republic.
    “We all look like idiots,” a dismayed Democratic Party elder complained as Congress lurched toward sidestepping a financial meltdown. “The extremists have taken over the system. This is not a good omen for anyone.”
    President Obama, least of all.
    Obama got less than a half loaf, but came away with some positives from the shotgun-wedding compromise. He pushed back the next debt extension donnybrook to 2013, guaranteeing this summer’s legislative chaos won’t be rerun during next year’s campaign.
    He also averted an even bigger embarrassment – America didn’t, on his watch, default on its debt obligations for the first time in history.
    But even Obama loyalists on Capitol Hill privately say he didn’t exactly burnish his leadership credentials in this process. “At the end of the day, voters expect their President to bring people together,” one of them said. “He hasn’t been able to on this.”…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11

AUGUST 1, 2011: HOUSE VOTES 269-161 FOR DEBT CEILING BILL — GABRIELLE GIFFORDS’S FIRST VOTE IN HOUSE SINCE BEING SHOT — SENATE VOTES NEXT — DEFAULT AVERTED

How they voted: The 269-161 roll call Monday by which the House passed the compromise bill to raise the debt ceiling and prevent a government default.

YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans.
NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans.

House approves raise in federal debt ceiling; bill goes to Senate: The House approved a bill Monday night that raises the federal debt limit and cuts discretionary spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, a key step toward averting a government default. The 269 to 161 vote sends the bill to the Senate, which is likely to consider the plan Tuesday — the day that the Treasury has said it would begin running short of cash to pay the nation’s bills. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords cast her first vote in the House since being shot in January, voting yes.

I would like to say this bill solves our problem. It doesn’t. It’s a solid first step.” — Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) of Texas, the House Republican Conference chairman

“Although not perfect, [it] will begin to change the culture here in Washington.” — House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) Virginia

“Beginning to take steps toward fixing our fiscal problems will in fact provide more confidence for employers in America.” — Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio

“The Capitol looks beautiful, and I am honored to be at work tonight… I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy. I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what’s going on in Washington. After weeks of failed debate in Washington, I was pleased to see a solution to this crisis emerge.” — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona

“Gabby is voting to support the bipartisan debt-ceiling compromise. This is a huge step in her recovery, and an example of what we all know — she is determined to get better, and to serve CD8 and our nation. This vote — expected to be very close — was simply too important for her to miss.” — Gabrielle Gifford’s Facebook Page

“There isn’t a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect, more wishing for our daughters to be like her than the name of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Thank you, Gabby.” — Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader

“That’s why I’m here. Nancy [Pelosi] was kind enough to call me.”…
When I went up, she said, ‘Joe. I said, ‘Now we’re both members of the Cracked Head Club.’ You know, I had two craniotomies. For real. They literally took the top of my head off. Twice. Now, the wags in Delaware, when the second operation occurred, wrote and said, ‘Well, it’s because they couldn’t find a brain the first time!’
She and I just commiserated about the steps to recovery. Hers, much more consequential. But it scares the living devil out of you when you’re recovering from a serious operation or injury to your head. But it comes back. And knowing people who’ve been through it and came back was helpful, for me anyway. You know what I mean?
She’s remarkable. She’s remarkable. Will matters. Will matters. I tell you what, she’s the embodiment of a strong, strong woman. Think about what that woman has been through, and think about her determination.
It’s really good. Here I am hugging Gabby and Michele Bachmann. Seriously. I’m being literal. Sure! I like Michele Bachmann. For real. We’re all standing there around and Michele walks up to see Gabby because she cares about her… There is a basic humanity here, man. It matters, between people. I know that sounds corny.”…
He then recalled what he said was one of the most emotional moments he ever saw. Hubert Humphrey, the former vice president and US senator from Minnesota, was dying of cancer and made an appearance on the Senate floor. “He could hardly walk. He walked into the well. And Barry Goldwater got out of his seat, hugged him in the well, and the both embraced each other for a good three minutes, crying. These were arch, arch, arch ideological enemies. There’s a lot of humanity left here.” — Vice President Joe Biden Boston Globe, 8-1-11

House approves debt deal a day before deadline – Reuters, 8-1-11

 

  • WaPo, 8-2-11
  • House OKs debt; Giffords brings down the House: Crisis legislation to yank the nation past the threat of a historic financial default sped through the House Monday night, breaking weeks of deadlock. The rare moment of cooperation turned celebratory when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords strode in for the first time since she was shot in the head nearly seven months ago.
    The vote was 269-161, a scant day ahead of the deadline for action. But all eyes were on Giffords, who drew thunderous applause as she walked into the House chamber unannounced and cast her vote in favor of the bill.
    A final Senate sign-off for the measure is virtually assured on Tuesday. Aside from raising the debt limit, the bill would slice federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion, and perhaps much more.
    “If the bill were presented to the president, he would sign it,” the White House said, an understatement of enormous proportions…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • House Passes Deal to Avert Debt Crisis: After months of partisan impasse, the House on Monday approved a budget agreement intended to head off a potential government default, pushing Congress a big step closer to the conclusion of a bitter fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted. Despite the tension and uncertainty that has surrounded efforts to raise the debt ceiling, the vote of 269 to 161 was relatively strong in support of the plan, which would cut more than $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years while extending the borrowing authority of the Treasury Department. It would also create a powerful new joint Congressional committee to recommend broad changes in spending — and possibly in tax policy — to reduce the deficit.
    Scores of Democrats initially held back from voting, to force Republicans to register their positions first. Then, as the time for voting wound down, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, returned to the floor for the first time since being shot in January and voted for the bill to jubilant applause and embraces from her colleagues. It provided an unexpected, unifying ending to a fierce standoff in the House.
    The Senate, where approval is considered likely, is scheduled to vote at noon on Tuesday and then send the measure to Mr. Obama less than 12 hours before the time when the Treasury Department has said it could become unable to meet all of its financial obligations…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt-ceiling bill clears House. Now, hopes that Round 2 will be better: With the House passing a debt-ceiling bill Monday, and end of the debt crisis is in sight. But more cutting lies ahead, and both sides are hopeful they’ll get more of what they want…. – CS Monitor, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal easily clears House, final passage likely: Congress was poised to send President Obama a compromise deficit-reduction package topping $2 trillion Tuesday, just hours before the nation could run out of borrowed money to pay its bills.
    After months of bitter partisan wrangling, the House on Monday easily approved the landmark measure raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by a 269-161 vote. The Senate is expected to approve it at noon Tuesday, and Obama is prepared to sign it almost immediately, averting the prospect of an unprecedented default…..
    Republican leaders boasted that they got two-thirds of the spending cuts they sought, leading GOP House members to vote 174-66 in favor of the bill. Democrats who split 95-95 on the measure were left to highlight the cuts they averted…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal clears House on 269-161 vote; Senate passage expected Tuesday: A bipartisan bill to increase the nation’s debt limit and cut as much as $2.4 trillion in government spending passed the House of Representatives, overcoming the key hurdle on the road to averting an unprecedented federal default.
    The legislation, which passed Monday evening by a relatively comfortable 269-161 margin, came after a weekend of tense meetings, exhausted staff discussions and, in the end, a compromise worked out at the highest levels of government. If passed by the Senate on Tuesday, which is widely expected, it will end a months-long standoff between a new Republican House majority, which refused to pass an increase without a deficit reduction package, and the Democratic majority in the Senate and President Barack Obama…. – Bellingham Herald, 8-1-11
  • House passes debt ceiling agreement; Senate vote expected Tuesday: The U.S. House on Monday passed the debt-ceiling deal worked out by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, sending it to the Senate for consideration a day before the deadline for the government to face possible default.
    A Senate vote was expected Tuesday, according to multiple Senate leadership aides from each party…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • Pelosi rallies Dems to help pass debt plan: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco provided 95 Democratic votes – half of her caucus – to approve a $2 trillion-plus, 10-year debt-reduction package Monday that helped make up for a slew of defections by Tea Party-backed Republicans.
    Pelosi urged Democrats to swallow hard on the package, which did not include new taxes as they had wanted, to save the nation from a potentially calamitous cash shortfall. The final vote was 269 to 161, with 66 Republicans voting no on grounds that the spending cuts did not go deep enough.
    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords,the Arizona Democrat shot in the head by a gunman in January, made a dramatic entrance onto the House floor to cast her vote for the deal…. – San Francisco Chronicle, 8-1-11
  • House Passes Compromise Debt Bill: 7:42 p.m. | Updated The House of Representatives approved the debt ceiling bargain negotiated over the weekend by President Obama and leaders from both parties, sending the measure to the Senate. Final approval that could come Tuesday.
    Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, told his colleagues that the Senate will take up the debt bill at noon on Tuesday, just hours before the midnight deadline when the nation’s borrowing authority will run out.
    The final vote was 269 to 161, with 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats voting no. Many Democratic lawmakers joined dozens of Tea Party-backed Republicans in calling it a bad deal for the country. But the complicated legislation to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion earned the support of members from both parties to win approval.
    Senators said they planned to take up the legislation as soon as Monday evening or Tuesday, hours before a deadline that might have led to a federal default.
    The passage came in dramatic fashion as Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, made her first appearance back in the chamber since she was shot in the head by an assailant during a meet and greet in her district. Members in both parties stood up for a long and enthusiastic standing ovation for Ms. Giffords, who entered dressed in a teal shirt and with her brown hair trimmed short. She has been recuperating since the shooting and it had been unclear when she would return…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Giffords Returns, as Does Unity, Briefly: With two minutes to go and roughly 20 votes needed to pass a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit, a smattering of applause rippled from a corner of the House chamber. After a few seconds of confusion, a flash of teal jacket could be seen almost floating among a sea of Democrats.
    There she was, Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, appearing unexpectedly Monday evening to cast one of the last votes needed to send the measure over the top.
    The full chamber erupted in loud applause as Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House whip, flicked his eyes from the vote board to Ms. Giffords. It was the first time she had been in the chamber since she was critically injured in an assassination attempt in January in Tucson…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Rep. Giffords casts debt-limit vote on House floor: As minutes remained on a critical vote to raise the debt limit, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords burst onto the House floor Monday and cast a “yes” vote, the first time the Arizona Democrat had voted since a gunman shot her in the head at a political event in Tucson seven months ago.
    Lawmakers, tense after weeks of contentious negotiations, erupted into applause as Giffords entered the chamber accompanied by her close friend and colleague Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and her husband, space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly. Giffords waved and said, “Thank you” as her colleagues gave her a standing ovation.
    Giffords, who wore glasses and a teal blazer, turned to watch the tally as voting ended on the debt-ceiling compromise package….
    Vice President Biden said Pelosi told him earlier Monday that Giffords would return to the House. “That’s why I’m here,” Biden said…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Julian Zelizer on House Debt Deal Vote: Many bills that eventually take on big issues start as a modest, first step, says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University, citing the 1957 civil rights bill, which disappointed most of its supporters for not going far enough to redress the nation’s record on civil rights.
    President “Lyndon Johnson pushed back against liberals saying, ‘If I can get Southerners to vote for something, you can do more down the road,’ ” he says.
    “The debt deal is trying to give some assurance that it’s a first step and will continue,” he adds. “The legislation is vague enough about this new committee that everyone can look at it and think that the committee will later give them what they want.”… – CS Monitor, 8-1-11
  • Deal Was Forged Over Choices and Chinese Food: Last Friday night, President Obama called Speaker John A. Boehner just after the Republican House leader had gotten his rebellious Republicans, on the third effort, to pass legislation to address the debt crisis.
    “Congratulations on finally getting your bill through,” Mr. Obama said, according to a Democrat familiar with the conversation. “You know you’re not going to get through the Senate, so now we need to focus on a solution.”
    Roughly 48 hours later, at 8:15 on Sunday night, the president again called Mr. Boehner from the Oval Office.
    “Do we have a deal?” Mr. Obama asked, then stopped abruptly. His senior advisers, standing nearby, gathered that Mr. Boehner had interrupted the president, and they braced for confirmation of the worst in Mr. Obama’s next words. Instead, there was relief.
    “Congratulations to you, too, John,” Mr. Obama finally said….. – NYT, 8-1-11

AUGUST 1, 2011: BIPARTISAN OPPOSITION TO DEBT DEAL — CONGRESS FIRST TO VOTE ON DEBT DEAL THEN THE SENATE

Budget Office says debt deal will save at least $2.1 trillion: The Congressional Budget Office confirmed Monday that the debt-reduction deal struck by the White House and congressional leaders would cut deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years, if lawmakers approve the plan later Monday.
The independent budget analysts reconfirmed that it contains up front savings of $917 billion, the same level as initially proposed in legislation offered by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) last week, and it credited President Obama and the leaders with at least $1.2 trillion in savings for the follow-on work to be done by a special committee.

“Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions. Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations. That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important.” — President Barack Obama

“I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff. The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents: a first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

We got 98 percent of what we wanted… It would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment, while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of a BBA to support it.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“There is nothing in this framework that violates our principles. It’s all spending cuts. The White House bid to raise taxes has been shut down…. Now listen, this isn’t the greatest deal in the world. But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“I became convinced that even though my friend, [majority leader Reid], and I would love to work this out, we can’t do it by ourselves. It has to have the only person who can sign something into law. There are 307 million Americans, but only one can sign something into law.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Reid says debt limit vote in Senate by Tuesday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that debt limit increase legislation would be completed in the Senate by Tuesday. “This vote could happen either tonight or tomorrow,” Reid said on the Senate floor. – Reuters, 8-1-11

Highlights of the bipartisan debt-ceiling deal — LAT

 

  • For debt-ceiling deal to become law, what needs to happen by Tuesday: Selling the debt-ceiling deal to a critical mass of lawmakers is a formidable political reach. Many conservatives say the deal doesn’t go far enough, while some liberals say the richest Americans should have to pay more taxes…. – CS Monitor, 8-1-11
  • Several Steps Remain Before the Debt Ceiling Is Raised: During the next 60 hours, the legislative leaders who shook hands with each other must sell the deal to their wary members, something that could still pose a thorny political challenge.
    And then — with the Tuesday deadline for a default looming — they must turn the “framework” into legislative language and pass it through both chambers of Congress — not an easy task for institutions, especially the Senate, which are not known for moving with haste…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • House begins debate on debt limit compromise: Congress has started debating the debt limit compromise negotiated by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders.
    The GOP-run House began considering the bill less than a day after the White House and top lawmakers reached agreement on a dispute that had locked them in deadlock for months…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • House begins debate on debt limit compromise: Congress has started debating the debt limit compromise negotiated by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders.
    The GOP-run House began considering the bill less than a day after the White House and top lawmakers reached agreement on a dispute that had locked them in deadlock for months…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Pleasing Few, Debt Deal to Go to Vote: Democratic and Republican leaders in the Congress began making their final arguments on behalf of Sunday’s debt ceiling deal to skeptical members in advance of votes in both chambers that could come as early as Monday afternoon.
    With only one day left before Tuesday’s looming deadline that carries the threat of a federal default, Vice President Joseph R. Biden arrived at the Capitol for back-to-back, closed-door meetings with Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate. Republicans in the House and Senate also huddled in advance of the votes.
    The last-minute wrangling on Monday morning reflected the lack of enthusiasm for the debt deal as lawmakers, party activists and pundits expressed relief but little excitement for a compromise that appears to have left few partisans eagerly promoting the deal as the one that they wanted.
    On the Senate floor on Monday, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said, “People on the right are upset. People on the left are upset. People in the middle are upset.” But he called it a “remarkable agreement which will protect the long-term health of our economy.”
    Mr. Reid said that the Senate is likely to take a final vote on passage of the deal later today. Republican aides in the House said that voting could begin as early as 2 p.m., though neither chamber had yet told members exactly when to expect final votes on the legislation.
    Most of the leading 2012 Republican presidential candidates weighed in Monday in opposition to the debt ceiling deal, saying that it does too little to address the nation’s spending problem. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, said the deal “opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table..”… – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal: $32.4 billion per page: The debt framework President Obama and congressional leaders reached Sunday night runs 74 pages long, and could authorize as much as $2.4 trillion in new debt — or $32.4 billion per page.
    That debt increase will get the country through the 2012 election, both sides said, but it does not bring to an end the sea of red ink that will continue to wash over the federal government for the foreseeable future.
    In the near term, the bill sets budget numbers for 2012 that would require a real cut of $7 billion in discretionary spending from 2011 levels, though that’s $25 billion less than projected spending would have been had it kept pace with inflation.
    Over the long term, the deal could lead to as much as $2.4 trillion in lower-than-projected spending over the next decade, which also works out to about $32.4 billion per page in lower spending — if all of the conditions are met. But during those 10 years, that still means the country could pile up another $10.4 trillion in new debt, which would leave the government well more than $20 trillion in debt by the end of the decade…. – Washington Times, 8-1-11
  • Obama: Debt debate will continue: President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign e-mailed a brief address from the president, describing the recent battle with Republicans as a phase in a long-running effort to forge a “balanced” debt reduction package that includes new tax revenue as well as budget cuts.
    “This chapter is over. That work and that debate continue. This has been a tense debate because the stakes were so high.”
    Though grateful that the agreement heads off a government default, Obama said the agreement is “far from satisfying” and he will urge a new special congressional committee to cut federal debt with taxes as well as less spendng. “The ultimate solution must be balanced,” Obama said…. USA Today, 8-1-11
  • House vote first test of debt-ceiling bill: The first test of legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling comes in the House, which plans to vote Monday evening on the plan agreed to by party leaders Sunday.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would work to take up the plan Monday as well, though that would be a challenge given traditional delaying tactics that may be employed.
    Passage in either chamber is far from assured. Some Republicans are objecting to the possibility of steep cuts in defense spending, while others continue to oppose any debt-ceiling increase. Liberal Democrats think the so-called compromise was more like a cave-in…. – LAT, 8-1-11
  • House Debt Vote Expected Monday Afternoon: The House of Representatives could begin voting as early as 2 p.m., Eastern time, on the debt ceiling compromise announced by President Obama and Congressional leaders on Sunday night, a House leadership aide said.
    In a brief message on Twitter, Erica Elliott, the press secretary for Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, the majority whip, announced the tentative schedule.
    It was not immediately clear when the Senate might vote on Monday…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt-Limit Deal to Get Congress Vote Today: Congressional leaders, leaving no extra time before a default threatened for tomorrow, are racing to push through a compromise sealed with President Barack Obama last night to raise the U.S. debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and slash government spending by $2.4 trillion or more. The House plans votes today and the Senate may follow suit to consider the agreement reached during a weekend of negotiations that capped a months-long struggle between Obama and Republicans over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Megan Hughes reports on Bloomberg Television’s “First Look.” (Source: Bloomberg)
    Congressional leaders, leaving no extra time before a default threatened for tomorrow, are racing to push through a compromise sealed with President Barack Obama last night to raise the U.S. debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and slash government spending by $2.4 trillion or more.
    The House plans votes today and the Senate may follow suit to consider the agreement reached during a weekend of negotiations that capped a months-long struggle between Obama and Republicans over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
    Both parties were working to sell the deal to their rank and file — meeting resistance from social liberals who fault it for failing to increase taxes and from fiscal conservatives who say it’s insufficient to rein in the debt…. – Bloomberg, 8-1-11
  • House races toward Monday debt ceiling vote: The House is racing toward a Monday evening vote to raise the debt ceiling, as congressional leaders furiously round up the votes necessary to push the plan through before Tuesday’s deadline.
    Senate leaders plan to take up the bill shortly after, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says enough votes will be lined up for the bill to pass.
    House leaders are still gauging support for the measure. House Republicans will meet at 12:30 and House Democrats are caucusing with Vice President Joe Biden — who got a standing ovation when he walked into the meeting today.
    Biden laid out in candid terms what the White House had to do to get a deal.
    “Elections have consequences,” Biden told Senate Democrats, according to a senator in the room. The vice president characterized the fight as a hostage situation, saying Republicans have a “gun to their heads,” the source said…. – Politico, 8-1-11
  • Debt-ceiling compromise: Now, it’s time to find the votes: Vice President Joe Biden will meet Monday with the Senate and House Democratic caucuses while Republican leaders also huddle to gauge support for the debt-ceiling plan negotiators agreed to Sunday.
    The legislative path for the bill was still somewhat unclear as individual members study the details. No votes had been scheduled yet in either the House or Senate on Monday, but could be added once party leadership takes the temperature of their respective caucuses. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told members Sunday night that the bill would move quickly to the floor, perhaps as early as Monday afternoon…. – LAT, 8-1-11
  • House to vote before Senate on raising debt ceiling: The House of Representatives will vote before the Senate on the bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling, according to two House GOP leadership sources…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • House vote could be squeaker: A Democratic official involved in the effort to secure the votes in the House and Senate for the debt deal says there is more concern about the vote tally in the House than the Senate, where it looks like it will get the 60 votes needed without much drama.
    In the House, Democrats who favor the deal are concerned about a very close vote – maybe a squeaker.
    Vice President Joe Biden will meet with the House Democratic caucus at noon to answer questions, soothe concerns, and help shore up reluctant Democrats.
    Even though Biden is coming over to meet with Democrats and has planned to come out to the media stakeout afterwards, it’s unclear from Democratic aides at this point how many of the Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will stand with Biden and say they will support the bill…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • The debt ceiling battle at a glance:

    A compromise agreement to raise the nation’s borrowing limit has been reached The House and Senate are expected to vote today The House Speaker says the agreement does not violate Republican principles Some Senate Democrats are grumbling, an aide says, but the chamber is expected to approve the deal

    President Obama and congressional leaders have agreed to a plan that would lift the nation’s credit limit and avoid an unprecedented default on its debt, which could have widespread economic ramifications ranging from higher interest rates to a predicted stock market crash. Congress still must approve the deal by Tuesday. Here’s the situation at a glance… – CNN, 8-1-11

  • Democrats seem to end up on short end of the deal: The deal struck by the White House and congressional leaders to raise the nation’s debt ceiling has the feel of a classic compromise, full of give and take.
    There is no requirement for a balanced budget amendment, no second showdown over the nation’s borrowing limit before the 2012 elections and, according to some conservatives, not nearly enough in cuts.
    But for weeks and months Republicans have warned Democrats they would only accept a deal that cut spending without raising taxes.
    And the deal that faces a final congressional vote Monday does exactly that. The deal includes $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years. It sets up a congressional committee that could consider tax reform as it seeks a strategy for deeper debt reduction. On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed that the deal would cut deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years…. – WaPo, 8-1-11
  • Obama, Boehner Suffering ‘Monday Morning Hangover’: President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, did something most considered a long shot – they agreed on a budget deal and the talking points that go with it.
    But the Monday morning hangover plaguing Obama and Boehner as a result of Sunday night’s celebration may last longer and produce bigger headaches than either anticipated.
    Vice President Joe Biden was dispatched to the Capitol early Monday to meet with Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate to convince lawmakers the latest deal is the way to go. Republicans were also huddling to see if they have enough votes for a Monday afternoon roll call.
    Reid took to the senate floor Monday morning, calling the weekend deal a “remarkable agreement which will protect the long-term health of our economy.”
    “People on the right are upset. People on the left are upset. People in the middle are upset,” said Reid in his remarks.
    President Obama, seemingly tired and frustrated after a tense round of negotiations, called reporters together saying the compromise “allows us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America.”… – Christian Post, 8-1-11
  • Debt Deal: Some Read It and Weep, Others Swallow Hard and Nod: Liberals and conservatives woke up on Monday morning and began assessing the last-minute debt ceiling deal reached by leaders in Washington over the weekend.
    Many liberals are grousing about President Obama’s willingness to abandon some of the things he had demanded. Some conservatives are griping that the deal doesn’t do enough to cut spending. And some members of both parties are declaring the deal good enough, if not exactly great…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • McCain says he’ll ‘swallow hard’ and support deal: Sen. John McCain says he’ll vote for compromise legislation averting a government default, although “I will probably have to swallow hard.”
    The Arizona Republican who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election says he’s concerned about the impact of the deficit-reduction deal on defense spending.
    But McCain also tells CBS’s “The Early Show” that officials in Washington realized “we were not going to let the government shut down.”… – AP, 8-1-11
  • Sen. Marco Rubio will vote against debt ceiling deal: The South Florida Congressional delegation says it will likely approve the tentative deal struck Sunday night to raise the debt ceiling but Sen. Marco Rubio is a holdout…. – Miami Herald, 8-1-11
  • GOP presidential hopefuls unhappy with debt-ceiling deal: Some of the Republicans who want to kick President Obama out of office next year are sounding off today with their opposition to a deal the White House reached with congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Romney opposes debt deal: Mitt Romney said Monday he opposes the compromise to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, becoming the second Republican presidential contender to oppose a deal backed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders in both parties.
    The plan, which supporters say is needed to avert a looming fiscal crisis, opens the door to tax increases and defense cuts, the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement.
    “President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute,” Romney said. “While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.”
    The statement represents the most substantive comment to date from Romney, the early frontrunner in the Republican presidential field, who has largely avoided weighing in on daily developments in the high-stakes debate. The issue, as the nation’s economy in general, is likely to dominate the 2012 contest…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Debt and budget bill saves more than $2T: A new study says the debt and budget bill backed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders would save taxpayers at least $2.1 trillion over the coming decade.
    The Congressional Budget Office analysis says the initial down payment of spending cuts — tight “caps” on the operating budgets of Cabinet agencies like the departments of Defense and Education — would produce more than $900 billion in savings over 10 years…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Congressional Leaders to Pitch Debt-Reduction Compromise to Caucuses: Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress will meet with their caucuses Monday for a hard sell of a compromise debt-reduction package that gives President Obama up to a $2.5 trillion hike in the debt limit as long as lawmakers can find an equal or greater amount in spending cuts.
    But even if they can’t come up with solutions, the cuts will be found for them.
    Obama announced Sunday night that leaders of both parties in both chambers reached an agreement on a debt-reduction deal that will “lift the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy” and prevent the nation from potentially defaulting on the U.S.’s financial obligations…. – Fox News, 8-1-11
  • Congress moving quickly on debt and spending deal: Congress is moving quickly on an agreement to avert a potentially devastating default on U.S. obligations, with legislation that mixes a record increase in the government’s borrowing cap with the promise of more than $2 trillion in spending cuts.
    After a tense weekend of bargaining, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced the agreement Sunday night, providing an instant boost to Asian financial markets and a huge dose of relief to an administration and Congress frazzled by months of partisan warfare and the chance that a default could send the still-fragile economy into recession.
    The Senate seems likely to vote first on the measure while House GOP leaders work to assemble support for it. Democratic votes are certain to be needed to pass the measure in the Republican-dominated House, just as Republicans will be needed to clear the measure through the Democratic Senate. Liberal Democrats were already carping that Obama had given away too much to GOP leaders…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Obama announces budget deal: President Barack Obama, addressing the nation Sunday, announced a bipartisan, bicameral deal to end a dangerous impasse over raising the debt ceiling, marking the start of a process to avert a catastrophic national default on Tuesday.
    A somber Obama — decrying a process that has been “messy” and has “taken far too long” — made his announcement moments before House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took the two-part package of $2.5 trillion in cuts to a skeptical GOP conference. The agreement came after a day of frenzied negotiations over “triggers” that will be used to determine the make-up of the final $1.5 trillion in cuts.
    “We’re not done yet,” Obama told a smattering of reporters gathered in the White House briefing room. “Despite what some Republicans have argued I believe we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share … and despite what some in my own party have argued I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to assure that they’re still around for future generations,” he said, acknowledging the opposition of tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats…. – Politico, 8-1-11
  • Analysis: Bipartisan debt-limit deal means bipartisan opposition for Obama, Boehner: The newly struck debt-ceiling compromise between President Barack Obama and the Republican leaders of Congress represents a historic accomplishment of divided government, with all the disappointment that implies for the most ardent partisans inside the two major parties and out.
    But it marks an accomplishment nonetheless between a Democratic president elected in 2008 and the Republicans who, Obama memorably said, handed his party a “shellacking” at the polls two years later.
    The tea party conservatives won’t like it, regretting it doesn’t cut spending by more. “Someone has to say no, I will,” Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in a statement emailed from Iowa Sunday night, where she was courting Republicans for her 2012 presidential bid.
    Neither will the liberal Democrats, unhappy that it cuts at all. “This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
    Which means that Obama and his principal Republican antagonist, Speaker John Boehner, will share responsibility for passing it in the House…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • US debt limit really doesn’t limit debt: The federal debt limit is a triumph of false advertising. It doesn’t really limit the national debt. Whenever the false ceiling has been reached, it has been raised — forcing unpopular votes in Congress, but not the really hard ones it would take to cut spending, raise revenues and balance budgets.
    Ranting about the debt is easier than taming it. So the same political theatrics are played over and over again. The debt limit has been raised 78 times since 1960. The current hassle over No. 79 is more contentious and divisive than the previous rounds because of hardened lines in Congress, not only between Democrats and Republicans but within their rosters, especially on the GOP side where about 80 freshmen sent by tea party voters consider compromise a crime.
    The hypocrisy of the whole process was summed up by an expert witness, Barack Obama, now the president championing a debt limit increase, when he tried to explain his own vote as junior senator from Illinois to oppose the raise then-President George W. Bush sought…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Obama: We have a deal: The nation’s top lawmakers and President Obama announced late Sunday they have reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling and dramatically curb federal spending.
    “I want to announce that the leaders of both parties, in both chambers, have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default,” Obama said Sunday night.
    Obama said that while the process was messy, and had taken far too long, the nation would, in the end, avoid a costly default and economic catastrophe.
    A short time before Obama spoke, Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell said that a framework had been agreed to…. – CNN Money, 8-1-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown August 2, 2011: President Obama’s Statement on Congress Passing the Compromise Debt Ceiling Bill — The Budget Control Act of 2011

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Putting Americans Back to Work: President Obama Speaks on the Debt Compromise

President Obama delivers remarks

President Obama spoke from the Rose Garden after the Senate vote on the debt ceiling bill on Tuesday. More Photos »

Source: WH, 8-2-11

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (81MB) | mp3 (8MB)

 

This afternoon, Congress approved a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert a default that would have devastated the economy. Speaking from the Rose Garden,  President Obama thanked the American people for reaching out to their elected officials during the debate, and stressed that this compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction, and will ensure that as a nation we live within our means, while still making key investments in things that lead to new jobs, like education and research.

The President noted that this is just the first step, and that both parties must work together on a larger plan for the long-term health of our economy:

And since you can’t close the deficit with just spending cuts, we’ll need a balanced approach where everything is on the table.  Yes, that means making some adjustments to protect health care programs like Medicare so they’re there for future generations. It also means reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share. And it means getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies, and tax loopholes that help billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers and nurses.

I’ve said it before; I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the biggest brunt of this recession.  We can’t make it tougher for young people to go to college, or ask seniors to pay more for health care, or ask scientists to give up on promising medical research because we couldn’t close a tax shelter for the most fortunate among us.  Everyone is going to have to chip in.  It’s only fair.  That’s the principle I’ll be fighting for during the next phase of this process.

President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden after passage of the debt ceiling billPresident Barack Obama makes a statement to the media in the Rose Garden of the White House after House and Senate passage of the debt ceiling bill, Aug. 2, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

In the coming months, President Obama will continue to fight for what matters most to the American people: new jobs, higher wages and faster economic growth. And when Congress gets back from recess, the President will urge them to take bipartisan, common-sense steps to help put Americans back to work.

So, we’ve seen in the past few days that Washington has the ability to focus when there’s a timer ticking down, and when there’s a looming disaster.  It shouldn’t take the risk of default -– the risk of economic catastrophe -– to get folks in this town to work together and do their jobs.  Because there’s already a quiet crisis going on in the lives of a lot of families, in a lot of communities, all across the country.  They’re looking for work, and they have been for a while; or they’re making do with fewer hours or fewer customers; or they’re just trying to make ends meet.  That ought to compel Washington to cooperate.  That ought to compel Washington to compromise, and it ought to compel Washington to act.  That ought to be enough to get all of us in this town to do the jobs we were sent here to do.  We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put America back to work.

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown August 2, 2011: D-Day, Done Deal — Senate Passes Debt Bill 74-26 — President Obama Makes Statement to the Nation & Signs Debt Bill into Law Raising the Debt Ceiling Limit

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

IN FOCUS

President Obama speaks from the Rose Garden at the White House after final passage of a debt-ceiling increase in Congress on Tuesday.

President Obama speaks from the Rose Garden at the White House after final passage of a debt-ceiling increase in Congress on Tuesday. (Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images)

SENATE PASSES DEBT DEAL 74-26 — PRESIDENT OBAMA MAKES STATEMENT & SIGNS DEBT BILL INTO LAW RAISING THE DEBT CEILING

This video image provided by Senate Television shows the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, after the Senate has approved an emergency bill to avert a first-ever government default with just hours to spare. | AP Photo

Obama signs debt-ceiling deal into law: President Obama has signed into law the bill raising the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

President Obama says work not done: After the Senate passed the debt deal and removed the threat of default the day the Treasury was expected to run out of funds, President Obama told the American people from the Rose Garden that “the next phase” of the process involved such things as entitlement and tax reform, extended unemployment benefits and middle-class tax cuts.
He urged Congress to tackle those issues when it returns from its August recess.
“Voters may have chosen divided government, but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government,” Obama said. “They want us to solve problems.”
The president added “While deficit reduction is part of that agenda, it is not the whole agenda.”

Congress approves debt deal, averts U.S. default: The Senate approved a plan, 74 to 26, Tuesday that will increase the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills.
The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it shortly. The plan will cut the national debt by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years with no immediate provision for tax increases.

Senate begins vote on debt deal: Approval would send the measure to President Obama and immediately grant the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, just hours before a midnight deadline.

 

  • Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDFHow the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

    YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
    NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

    How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 –

    YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
    NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

    “It was a long and contentious debate. And I want to thank the American people for keeping up the pressure on their elected officials to put politics aside and work together.” — President Barack Obama

    “We have seen in the past few days that Washington has the ability to focus when there is a timer ticking down and when there is a looming disaster. It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs. Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.” — President Barack Obama

    “It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working. But, in fact, the opposite was true. The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty…. It was a debate that Washington needed to have.” — – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    The bill passed by the House last night isn’t the bill we’d write if conservatives ran Washington, but it’s a step in the right direction. When I went to NY & said we wouldn’t pass a debt limit increase without spending cuts larger than the hike, skeptics said we were crazy. We’ve proven the skeptics wrong. When Americans stay engaged in their government, there’s no limit to what can get done. Keep up the fight. — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    “Never again will any president from either party be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people. And in addition to that, without having to engage in the kind of debate we just went thorough. This kind of discussion isn’t something to dread. It’s something to welcome.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “The American people want to see accountability and cooperation in Washington. And they want to see that we’re working to get our fiscal house in order. This legislation doesn’t get us there. But for the first time in a long time, I think we can say to the American people that we’re finally facing in the right direction.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “It is the beginning of a process where we are going to change a system in this town. And it also, I think, sends a signal that we can work together to try and produce results.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

    “It’s hard to believe that we are putting our best foot forward with the legislation that comes before us today. I’m not happy with it, but I’m proud of some of the accomplishments contained in it.” — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    “There is great incentive created in this committee to deal with tax reform. It is certainly our expectation that that product will include revenue as well as other areas of finding deficit reduction.” — Speaker of the House Jay Carney

    “I believe the joint select committee can in fact produce real cuts in spending.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    Senator Tom Coburn: Why I voted against the debt deal”: “The real debt crisis is not a debate that has been imposed on Washington by Tea Party activists. It is a crisis Washington has imposed on the American people through laziness.” — WaPo, 8-2-11

  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Debt Bill Becomes Law; Default Averted: The Senate voted Tuesday to raise the government’s debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending, finally ending a fractious partisan battle just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out.
    The bill, which passed 74 to 26 after a short debate devoid of the oratorical passion that had echoed through both chambers of Congress for weeks, was signed by President Obama later on Tuesday.
    A few minutes after the vote, President Obama excoriated his Republican opposition for what he called a manufactured crisis that could have been avoided. “Voters may have chosen divided government,” he said, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Fitch: US Debt deal alone won’t sustain AAA rating: The bill to raise the country’s borrowing limit and prevent a possible U.S. debt default passed in Congress. But it not enough for the U.S. to maintain its coveted AAA debt rating, according to Fitch Ratings.
    On Tuesday, Fitch said the agreement was an important first step but “not the end of the process.” The rating agency wants to see a credible plan to reduce the budget deficit.
    David Riley, managing director at Fitch, told The Associated Press: “There’s more to be done in order to keep the rating in the medium-term.”… – AP, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes, Obama signs debt limit bill: President Obama signed a bill to raise the nation’s borrowing limit on Tuesday, just hours after the Senate voted 74-26 in favor of the deal that will cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • President Obama Signs Debt Deal as Next Fight Looms: Hours before the U.S. faced a first-ever default, President Obama signed into law a compromise deal that averts a crisis by raising the debt limit, but signaled that he will not abandon his stalled efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy.
    “It’s an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means, yet it also allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs and assures that we’re not cutting too abruptly while the economy’s still fragile,” Obama said in a statement from the White House Rose Garden before signing the bill.
    Moments before his remarks, senators voted 74 to 26 to pass the Budget Control Act, the last hurdle for the controversial measure that was first approved by the House Monday night, making a $2.4 trillion down-payment on the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
    Obama’s signature ends a bruising Washington-made crisis that has gripped the country and lifts what the administration has called a “cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy.”… – ABC News, 8-2-11
  • With debt debate over, Obama urges focus on jobs: President Obama marked the end of the “long and contentious” debt-limit debate Tuesday afternoon, lamenting that the “manufactured crisis” has stunted the economic recovery and promising a return to a jobs-focused agenda.
    The president spoke from the Rose Garden moments after the Senate gave final approval to the deal by a vote of 74-26. The House had voted for it by a surprisingly comfortable 269-161 margin on Monday.
    Obama signed the measure more than an hour after the Senate vote, ensuring that the nation is able to continue borrowing money to pay its bills.
    The president called the deficit-reduction measures paired with the debt-limit increase an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we continue living within our means.” But he also said he would continue to fight for a “balanced” approach when Congress continues the debate this fall.
    “I’ve said it before, I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have born the biggest brunt of this recession,” he said…. – LAT, 8-2-11
  • Obama says more needed to boost U.S. economy: President Barack Obama said on Tuesday a just-passed bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and cut spending was a first step toward ensuring the United States lives within its means but that more was needed to rebuild the world’s largest economy.
    Speaking at the White House, Obama made clear he expects tax reform to emerge from deliberations by a new committee of Democrats and Republicans to be established by the legislation and that a “balanced approach” in which the wealthier pay more taxes is needed for more deficit reduction.
    Obama, a Democrat, said uncertainty from the bitter debt debate had been an impediment to business but the economic recovery also suffered from unforeseen problems such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
    Obama urged Congress to pass stalled trade bills and said he wants tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment benefits extended.
    “Both parties share power in Washington. And both parties need to take responsibility for improving this economy,” Obama said shortly after the Senate passed the debt bill and sent it to him for signing into law.
    “I’ll be discussing additional ideas in the weeks ahead to help companies hire, invest and expand.”… – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Obama hails passage of debt limit compromise: President Obama hailed a hard-fought, last-minute deal to avert economic catastrophe Tuesday, saying a compromise to cut spending and increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit marked an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means.”
    The bill, he said, was the outcome of a “long and contentious debate” to avoid a man-made economic disaster that he described as creating “unsettling” economic uncertainty. He said that while voters chose divided government, “they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”
    “It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs,” the president said. He added: “Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.”
    Mr. Obama plans to sign the legislation in a closed-door ceremony Tuesday afternoon. It will effectively increase the nation’s borrowing authority through the end of next year and promises more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years.
    Now that the debt limit fight is effectively over, Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats say they will pivot to a focus on jobs and the economy, which they say should be Congress’ top priority.
    “We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put Americans back to work,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday. He called on Congress to extend middle class tax cuts and unemployment benefits, pass trade deals and plow money into infrastructure when it returns from its August recess…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Obama signs debt-limit bill into law: The Senate passed a landmark plan to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending Tuesday, ending a partisan stalemate that threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.
    The measure was approved by a vote of 74 to 26. It promptly went to President Obama, who signed it into law, giving the government the money to pay its bills ahead of a midnight deadline.
    Speaking in the White House Rose Garden after the Senate vote, Obama called the legislation “an important first step” in ensuring that the nation lives within its means, and he said it avoids “cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.” He vowed to keep working for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that includes “reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share.”
    The Senate vote came a day after the House voted 269 to 161 to pass the plan, as recalcitrant Republicans and disappointed Democrats rallied around calls to avert the nation’s first default and rein in ballooning deficits. The measure immediately grants the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, with more to follow…. – WaPo, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling bill passes Senate, 74-26: Treasury won an immediate reprieve of $400 billion in new borrowing authority Tuesday, as the Senate gave final approval to a hotly contested debt and deficit-reduction agreement hammered out with the White House Sunday night.
    The bipartisan 74-26 roll call followed a 269-161 vote in the House Monday evening and the bill will be quickly signed by President Barack Obama, ending an unprecedented, hard-edged political struggle that pushed the nation to the brink of default.
    Indeed, the stakes were far larger than the April shutdown fight, and more than any single event this year, the debt ceiling fight captured all the power—and critics would say extreme risk-taking—of the anti-government backlash that fueled the GOP’s gains in the 2010 elections…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Done Deal Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Bill 74-26: Members of the Senate this afternoon approved a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, narrowly avoiding the nation’s first-ever default.
    The bill garnered broad bipartisan support in today’s 74-26 vote. The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    The bill now heads straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Senate Passes Debt Plan to Avert Default: The Senate put an end to months of partisan impasse on Tuesday, passing a landmark budget agreement to raise the debt ceiling and sending the measure to the White House for President Obama’s signature — just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out at midnight.
    The bipartisan vote was 74 to 26 , a margin that belied the intensity of a fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted.
    With the ambivalent support of Congressional leaders in both parties and Mr. Obama, the compromise, which passed the House with bipartisan support on Monday night, averts a potential default on the government’s debt and provides for increases in the debt ceiling to be phased in, with compensating budget cuts, lasting beyond the 2012 elections. Enactment of the legislation would signal a pronounced shift in fiscal policy, from the heavy spending on economic stimulus and warfare of the past few years to a regime of steep spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficits — so far, without new revenues sought by the White House…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes debt deal: The Senate approved — and President Obama is likely to sign — $2.4 trillion in budget cuts and a roughly equal amount of additional debt capacity, ending months of gridlock.
    The 74-26 Senate vote came just in time to avoid an unprecedented default that Treasury officials predicted could happen if Congress didn’t raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by today.
    The debt drama wasn’t a one-act play. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it would be the “template” for all future debt limit increases…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Senate approves bill to raise debt ceiling; sends to President Obama: The Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, voting 74-26 for a bill that would cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012. The bill will now be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it immediately.
    The bill was brokered Sunday night in last-minute negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a key player in the negotiations, and Majority Leader Harry Reid,D-Nev., both backed the bill – paving the way for its easy passage in the Senate.
    The six Democrats who voted against the measure on Tuesday were sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Tom Harkin (Ia.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.). Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, also voted against the measure.
    Nineteen Republican senators voted against the bill…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt battle set to draw to close, for now: The United States is poised to step back from the brink of economic disaster on Tuesday when a bitterly fought deal to cut the budget deficit is expected to clear its final hurdles.
    Just hours before the Treasury’s authority to borrow funds runs out — risking a damaging U.S. debt default — the Senate and President Barack Obama are expected to approve a deal to cut a bulging deficit and lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling enough to last beyond the November 2012 elections.
    The bill overcame its biggest obstacle late on Monday when the Republican-led House of Representatives passed the measure despite noisy opposition from both conservative Tea Party members, who wanted more spending cuts, and liberal Democrats angered by potential hits to programs for the poor.
    The vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate, due to take place at noon EDT, is expected to be less dramatic. If approved, Obama would sign the bill into law shortly afterward.
    That would mark the end of a fierce partisan battle that has paralyzed Washington for weeks and spooked investors already nervous about a weak U.S. economy and Europe’s sovereign debt woes…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Senate expected to vote in favor of debt-limit bill: The Senate is set to vote this afternoon on the bill to raise the debt limit that the House approved Monday. Senators are expected to approve it and then send the bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.
    With a strong backing from Democrats, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the House on Monday approved raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
    The Senate is expected to approve it at noon today, and President Barack Obama is prepared to sign it almost immediately, averting the prospect of an unprecedented default…. – AP, 8-2-11
  • House Approved Debt Bill Faces Final Hurdle: The Senate today is expected to sign off on a compromise bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid the country’s first ever default on its bills.
    The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    Once approved, the bill will head straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing.
    The measure allows for a $2.4 trillion increase to the debt ceiling, but also slashes about $2 trillion from the federal budget. It also means Congress doesn’t have to deal with the debt ceiling again until 2013.
    Many Republicans say it still does not cut enough spending, while many Democrats slammed the deal because it does not include tax hikes…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Republicans Turn to Dealmaker McConnell for Compromise: While Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell stayed out of the spotlight during much of the negotiations over the U.S. debt limit, the deal that’s headed for approval by Congress today has his fingerprints all over it.
    Those who have worked with McConnell say that is typical of the lawmaker from Kentucky, a tight-lipped veteran of 26 years in the Senate who says little in public while wielding broad power behind closed doors.
    He “tends to be underestimated by the press, because they don’t see him doing things,” said former Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican and longtime ally. “He’s not at the microphones all the time, so they underestimate his capacity to do things. And he’s the last person in the Senate you want to underestimate.”
    The deficit-reduction deal that is set for a Senate vote today is largely a product of direct negotiations among McConnell, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi…. – Bloomberg, 8-2-11
  • Senate to Vote on Debt-Ceiling Bill: The Senate is expected at noon Tuesday to sign off on a bipartisan agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling and cut as much as $2.4 trillion from budget deficits, after the House passed the measure 269-161 last night.
    The deal is the product of one of the most ferocious fights ever over government spending and political brinksmanship that caused economic uncertainty and continues to threaten the nation’s prized AAA credit rating. Its passage through the Senate makes it likely that Congress won’t break Tuesday’s deadline set by the Treasury Department after which the nation could run out of money to pay all of its bills.
    WSJ’s Alan Murray and Joe White join the News Hub panel to discuss Monday evening’s House vote to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, and look ahead to Tuesday’s vote in the Senate. WSJ Photo.
    Passage in the House came despite the opposition of both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, both of whom balked at the deal reached over the weekend between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.
    However, the agreement was expected to obtain the 60 votes needed for it to pass the Senate, paving the way for Mr. Obama to sign it into law Tuesday afternoon…. – WSJ, 8-2-11
  • Senate poised to pass debt deal despite criticism from left, right: The Senate will vote at noon Tuesday to approve a bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and send it President Obama before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.
    The deal is expected to attract strong support from mainstream senators on both sides of the aisle while the chamber’s most liberal and conservative members will vote no.
    It passed the House easily Monday evening by a vote of 269 to 161.
    Wall Street, however, did not seem impressed by the deficit-reduction package, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.75 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell by 1 percent Tuesday morning.
    Senators from both parties lined up to praise and criticize the agreement…. – The Hill, 8-2-11
  • Obama, GOP brace for ‘Super Committee’: It’s a bird … it’s a plane … It’s Super Committee!
    As President Obama prepares to sign the debt ceiling agreement later today, lawmakers are already positioning themselves for the special congressional committee that will be assigned to look for $1.5 trillion in debt reduction over the next ten years.
    Some observers are joking about whether members of so-called “Super Committee” will don capes and costumes with dollar sign logos, but the political parties are preparing another serious battle over the topics that dominated the debt ceiling debate: Taxes, spending, and the scope of government.
    Obama and aides said they will continue pushing the idea that any debt reduction plan must be “balanced,” including not only spending cuts but more taxes from the nation’s wealthiest Americans.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said “it’s going to be pretty hard” for the committee to recommend taxes, and suggested that GOP appointees would block such a move…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Obama shifts to the right: President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks from White House briefing room, Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Washington, about a deal being reached to raise the debt limit. (AP)
    The most distressing outcome of the deficit hysteria gripping Washington may be what Barack Obama has revealed about himself. It was disconcerting to watch the president slip-slide so easily into voicing the fallacious economic arguments of the right. It was shocking when he betrayed core principles of the Democratic Party, portraying himself as high-minded and brave because he defied his loyal constituents. Supporters may hope this rightward shift was only a matter of political tactics, but I think Obama has at last revealed his sincere convictions. If he wins a second term, he will be free to strike a truly rotten “grand bargain” with Republicans—“pragmatic” compromises that will destroy the crown jewels of democratic reform.
    The president has done grievous damage to the most vulnerable by trying to fight the GOP on its ground—accepting the premise that deficits and debt should be a national priority. He made the choice more than a year ago to push aside the real problem—the vast loss and suffering generated by a failing economy…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling agreement a fair compromise?Politico Arena, 7-31-11
  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt deal: Almost as abruptly, the compromise started coming together. What happened during a weekend of frenzied negotiations to salvage the deal is a tale of cataclysm narrowly averted, a historic debt-reduction plan that satisfies none of its signatories and a lesson on how even the most dysfunctional political system can be made functional through the injection of fear, finesse and Joe Biden’s old friendships…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Pols all ‘look like idiots’ during debt crisis, but President Obama takes biggest hit of them all: There are no real winners in the debt-crisis debacle, and in such moments the leader of the country absorbs a larger hit than most.
    The tawdry spectacle of governmental paralysis, engineered by take-no-prisoner Tea Party newbies and abetted by Republicans fearful of crossing them, is more reminiscent of a banana republic.
    “We all look like idiots,” a dismayed Democratic Party elder complained as Congress lurched toward sidestepping a financial meltdown. “The extremists have taken over the system. This is not a good omen for anyone.”
    President Obama, least of all.
    Obama got less than a half loaf, but came away with some positives from the shotgun-wedding compromise. He pushed back the next debt extension donnybrook to 2013, guaranteeing this summer’s legislative chaos won’t be rerun during next year’s campaign.
    He also averted an even bigger embarrassment – America didn’t, on his watch, default on its debt obligations for the first time in history.
    But even Obama loyalists on Capitol Hill privately say he didn’t exactly burnish his leadership credentials in this process. “At the end of the day, voters expect their President to bring people together,” one of them said. “He hasn’t been able to on this.”…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown August 2, 2011: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Senate Floor — Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Bill Will Slow Down ‘Big Government Freight Train’

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

McConnell: Bipartisan Agreement Will Slow Down the “Big Government Freight Train’

Source: McConnell.Senate.gov, 8-2-11

Aug 02 2011

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the Senate vote on the Budget Control Act that will prevent default, cut Washington spending:

“Over the past few weeks, Congress been engaged in a very important debate. It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working.

“But, in fact, the opposite was true.

“The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty.

“You see, one reason America isn’t already facing the kind of crises we see in Europe is that presidents and majority parties here can’t just bring about change on a dime, as much as they might like to from time to time. That’s what checks and balances is all about. And that’s the kind of balance Americans voted for in November.

“The American people sent a wave of new lawmakers to Congress in last November’s election with a very clear mandate: to put our nation’s fiscal house in order. Those of us who’d been fighting the big-government policies of Democrat majorities in Congress welcomed them into our ranks. Together we’ve held the line. And slowly but surely, we’ve started turning things around.

“That’s why those who think that no problem is too big or too small for government to solve are worried right now. They’re afraid the American people may actually win the larger debate we’ve been having around here about the size and scope of government; and that the spending spree may actually be coming to an end. They can’t believe that those who’ve stood up for limited government and accountability have actually changed the terms of the debate in Washington.

“But today, they have no choice but to admit it.

“Now, I know that for some of my colleagues reform isn’t coming as fast as they would like. I understand their frustration. I too wish we could stand here today enacting something much more ambitious. But I’m encouraged by the thought that these new leaders will help lead this fight until we finish the job. And I want to assure you today that although you may not see it this way, you’ve won this debate.

“In a few minutes, the Senate will vote on legislation that represents a new way of doing business in Washington.

“First, it creates an entirely new template for raising the nation’s debt limit. One of the most important things about this legislation is the fact that never again will any President, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people and without having to engage in the kind of debate we’ve just come through.

“This kind of discussion isn’t something to dread; it’s something to welcome. And while the President may not have particularly enjoyed this debate, it was a debate that Washington needed to have.

“As for the particulars, this legislation caps spending over the next 10 years, with a mechanism that ensures that these cuts stick. It protects the American people from a government default that would have affected every single one of them in one way or another. It puts in place a committee that will recommend further cuts and much-needed reforms. It doesn’t include a dime in job-killing tax hikes at a moment when our economy can least afford them. And, crucially, it ensures the debate over a balanced budget amendment continues, and that it gets a vote.

“This is no small feat when you consider that just last week the President was still demanding tax hikes as a part of any debt ceiling increase, and that as recently as May, the President’s top economic advisor said it was `insane’ for anybody to even consider tying the debt ceiling to spending cuts. It’s worth noting that two and a half months later, that advisor is no longer working at the White House and the President is now agreeing, as a condition of raising the debt ceiling, to trillions of dollars in spending cuts.

“Let me be clear: the legislation the Senate is about to vote on is just a first step. But it’s a crucial step toward fiscal sanity, and it’s a potentially remarkable achievement given the lengths to which some in Washington have gone to ensure a status quo that’s suffocating growth, crippling the economy, and imperiling entitlements.

“We’ve had to settle for less than we wanted, but what we’ve achieved is in no way insignificant. And we did it because we had something Democrats didn’t. Republicans may only control one half of one third of the government in Washington. But the American people agreed with us on the nature of the problem. They know that government didn’t accumulate $14.5 trillion in debt because it didn’t tax enough.

“And if you’re spending yourself into oblivion, the solution isn’t to spend more, it’s to spend less.

“Neither side got everything it wanted in these negotiations. But I think it was the view of those in my party that we’d try to get as much spending cuts as we could from a government we didn’t control. And that’s what we’ve done with this bipartisan agreement.

“This is not the deficit reduction package I would have written. The fact that we’re on pace to add another $7 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years is nothing to celebrate. But getting it there from more than $9 trillion the President continued to defend until recently, is no defeat either. And slowing down the big-government freight train from its current trajectory will give us the time we need to work toward a real solution, or give the American people the time they need to have their voices heard.

“So much more work remains. And to that end, our first step will be to make sure that the Republicans who sit on the powerful cost-cutting committee are serious people who put the best interests of the American people, and the principles that we’ve fought for throughout this debate, first.

“But before we move on to the next steps, I would like to say a word about some of those who made today’s vote possible.

“I’ll start with Speaker Boehner.

“It should be noted that he helped set the terms of this debate by insisting early on that he’d oppose any debt limit that didn’t include cuts that were greater than the amount the debt limit would be raised. And he stuck to his guns. The Speaker and I have worked shoulder to shoulder over the past few months, and it’s been a pleasure. He’s been a real partner. We wouldn’t be here without him.

“So I want to thank the Speaker and the entire Republican Leadership in the House for standing on principle, and I want to thank my Republican colleagues in the Senate for their determination and their ideas and their support. We wouldn’t be here without them either. And I want to thank my friend, the Majority Leader, for his work in getting this agreement over the finish line. We may disagree a lot, but I hope everyone realizes it’s never personal. And I think today we can prove that when it comes down to it we’ll come together when a larger good is at stake.

“I also want to thank the President, the Vice President, and everyone on their staffs who believed, as we did, that despite our many differences, we could all agree that America would not default on its obligations. It’s a testament to the good will of those on both sides that we were able to reach this agreement in time. Neither side wanted to see a government default. I’m pleased we were able to work together to avoid it.

“This bill does not solve the problem. But it forces Washington to admit that it has one. And it puts us on the path to recovery. We’re nowhere near where we need to be in terms of restoring balance. But there should be absolutely no doubt about this: we have changed the debate. We’re headed in the right direction.

“How’d it happen? Because the American people demanded it.

“So, in the end, we’re back to where we started. The only reason we’re talking about passing legislation that reins in the size of Washington instead of growing it is because the American people believed that they could have a real impact on the direction of their government. They spoke out, and we heard them. And it’s only through their continued participation in this process, and lawmakers who are willing to listen to them, that we’ll complete the work we’ve begun. As Winston Churchill once said, `Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; [and] courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’

“I can’t think of a better way to sum up this last year and, in particular, these last few months, in Washington than that.

“The American people want to see accountability and cooperation in Washington. And they want to see that we’re working to get our fiscal house in order. This legislation doesn’t get us there. But for the first time in a long time, I think we can say to the American people that we’re finally facing in the right direction. And for that, we have them to thank.”

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown August 1, 2011: House Bipartisan Vote 269-161 for Debt Ceiling Bill — Gabrielle Giffords First Vote Since Being Shot — Senate Votes Tuesday

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in January, appeared on the floor of the House of Representatives after the vote.

House Television, via Associated PressRepresentative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in January, appeared on the floor of the House of Representatives after the vote.

IN FOCUS

AUGUST 1, 2011: HOUSE VOTES 269-161 FOR DEBT CEILING BILL — GABRIELLE GIFFORDS’S FIRST VOTE IN HOUSE SINCE BEING SHOT — SENATE VOTES NEXT — DEFAULT AVERTED

House approves raise in federal debt ceiling; bill goes to Senate: The House approved a bill Monday night that raises the federal debt limit and cuts discretionary spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, a key step toward averting a government default. The 269 to 161 vote sends the bill to the Senate, which is likely to consider the plan Tuesday — the day that the Treasury has said it would begin running short of cash to pay the nation’s bills. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords cast her first vote in the House since being shot in January, voting yes.

I would like to say this bill solves our problem. It doesn’t. It’s a solid first step.” — Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) of Texas, the House Republican Conference chairman

“Although not perfect, [it] will begin to change the culture here in Washington.” — House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) Virginia

“Beginning to take steps toward fixing our fiscal problems will in fact provide more confidence for employers in America.” — Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio

“The Capitol looks beautiful, and I am honored to be at work tonight… I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy. I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what’s going on in Washington. After weeks of failed debate in Washington, I was pleased to see a solution to this crisis emerge.” — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona

“Gabby is voting to support the bipartisan debt-ceiling compromise. This is a huge step in her recovery, and an example of what we all know — she is determined to get better, and to serve CD8 and our nation. This vote — expected to be very close — was simply too important for her to miss.” — Gabrielle Gifford’s Facebook Page

“There isn’t a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect, more wishing for our daughters to be like her than the name of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Thank you, Gabby.” — Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader

“That’s why I’m here. Nancy [Pelosi] was kind enough to call me.”…
When I went up, she said, ‘Joe.’ I said, ‘Now we’re both members of the Cracked Head Club.’ You know, I had two craniotomies. For real. They literally took the top of my head off. Twice. Now, the wags in Delaware, when the second operation occurred, wrote and said, ‘Well, it’s because they couldn’t find a brain the first time!’
She and I just commiserated about the steps to recovery. Hers, much more consequential. But it scares the living devil out of you when you’re recovering from a serious operation or injury to your head. But it comes back. And knowing people who’ve been through it and came back was helpful, for me anyway. You know what I mean?
She’s remarkable. She’s remarkable. Will matters. Will matters. I tell you what, she’s the embodiment of a strong, strong woman. Think about what that woman has been through, and think about her determination.
It’s really good. Here I am hugging Gabby and Michele Bachmann. Seriously. I’m being literal. Sure! I like Michele Bachmann. For real. We’re all standing there around and Michele walks up to see Gabby because she cares about her… There is a basic humanity here, man. It matters, between people. I know that sounds corny.”…
He then recalled what he said was one of the most emotional moments he ever saw. Hubert Humphrey, the former vice president and US senator from Minnesota, was dying of cancer and made an appearance on the Senate floor. “He could hardly walk. He walked into the well. And Barry Goldwater got out of his seat, hugged him in the well, and the both embraced each other for a good three minutes, crying. These were arch, arch, arch ideological enemies. There’s a lot of humanity left here.” — Vice President Joe Biden Boston Globe, 8-1-11

  • House OKs debt; Giffords brings down the House: Crisis legislation to yank the nation past the threat of a historic financial default sped through the House Monday night, breaking weeks of deadlock. The rare moment of cooperation turned celebratory when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords strode in for the first time since she was shot in the head nearly seven months ago.
    The vote was 269-161, a scant day ahead of the deadline for action. But all eyes were on Giffords, who drew thunderous applause as she walked into the House chamber unannounced and cast her vote in favor of the bill.
    A final Senate sign-off for the measure is virtually assured on Tuesday. Aside from raising the debt limit, the bill would slice federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion, and perhaps much more.
    “If the bill were presented to the president, he would sign it,” the White House said, an understatement of enormous proportions…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • House Passes Deal to Avert Debt Crisis: After months of partisan impasse, the House on Monday approved a budget agreement intended to head off a potential government default, pushing Congress a big step closer to the conclusion of a bitter fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted. Despite the tension and uncertainty that has surrounded efforts to raise the debt ceiling, the vote of 269 to 161 was relatively strong in support of the plan, which would cut more than $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years while extending the borrowing authority of the Treasury Department. It would also create a powerful new joint Congressional committee to recommend broad changes in spending — and possibly in tax policy — to reduce the deficit.
    Scores of Democrats initially held back from voting, to force Republicans to register their positions first. Then, as the time for voting wound down, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, returned to the floor for the first time since being shot in January and voted for the bill to jubilant applause and embraces from her colleagues. It provided an unexpected, unifying ending to a fierce standoff in the House.
    The Senate, where approval is considered likely, is scheduled to vote at noon on Tuesday and then send the measure to Mr. Obama less than 12 hours before the time when the Treasury Department has said it could become unable to meet all of its financial obligations…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt-ceiling bill clears House. Now, hopes that Round 2 will be better: With the House passing a debt-ceiling bill Monday, and end of the debt crisis is in sight. But more cutting lies ahead, and both sides are hopeful they’ll get more of what they want…. – CS Monitor, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal easily clears House, final passage likely: Congress was poised to send President Obama a compromise deficit-reduction package topping $2 trillion Tuesday, just hours before the nation could run out of borrowed money to pay its bills.
    After months of bitter partisan wrangling, the House on Monday easily approved the landmark measure raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by a 269-161 vote. The Senate is expected to approve it at noon Tuesday, and Obama is prepared to sign it almost immediately, averting the prospect of an unprecedented default…..
    Republican leaders boasted that they got two-thirds of the spending cuts they sought, leading GOP House members to vote 174-66 in favor of the bill. Democrats who split 95-95 on the measure were left to highlight the cuts they averted…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal clears House on 269-161 vote; Senate passage expected Tuesday: A bipartisan bill to increase the nation’s debt limit and cut as much as $2.4 trillion in government spending passed the House of Representatives, overcoming the key hurdle on the road to averting an unprecedented federal default.
    The legislation, which passed Monday evening by a relatively comfortable 269-161 margin, came after a weekend of tense meetings, exhausted staff discussions and, in the end, a compromise worked out at the highest levels of government. If passed by the Senate on Tuesday, which is widely expected, it will end a months-long standoff between a new Republican House majority, which refused to pass an increase without a deficit reduction package, and the Democratic majority in the Senate and President Barack Obama…. – Bellingham Herald, 8-1-11
  • House passes debt ceiling agreement; Senate vote expected Tuesday: The U.S. House on Monday passed the debt-ceiling deal worked out by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, sending it to the Senate for consideration a day before the deadline for the government to face possible default.
    A Senate vote was expected Tuesday, according to multiple Senate leadership aides from each party…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • Pelosi rallies Dems to help pass debt plan: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco provided 95 Democratic votes – half of her caucus – to approve a $2 trillion-plus, 10-year debt-reduction package Monday that helped make up for a slew of defections by Tea Party-backed Republicans.
    Pelosi urged Democrats to swallow hard on the package, which did not include new taxes as they had wanted, to save the nation from a potentially calamitous cash shortfall. The final vote was 269 to 161, with 66 Republicans voting no on grounds that the spending cuts did not go deep enough.
    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords,the Arizona Democrat shot in the head by a gunman in January, made a dramatic entrance onto the House floor to cast her vote for the deal…. – San Francisco Chronicle, 8-1-11
  • House Passes Compromise Debt Bill: 7:42 p.m. | Updated The House of Representatives approved the debt ceiling bargain negotiated over the weekend by President Obama and leaders from both parties, sending the measure to the Senate. Final approval that could come Tuesday.
    Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, told his colleagues that the Senate will take up the debt bill at noon on Tuesday, just hours before the midnight deadline when the nation’s borrowing authority will run out.
    The final vote was 269 to 161, with 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats voting no. Many Democratic lawmakers joined dozens of Tea Party-backed Republicans in calling it a bad deal for the country. But the complicated legislation to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion earned the support of members from both parties to win approval.
    Senators said they planned to take up the legislation as soon as Monday evening or Tuesday, hours before a deadline that might have led to a federal default.
    The passage came in dramatic fashion as Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, made her first appearance back in the chamber since she was shot in the head by an assailant during a meet and greet in her district. Members in both parties stood up for a long and enthusiastic standing ovation for Ms. Giffords, who entered dressed in a teal shirt and with her brown hair trimmed short. She has been recuperating since the shooting and it had been unclear when she would return…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Giffords Returns, as Does Unity, Briefly: With two minutes to go and roughly 20 votes needed to pass a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit, a smattering of applause rippled from a corner of the House chamber. After a few seconds of confusion, a flash of teal jacket could be seen almost floating among a sea of Democrats.
    There she was, Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, appearing unexpectedly Monday evening to cast one of the last votes needed to send the measure over the top.
    The full chamber erupted in loud applause as Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House whip, flicked his eyes from the vote board to Ms. Giffords. It was the first time she had been in the chamber since she was critically injured in an assassination attempt in January in Tucson…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Rep. Giffords casts debt-limit vote on House floor: As minutes remained on a critical vote to raise the debt limit, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords burst onto the House floor Monday and cast a “yes” vote, the first time the Arizona Democrat had voted since a gunman shot her in the head at a political event in Tucson seven months ago.
    Lawmakers, tense after weeks of contentious negotiations, erupted into applause as Giffords entered the chamber accompanied by her close friend and colleague Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and her husband, space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly. Giffords waved and said, “Thank you” as her colleagues gave her a standing ovation.
    Giffords, who wore glasses and a teal blazer, turned to watch the tally as voting ended on the debt-ceiling compromise package….
    Vice President Biden said Pelosi told him earlier Monday that Giffords would return to the House. “That’s why I’m here,” Biden said…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Julian Zelizer on House Debt Deal Vote: Many bills that eventually take on big issues start as a modest, first step, says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University, citing the 1957 civil rights bill, which disappointed most of its supporters for not going far enough to redress the nation’s record on civil rights.
    President “Lyndon Johnson pushed back against liberals saying, ‘If I can get Southerners to vote for something, you can do more down the road,’ ” he says.
    “The debt deal is trying to give some assurance that it’s a first step and will continue,” he adds. “The legislation is vague enough about this new committee that everyone can look at it and think that the committee will later give them what they want.”… – CS Monitor, 8-1-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown August 1, 2011: Majority Leader Harry Reid on Senate Floor on Debt Ceiling Bill as a Bipartisan Compromise & Step Forward

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN:OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Reid: Bipartisan Compromise, A Step Forward

Source: Reid.Senate.gov, 8-1-11

August 1, 2011

Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor:

Mr. President, the eyes of America and the world were on Washington this week.

They witnessed some of the worst political wrangling Congress has seen in years.

But after weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that seemed too broad to cross, patriots from both parties reach a historic, bipartisan agreement that revived America’s faith in our Democracy.

Americans voted for a divided government, and it’s not always easy for two sides at odds to reach consensus. But I believe reasonable Republicans and Democrats alike understood that in this case, without compromise, our country faced disaster.

If the United States had defaulted on its debt for the first time in history, it would have put our economy and the world’s economy at great risk.

I was satisfied last night when Congressional leaders from both parties agreed on a long-term solution to avert that default, reduce the deficit by trillions of dollars and provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs.

We have sent a message to Americans from each state we represent and to citizens of every country in the world that today this great Democracy is moving forward in the name of progress.

There is still work to do. Shortly I will present to the Senate Democratic Caucus the agreement bipartisan, bicameral leaders have reached.

The agreement protects the long-term health of our economy. And it establishes a committee that will look at every option for reducing future spending – no matter how painful to either party.

The support of Democrats and Republicans from both houses of Congress will be essential to passing this accord. Neither party can do it alone in either the House or Senate.

The Irish statesman Edmund Burke said that “All government – indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act – is founded on compromise.”

Congress has a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to show the world what we can achieve when we work together.

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown August 1, 2011: House Votes First on Brokered Debt Deal — Bipartisan Opposition by Democrats & Republicans in House, Senate & Nation

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to the media after a caucus meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington August 1, 2011.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to the media after a caucus meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington August 1, 2011. (Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

 

IN FOCUS

AUGUST 1, 2011: BIPARTISAN OPPOSITION TO DEBT DEAL — HOUSE FIRST TO VOTE ON DEBT DEAL THEN THE SENATE

Budget Office says debt deal will save at least $2.1 trillion: The Congressional Budget Office confirmed Monday that the debt-reduction deal struck by the White House and congressional leaders would cut deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years, if lawmakers approve the plan later Monday.
The independent budget analysts reconfirmed that it contains up front savings of $917 billion, the same level as initially proposed in legislation offered by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) last week, and it credited President Obama and the leaders with at least $1.2 trillion in savings for the follow-on work to be done by a special committee.

“Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions. Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations. That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important.” — President Barack Obama

“I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff. The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents: a first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

We got 98 percent of what we wanted… It would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment, while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of a BBA to support it.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

Reid says debt limit vote in Senate by Tuesday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that debt limit increase legislation would be completed in the Senate by Tuesday. “This vote could happen either tonight or tomorrow,” Reid said on the Senate floor. – Reuters, 8-1-11

  • Several Steps Remain Before the Debt Ceiling Is Raised: During the next 60 hours, the legislative leaders who shook hands with each other must sell the deal to their wary members, something that could still pose a thorny political challenge.
    And then — with the Tuesday deadline for a default looming — they must turn the “framework” into legislative language and pass it through both chambers of Congress — not an easy task for institutions, especially the Senate, which are not known for moving with haste…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Pleasing Few, Debt Deal to Go to Vote: Democratic and Republican leaders in the Congress began making their final arguments on behalf of Sunday’s debt ceiling deal to skeptical members in advance of votes in both chambers that could come as early as Monday afternoon.
    With only one day left before Tuesday’s looming deadline that carries the threat of a federal default, Vice President Joseph R. Biden arrived at the Capitol for back-to-back, closed-door meetings with Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate. Republicans in the House and Senate also huddled in advance of the votes.
    The last-minute wrangling on Monday morning reflected the lack of enthusiasm for the debt deal as lawmakers, party activists and pundits expressed relief but little excitement for a compromise that appears to have left few partisans eagerly promoting the deal as the one that they wanted.
    On the Senate floor on Monday, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said, “People on the right are upset. People on the left are upset. People in the middle are upset.” But he called it a “remarkable agreement which will protect the long-term health of our economy.”
    Mr. Reid said that the Senate is likely to take a final vote on passage of the deal later today. Republican aides in the House said that voting could begin as early as 2 p.m., though neither chamber had yet told members exactly when to expect final votes on the legislation.
    Most of the leading 2012 Republican presidential candidates weighed in Monday in opposition to the debt ceiling deal, saying that it does too little to address the nation’s spending problem. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, said the deal “opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table..”… – NYT, 8-1-11
  • House vote first test of debt-ceiling bill: The first test of legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling comes in the House, which plans to vote Monday evening on the plan agreed to by party leaders Sunday.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would work to take up the plan Monday as well, though that would be a challenge given traditional delaying tactics that may be employed.
    Passage in either chamber is far from assured. Some Republicans are objecting to the possibility of steep cuts in defense spending, while others continue to oppose any debt-ceiling increase. Liberal Democrats think the so-called compromise was more like a cave-in…. – LAT, 8-1-11
  • House Debt Vote Expected Monday Afternoon: The House of Representatives could begin voting as early as 2 p.m., Eastern time, on the debt ceiling compromise announced by President Obama and Congressional leaders on Sunday night, a House leadership aide said.
    In a brief message on Twitter, Erica Elliott, the press secretary for Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, the majority whip, announced the tentative schedule.
    It was not immediately clear when the Senate might vote on Monday…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt-Limit Deal to Get Congress Vote Today: Congressional leaders, leaving no extra time before a default threatened for tomorrow, are racing to push through a compromise sealed with President Barack Obama last night to raise the U.S. debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and slash government spending by $2.4 trillion or more. The House plans votes today and the Senate may follow suit to consider the agreement reached during a weekend of negotiations that capped a months-long struggle between Obama and Republicans over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Megan Hughes reports on Bloomberg Television’s “First Look.” (Source: Bloomberg)
    Congressional leaders, leaving no extra time before a default threatened for tomorrow, are racing to push through a compromise sealed with President Barack Obama last night to raise the U.S. debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and slash government spending by $2.4 trillion or more.
    The House plans votes today and the Senate may follow suit to consider the agreement reached during a weekend of negotiations that capped a months-long struggle between Obama and Republicans over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
    Both parties were working to sell the deal to their rank and file — meeting resistance from social liberals who fault it for failing to increase taxes and from fiscal conservatives who say it’s insufficient to rein in the debt…. – Bloomberg, 8-1-11
  • House races toward Monday debt ceiling vote: The House is racing toward a Monday evening vote to raise the debt ceiling, as congressional leaders furiously round up the votes necessary to push the plan through before Tuesday’s deadline.
    Senate leaders plan to take up the bill shortly after, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says enough votes will be lined up for the bill to pass.
    House leaders are still gauging support for the measure. House Republicans will meet at 12:30 and House Democrats are caucusing with Vice President Joe Biden — who got a standing ovation when he walked into the meeting today.
    Biden laid out in candid terms what the White House had to do to get a deal.
    “Elections have consequences,” Biden told Senate Democrats, according to a senator in the room. The vice president characterized the fight as a hostage situation, saying Republicans have a “gun to their heads,” the source said…. – Politico, 8-1-11
  • Debt-ceiling compromise: Now, it’s time to find the votes: Vice President Joe Biden will meet Monday with the Senate and House Democratic caucuses while Republican leaders also huddle to gauge support for the debt-ceiling plan negotiators agreed to Sunday.
    The legislative path for the bill was still somewhat unclear as individual members study the details. No votes had been scheduled yet in either the House or Senate on Monday, but could be added once party leadership takes the temperature of their respective caucuses. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told members Sunday night that the bill would move quickly to the floor, perhaps as early as Monday afternoon…. – LAT, 8-1-11
  • House to vote before Senate on raising debt ceiling: The House of Representatives will vote before the Senate on the bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling, according to two House GOP leadership sources…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • House vote could be squeaker: A Democratic official involved in the effort to secure the votes in the House and Senate for the debt deal says there is more concern about the vote tally in the House than the Senate, where it looks like it will get the 60 votes needed without much drama.
    In the House, Democrats who favor the deal are concerned about a very close vote – maybe a squeaker.
    Vice President Joe Biden will meet with the House Democratic caucus at noon to answer questions, soothe concerns, and help shore up reluctant Democrats.
    Even though Biden is coming over to meet with Democrats and has planned to come out to the media stakeout afterwards, it’s unclear from Democratic aides at this point how many of the Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will stand with Biden and say they will support the bill…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • The debt ceiling battle at a glance:

    A compromise agreement to raise the nation’s borrowing limit has been reached The House and Senate are expected to vote today The House Speaker says the agreement does not violate Republican principles Some Senate Democrats are grumbling, an aide says, but the chamber is expected to approve the deal

    President Obama and congressional leaders have agreed to a plan that would lift the nation’s credit limit and avoid an unprecedented default on its debt, which could have widespread economic ramifications ranging from higher interest rates to a predicted stock market crash. Congress still must approve the deal by Tuesday. Here’s the situation at a glance… – CNN, 8-1-11

  • Debt Deal: Some Read It and Weep, Others Swallow Hard and Nod: Liberals and conservatives woke up on Monday morning and began assessing the last-minute debt ceiling deal reached by leaders in Washington over the weekend.
    Many liberals are grousing about President Obama’s willingness to abandon some of the things he had demanded. Some conservatives are griping that the deal doesn’t do enough to cut spending. And some members of both parties are declaring the deal good enough, if not exactly great…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • McCain says he’ll ‘swallow hard’ and support deal: Sen. John McCain says he’ll vote for compromise legislation averting a government default, although “I will probably have to swallow hard.”
    The Arizona Republican who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election says he’s concerned about the impact of the deficit-reduction deal on defense spending.
    But McCain also tells CBS’s “The Early Show” that officials in Washington realized “we were not going to let the government shut down.”… – AP, 8-1-11
  • Sen. Marco Rubio will vote against debt ceiling deal: The South Florida Congressional delegation says it will likely approve the tentative deal struck Sunday night to raise the debt ceiling but Sen. Marco Rubio is a holdout…. – Miami Herald, 8-1-11
  • GOP presidential hopefuls unhappy with debt-ceiling deal: Some of the Republicans who want to kick President Obama out of office next year are sounding off today with their opposition to a deal the White House reached with congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Romney opposes debt deal: Mitt Romney said Monday he opposes the compromise to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, becoming the second Republican presidential contender to oppose a deal backed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders in both parties.
    The plan, which supporters say is needed to avert a looming fiscal crisis, opens the door to tax increases and defense cuts, the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement.
    “President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute,” Romney said. “While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.”
    The statement represents the most substantive comment to date from Romney, the early frontrunner in the Republican presidential field, who has largely avoided weighing in on daily developments in the high-stakes debate. The issue, as the nation’s economy in general, is likely to dominate the 2012 contest…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Debt and budget bill saves more than $2T: A new study says the debt and budget bill backed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders would save taxpayers at least $2.1 trillion over the coming decade.
    The Congressional Budget Office analysis says the initial down payment of spending cuts — tight “caps” on the operating budgets of Cabinet agencies like the departments of Defense and Education — would produce more than $900 billion in savings over 10 years…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Congressional Leaders to Pitch Debt-Reduction Compromise to Caucuses: Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress will meet with their caucuses Monday for a hard sell of a compromise debt-reduction package that gives President Obama up to a $2.5 trillion hike in the debt limit as long as lawmakers can find an equal or greater amount in spending cuts.
    But even if they can’t come up with solutions, the cuts will be found for them.
    Obama announced Sunday night that leaders of both parties in both chambers reached an agreement on a debt-reduction deal that will “lift the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy” and prevent the nation from potentially defaulting on the U.S.’s financial obligations…. – Fox News, 8-1-11
  • Congress moving quickly on debt and spending deal: Congress is moving quickly on an agreement to avert a potentially devastating default on U.S. obligations, with legislation that mixes a record increase in the government’s borrowing cap with the promise of more than $2 trillion in spending cuts.
    After a tense weekend of bargaining, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced the agreement Sunday night, providing an instant boost to Asian financial markets and a huge dose of relief to an administration and Congress frazzled by months of partisan warfare and the chance that a default could send the still-fragile economy into recession.
    The Senate seems likely to vote first on the measure while House GOP leaders work to assemble support for it. Democratic votes are certain to be needed to pass the measure in the Republican-dominated House, just as Republicans will be needed to clear the measure through the Democratic Senate. Liberal Democrats were already carping that Obama had given away too much to GOP leaders…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Obama announces budget deal: President Barack Obama, addressing the nation Sunday, announced a bipartisan, bicameral deal to end a dangerous impasse over raising the debt ceiling, marking the start of a process to avert a catastrophic national default on Tuesday.
    A somber Obama — decrying a process that has been “messy” and has “taken far too long” — made his announcement moments before House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took the two-part package of $2.5 trillion in cuts to a skeptical GOP conference. The agreement came after a day of frenzied negotiations over “triggers” that will be used to determine the make-up of the final $1.5 trillion in cuts.
    “We’re not done yet,” Obama told a smattering of reporters gathered in the White House briefing room. “Despite what some Republicans have argued I believe we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share … and despite what some in my own party have argued I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to assure that they’re still around for future generations,” he said, acknowledging the opposition of tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats…. – Politico, 8-1-11
  • Analysis: Bipartisan debt-limit deal means bipartisan opposition for Obama, Boehner: The newly struck debt-ceiling compromise between President Barack Obama and the Republican leaders of Congress represents a historic accomplishment of divided government, with all the disappointment that implies for the most ardent partisans inside the two major parties and out.
    But it marks an accomplishment nonetheless between a Democratic president elected in 2008 and the Republicans who, Obama memorably said, handed his party a “shellacking” at the polls two years later.
    The tea party conservatives won’t like it, regretting it doesn’t cut spending by more. “Someone has to say no, I will,” Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in a statement emailed from Iowa Sunday night, where she was courting Republicans for her 2012 presidential bid.
    Neither will the liberal Democrats, unhappy that it cuts at all. “This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
    Which means that Obama and his principal Republican antagonist, Speaker John Boehner, will share responsibility for passing it in the House…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • US debt limit really doesn’t limit debt: The federal debt limit is a triumph of false advertising. It doesn’t really limit the national debt. Whenever the false ceiling has been reached, it has been raised — forcing unpopular votes in Congress, but not the really hard ones it would take to cut spending, raise revenues and balance budgets.
    Ranting about the debt is easier than taming it. So the same political theatrics are played over and over again. The debt limit has been raised 78 times since 1960. The current hassle over No. 79 is more contentious and divisive than the previous rounds because of hardened lines in Congress, not only between Democrats and Republicans but within their rosters, especially on the GOP side where about 80 freshmen sent by tea party voters consider compromise a crime.
    The hypocrisy of the whole process was summed up by an expert witness, Barack Obama, now the president championing a debt limit increase, when he tried to explain his own vote as junior senator from Illinois to oppose the raise then-President George W. Bush sought…. – AP, 8-1-11

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown July 25-31, 2011: Finally, a Deal! After Week of Partisan Votes in Congress — President Obama, White House, Republican & Democratic Leaders Agree to Debt Deal — Still Needs to Pass House & Senate Votes

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS: JULY 25-AUGUST 1, 2011

John Boehner (left), Mitch McConnell (center), and Harry Reid are shown in a composite. | AP Photos

IN FOCUS:

Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline — White House, 7-31-11

Timeline of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations — NYT, 7-31-11

SNAPSHOT-U.S. lawmakers close to deal on debt: Here is what is happening on Sunday as lawmakers and the White House race to broker a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion borrowing cap by Tuesday’s deadline and avoid default on obligations…. – Reuters, 7-31-11

FACTBOX-Key elements of possible U.S. debt deal: U.S. lawmakers were working furiously on Sunday to hammer out details of a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and put in place a deficit-reduction plan to help avert a potentially catastrophic debt default.
Lawmakers, administration officials and aides have made clear that they have yet to agree on the final deal. But they did provide the following details of how the deal is taking shape…. – Reuters, 7-31-11

FACTBOX-What’s ahead in the U.S. debt limit fight — Reuters, 7-30-11

How Different Types of Republicans Voted on the Revised Debt Plan: Analysis of how different Republican blocs voted on the revised debt plan… – NYT

Interactive Graphic: House Roll Call: Boehner’s Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase — NYT

Interactive Graphic: Comparing Deficit-Reduction Plans — NYT

Timeline: How U.S. debt talks spiraled into crisis: The United States drifted closer to a credit rating downgrade and default on Wednesday as President Barack Obama’s Democrats and their Republican rivals worked on competing plans to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling. Following is a timeline of the U.S. debt debate… – Reuters, 7-30-11

Factbox: Details of competing debt limit plans: House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid are pushing rival plans to raise the government’s borrowing limit before an August 2 deadline. Reid could modify his plan to attract Republican support once Boehner’s bill fails in the Senate. Here are details of the two plans… – Reuters, 7-28-11

Factbox: House factions influence debt/deficit vote: On any major piece of legislation that moves through Congress, various factions within the House of Representatives and Senate can influence chances of success or failure.
That has been especially true in the debate over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2 in order to avoid a U.S. government default. Here is a rundown of the various factions — many overlap — and how they shaped the debate and how they might influence the final vote:

TEA PARTY HOUSE CAUCUS…
HOUSE REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE…
THE TUESDAY GROUP…
BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS…
THE CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS…
REPUBLICAN SENATOR JIM DEMINT…

- Reuters, 7-28-11

Debt ceiling Q&A: How did we get here, what happens next? LAT, 7-28-11

Debt ceiling poll: Voters with Obama: Most Americans would like to see a mix of spending cuts and tax increases be part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, a new poll finds, aligning the majority with President Barack Obama’s position. Of those surveyed for a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday, 56 percent said they want to see a mix of approaches used in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The poll was conducted overnight Monday, as Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced their views on the impasse in negotiations in back-to-back televised primetime speeches.
Just 19 percent of Americans said they favor a plan like Boehner’s, which would rely solely on spending cuts to existing programs to reduce the deficit. Twelve percent said they would prefer a plan to reduce the deficit only by raising taxes.
Americans’ blame for the impasse is spread all around, though is particularly strong against congressional Republicans, with 31 percent of those surveyed saying they are responsible for it. Twenty-one percent blamed Obama and nine percent blamed congressional Democrats…. – Politico 7-26-11

New polls confirm Obama’s Democratic base crumbles: …”More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base,” the Post reports.
Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama’s jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president’s measures helped the economy have plunged from 77% to barely half.
Obama’s overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one. – LAT, 7-26-11

INFOGRAPHIC: Where does our national debt come from?: One of the fundamental things to understand when considering the debate about reducing our national debt is how we accumulated so much in the first place.
To explain the impact various policies have had over the past decade, shifting us from projected surpluses to actual deficits and, as a result, running up the national debt, the White House has developed a graphic for you to review and share. – WH, 7-26-11

Debt Ceiling for Dummies: Why Compromise Is so Necessary Huff Post, 7-24-11

JULY 31, 2011: PRESIDENT OBAMA & REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS REACH DEBT DEAL

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press

White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/31/11

Obama: Agreement has been reached on raising debt limit: In an evening news conference, President Obama says the debt ceiling deal is not the one he would have preferred, but it will “allow us to avoid default and end the crisis Washington imposed on the rest of America.”

Reid declares debt deal is finished: Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid said Sunday evening that all congressional leaders had agreed to a compromise plan to lift the debt ceiling. “We’re moving forward together,” Reid said. Immediately afterward, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared “there is now a framework” for a deal.

Timeline of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations — NYT

“Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could’ve made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now, rather than through a special Congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year.” — President Barack Obama

“My message to the world tonight is that this nation and this Congress are moving forward and we are moving forward together….
“Sometimes it seems, our two sides disagree on almost everything. But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said from the floor of the Senate.

“I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“This is an important moment for our country…. I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending. And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“I’m going to tell you, this has been a long battle -– we’ve fought valiantly -– and frankly we’ve done it by listening to the American people. And as a result, our framework is now on the table that will end this crisis in a manner that meets our principles of smaller government.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

  • President Obama Announces Debt Deal: Rundown of the Debt Debate 9:25 p.m. ET | President Obama announced Sunday evening that he had reached an agreement with party leaders in Congress that will cut the deficit, raise the debt ceiling and create a bipartisan, bicameral committee of members of Congress to identify further deficit cuts.
    The deal will cut $1 trillion from the deficit over ten years and allow President Obama to raise the debt ceiling in a series of steps that Congress could then vote against, but they would need a likely unattainable two-thirds majority in both chambers to reject the debt limit increase.
    The deficit reduction committee must identify a way to cut at least an additional $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years and then send that proposal to Congress by the end of the year. If it does not pass, there will be a series of automatic cuts in Medicare and defense and non-defense domestic spending. This measure is meant to force the committee to reach a workable agreement.
    “Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could’ve made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now, rather than through a special Congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year,” President Obama said. “Most importantly it would allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis in six months, or eight months or 12 months.”
    President Obama urged members of Congress to support the deal, but that support is not guaranteed. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, held a conference call Sunday evening to sell the deal to House Republicans. He used this slide show to make his case.
    The Senate will also have to vote to pass the plan, but the math is more uncertain in the House, where Democratic votes will be needed to pass a bill that some conservative Republicans will likely reject. The deal must be passed in both chambers before 12 a.m. Wednesday in order to avoid a default on the debt and an overnight reduction of 40 percent of government spending…. – PBS Newshour, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Congress reach a debt deal: Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama announced agreement Sunday night with Republican congressional leaders on a compromise to avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.
    Default “would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial markets around the world. He thanked the leaders of both parties.
    House Speaker John Boehner telephoned Obama at mid-evening to say the agreement had been struck, officials said.
    No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday at the earliest, to give rank-and-file lawmakers time to review the package. But leaders in both parties were already beginning the work of rounding up votes…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • It’s a deal: Obama, Congress will avert default: Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced historic agreement Sunday night on emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.
    The dramatic resolution lifted a cloud that had threatened the still-fragile economic recovery at home – and it instantly powered a rise in financial markets overseas.
    The agreement would slice at least $2.4 trillion from federal spending over a decade, a steep price for many Democrats, too little for many Republicans. The Treasury’s authority to borrow would be extended beyond the 2012 elections, a key objective for Obama, though the president had to give up his insistence on raising taxes on wealthy Americans to reduce deficits… – AP, 7-31-11
  • Obama announces deal reached to end debt crisis: President Barack Obama announced on Sunday that Democrats and Republicans leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default. Obama said the agreement will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Obama announces debt deal to end U.S. debt crisis: President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Democrat and Republican leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default, but it was not clear if the spending cuts were deep enough to stave off a credit rating downgrade.
    Obama said the agreement will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years and cuts would not happen so quickly that they would drag on the fragile U.S. economy. Another $1.2 trillion would be cut if a joint committee fails to find at least that much in budget savings.
    The deal would still have to be passed in the House and the Senate.
    U.S. S&P 500 stock futures bounced 1.4 percent and U.S. Treasuries futures slid on news of the deal. Gold and then yen also fell.
    Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating agencies indicated earlier that deficit-cutting measures of around $4 trillion would be enough for the U.S. to avoid losing its prized AAA rating…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Leaders Report Accord on Debt Limit Increase: 9:05 p.m. | Updated Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress announced Sunday night that they have reached a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avert a default.
    President Obama spoke moments later at the White House, telling reporters that “the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid a default.”
    “My message to the world tonight is that this nation and this Congress are moving forward and we are moving forward together,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said from the floor of the Senate.
    Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader said “there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington’s spending.”
    The announcement came even as House Speaker John A. Boehner was holding conference call with Republican House members.
    In the Senate, Mr. Reid called the deal a “historic bipartisan compromise” and said it is “remarkable” for what it does and for what it prevents: a “first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States.”
    “Sometimes it seems, our two sides disagree on almost everything,” he said. “But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt.”
    “This is an important moment for our country,” Mr. McConnell said, adding later that “I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending. And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations.”… – NYT, 7-31-11
  • White House, congressional leaders reach debt deal: Two days before the deadline for a possible U.S. government default, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached agreement Sunday on a legislative package that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps.
    The proposed $3 trillion deal, which still requires congressional approval, brought some immediate relief to global markets closely watching the situation play out and a nation filled with anger and frustration over partisan political wrangling that threatened further economic harm to an already struggling recovery…. – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Leaders agree on framework of a deal to end the debt crisis: President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties said late Sunday that they had agreed to a framework for a budget deal that would cut trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade and clear the way for an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.
    With the health of the fragile economy hanging in the balance and financial markets watching closely, the leaders said they would present the compromise to their caucuses Monday morning in hopes of narrowly averting a default before a Tuesday deadline.
    Obama spoke from the White House on Sunday night, telling reporters that “the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid a default.”
    Just before Obama spoke on TV, the two Senate leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, took the floor to endorse the pact as well.
    “I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff,” said Reid, the majority leader.
    The agreement came after a day of wrangling over Pentagon cuts and must still be sold to the Senate and the House, with the House providing a particular challenge.
    As conversations flowed between the White House and Capitol Hill, Reid, the majority leader, publicly embraced the compromise that would tie deep spending cuts to a debt increase, though
    his plans to bring it to a vote as early as Sunday were put off as was a tentative meeting of Senate Democrats to review it…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Congress Reach Debt Deal: President Barack Obama on Sunday said that leaders of both parties have reached an agreement to lift the U.S. debt ceiling, reduce the federal deficit and avoid a U.S. credit default, an announcement welcomed in early trading on the Asia financial markets.
    Both the U.S. House and Senate were expected to meet Monday to discuss the details of the plan, which calls for increasing the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion through the end of 2012 along with $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction.
    “It will allow us to avoid default,” said Mr. Obama, who spoke at the White House … WSJ, 7-31-11
  • Parties agree to debt-ceiling deal, pending votes in Congress: Senate Majority Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Sunday night that they had come to an agreement on a deal that would raise the federal debt limit and reduce the deficit.
    In back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor, Reid (D-Nev.) called the compact an “historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff,” while McConnell (R-Ky.) said there was now a framework in place to “ensure significant cuts in Washington spending.”
    “Sometimes it seems our two sides disagree on almost everything. But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt, risking a United States financial collapse and a worldwide depression,” Reid said.
    Speaking from the White House, President Obama acknowledged that the “messy” fight over the nation’s debt and deficits has “taken far too long,” but he thanked leaders for finding “their way toward compromise” and urged Americans to continue putting pressure on lawmakers until the deal is voted out of Congress.
    The agreement “will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy,” Obama said.
    As the Senate leaders announced the accord, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) addressed his members on a conference call – briefing them on the outline of the plan.
    “There’s no agreement until we’ve talked to you,” Boehner told the members, according to excerpts of the conversation released by his office.
    All sides planned to meet Monday morning to go over details…. – LAT, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Boehner Announce Agreement to Raise Debt Ceiling, Avoid Default: It took the threat of economic collapse and a long, contentious negotiation — and there will still be votes in Congress before it’s truly done — but lawmakers from both parties and the White House have reached a deal to raise the nation’s credit limit — the debt ceiling — by $2.4 trillion, likely through 2012.
    President Obama made a hastily arranged address from the White House at 8:40 p.m. at the same time House Speaker John Boehner was pitching the deal to House Republicans on a conference call.
    “This will allow us to avoid default, allow us to pay our bills,” the president said.
    On the senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared alongside Majority Leader Harry Reid and seemed confident that the deal would gain enough support to pass through Congress.
    “We can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations,” he said.
    Boehner told House Republicans, according to an account released by his office, that the framework he and the president have agreed upon is true to the principles of small government because it relies entirely on spending cuts, although it includes promises of entitlement and tax reform in the future…. – ABC News, 7-31-11
  • Obama Says Congressional Leaders Approve Debt-Limit Increase: President Barack Obama said tonight that leaders of both parties in the U.S. House and Senate had approved an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and cut the federal deficit that must now be sold to Congress.
    “The leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default,” Obama said at the White House. “This compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit-reduction we need. Most importantly it will allow us to avoid default.”
    Congressional leaders are sifting through the details of the tentative bipartisan agreement to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion, sufficient to serve the nation’s needs into 2013. They are preparing to sell to members the deal to cut $917 billion in spending over a decade, raising the debt limit initially by $900 billion, and to charge a special committee with finding another $1.5 trillion in deficit savings by the year’s end. They confront an Aug. 2 deadline for approval…. – Bloomberg, 7-31-11
  • Obama Announces Debt-Reduction Deal Approved by Senate, House Leaders: President Obama announced Sunday night that leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement on a debt-reduction deal that will “lift the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.”
    According to the president, the deal means an immediate cut of $1 trillion over a 10-year period, followed by the creation of a committee to come up with additional cuts worth $1.5 trillion to be voted on by the end of the year.
    Each chamber will nominate lawmakers to the committee to report back in the fall. Tax hikes are not part of the package and a pledge for a Balanced Budget Amendment vote is.
    Obama said everything will be on the table and both parties will find some of the cuts objectionable.
    The Senate adjourned Sunday night without a vote on a debt reduction deal, but Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that the parties are going to have to give ground and compromise so the country doesn’t default.
    “I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff. The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents: a first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States,” Reid said.
    Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will both present the agreement to their caucuses on Monday morning. Several objections are expected, including from Republican defense hawks who don’t want the military gutted and from the Congressional Black Caucus, which called the deal a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich.”
    House Speaker John Boehner told his Republican caucus on a Sunday night conference call that the deal isn’t done yet.
    “The press has been filled with reports all day about an agreement. There’s no agreement until we’ve talked to you,” he said.
    But Boehner of Ohio said the deal does not violate GOP principles. “We got 98 percent of what we wanted,” he said adding gthat the framework cuts more spending than it raises the debt limit. It also caps future spending to limits in the growth of government.
    “It would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment, while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of a BBA to support it,” Boehner said…. – Fox News, 7-31-11
  • Debt deal: Obama, Hill leaders break through: Facing the imminent prospect of default, the White House and congressional leaders reached a debt ceiling deal that gives President Barack Obama greater certainty in managing the Treasury’s borrowing needs while making a joint commitment to major deficit reduction without any explicit concessions by the GOP on new tax revenues.
    Obama announced the deal at 8:40 p.m. on live TV in the White House briefing room as Speaker John Boehner was simultaneously briefing his own Republican conference on the deal.
    “Is this the deal I would have preferred?” No,” Obama said. “We could have made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now rather than through a special congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need … and ensures also that will we not face this same kind of crisis in six months or eight months or twelve months.”
    “Both parties gave more than they wanted,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in making the announcement on the Senate floor. “But that’s the essence of compromise.”
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a central player together with Vice President Joe Biden in the final talks, had been confident all of Sunday that a resolution was possible. But Boehner’s silence had remained a concern for the administration, having twice seen the Ohio Republican walk away from negotiations with the president.
    It was not until the evening that Boehner announced an 8:30 p.m. conference call with his members, and even then his staff said there had no agreement yet on a stubborn dispute over 2012 defense funding. But that issue was resolved finally when it appears the administration agreed to use a broader definition of security spending that also includes funding for Homeland Security, the State Department and foreign aid…. – Politico, 7-31-11
  • President Obama: Deal reached on debt crisis: President Barack Obama announced that an agreement with Republicans has been struck to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years.
    Mr. Obama said the deal will result in the lowest level of domestic spending since the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s, but still allow the U.S. to create jobs.
    Still clinging to his idea of a balanced approach, Obama said “we have to ask wealthiest Americans to give up tax breaks,” as well as make modest adjustments to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
    The second part of the agreement reached was a previously mentioned bipartisan Congressional committee, which will report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit. Their proposals will then be put in front of congress for up or down vote…. – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • Obama: Deal raises debt ceiling and reduces deficits: President Barack Obama announced Sunday an agreement with congressional leaders would extend the federal debt ceiling and reduce deficits.
    He said that, under the debt agreement reached by congressional leaders from both parties, which must still must be approved by lawmakers, a bipartisan commission would report back by November with suggested cuts and potentially revenue increases to address the nation’s budget deficit.
    “At this stage, everything will be on the table,” Obama said of this second round of cuts, which are in addition to an agreed-upon $1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.
    Obama said the debt reduction plan that’s been backed by congressional leaders – but that still must be approved by the House and Senate – “ensures that we will not face this kind of crisis in six months, in eight months, or in 12 months.”… – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Harry Reid Supports Debt Ceiling Compromise; Defense Cuts a Sticking Point: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman says the majority leader has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement “pending caucus approval,” but there’s nothing yet from Republicans.
    So, what’s the delay? There’s one last bone of contention.
    Republicans are objecting to the amount of defense spending cuts in the first year of the deal. This has nothing to do with the trigger — if further spending cuts are not enacted by Congress next year, the deal would mandate they occur. This disagreement has to do with how much of next year’s cuts will apply to defense.
    Reid is trying to put pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to give in on this last point by saying that everybody is now on board –- except for the Speaker…. – ABC News, 7-31-11

JULY 31, 2011: HARRY REID BACKS DEBT DEAL, SENATE VOTE SUNDAY EVENING

“Senator Reid has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval.” — Harry Reid Spokesman Adam Jentleson

“I’ve had, for the information of senators, a number of conversations in the last hour with people downtown – and the arrangement that is being worked on with the Republican leader and the administration and others is not there yet…. We’re hopeful and confident it can be done. As soon as it is done, I’ll let my caucus know.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Reid says hopes to hold Senate debt vote tonight: Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday he hopes to hold a Senate vote tonight on an emerging deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
Asked if the Senate would vote tonight on the plan, Reid said “we hope to” as he left a meeting with other congressional Democratic leaders… – Reuters, 7-31-11

  • Reid says he has signed onto a debt ceiling deal: The Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday that he has signed onto a debt ceiling deal with President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, pending approval of his caucus.
    The statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was the first confirmation of a pending deal after legislative leaders dropped hints all day that an agreement was close… – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Reid Backs Debt Deal and Hopes for Sunday Night Debt Vote: 5:29 p.m. | Updated A spokesman for Senator Harry Reid said the Senate majority leader has “signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval.”
    Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, also raised the possibility that his chamber might vote as early as Sunday night on a yet-to-be-announced debt ceiling compromise designed to avert a potential economic crisis this week. When he emerged from a two-hour meeting with other Democratic lawmakers and was asked whether the Senate would vote on a deal Sunday.
    “I hope so,” he told a swarm of reporters.
    A Sunday vote seemed unlikely just a few hours earlier as top lawmakers and the White House continued to work behind closed doors to finalize a debt agreement that would cut spending by more than $2.5 trillion and raise the debt ceiling into 2013…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Amid New Talks, Some Optimism on Debt Crisis: New budget talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama made progress late Saturday, suddenly stirring optimism that a last-minute deal could be reached to avert a potential federal default that threatened significant economic and political consequences.
    After a tense day of Congressional floor fights and angry exchanges, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, called off a planned showdown vote set for after midnight, but said he would convene the Senate at noon on Sunday for a vote an hour later. He said he wanted to give the new negotiations a chance to produce a plan to raise the federal debt limit in exchange for spending cuts and the creation of a new Congressional committee that would try to assemble a long-range deficit-cutting proposal.
    “There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed,” said Mr. Reid, who just a few hours earlier had played down talk of any agreement. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    Mr. Reid’s announcement set off an almost audible sigh of relief on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and their aides had been bracing for an overnight clash over the debt following a day that had seen a heated House vote and lawmakers trudging from office to office in search of an answer to the impasse…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • White House, GOP race toward debt compromise: Just two days before the federal government’s Aug. 2 deadline to avoid economic default, lawmakers and White House negotiators are scrambling to hammer out an agreement for raising the debt ceiling – but despite talk of an impending deal, leading Democrats say they’re “not there yet.”
    Just minutes after Senate Republicans voted to block Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democratic bill to raise the nation’s borrowing limit on Sunday, lawmakers turned their focus to ongoing negotiations between President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who are working on a deal that would extend the debt limit through 2012 and cut up to $3 trillion in spending during the next 10 years.
    That deal proposes $3 trillion in cuts that would come in two waves. The first wave would include $1 trillion in reductions. A bipartisan “super congressional committee” would then need to determine the second round of cuts by Thanksgiving of 2011. If Congress failed to agree on that second round of cuts, automatic “trigger” cuts would be made.
    McConnell said Sunday afternoon that negotiators were “really, really close to an agreement,” but leading Democrats maintain that the deal is “not there yet.”… – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • ‘Really close’ to debt deal as deadline nears: Racing to avoid a government default, President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached urgently for a compromise Sunday to permit vital borrowing by the Treasury in exchange for more than $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the two sides were “really, really close” to a deal after months of partisan fighting. Yet he and others stressed that no compromise had been sealed, just two days before a deadline to raise the federal debt limit and enable the government to keep paying its bills.
    As contemplated under a deal that McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden were negotiating, the federal debt limit would rise in two stages by at least $2.2 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • Political left and right decry debt-ceiling deal: Signs are emerging that a possible compromise to raise the debt ceiling doesn’t pass muster with those on the political left or right…. – USA Today, 7-31-11

JULY 31, 2011: DEBT TALKS CONTINUE — DEBT DEAL BETWEEN REPUBLICAN LEADERS & WHITE HOUSE CLOSE AT HAND — SENATE REPUBLICAN’S DEFEAT HARRY REID’S DEBT BILL

Harry Reid’s debt deal defeated: As expected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s deal to raise the debt ceiling by $2.2 trillion was defeated in the Senate on Sunday afternoon.
But Senate leaders and the White House continued on Sunday to craft the outlines of a deal to avoid default on Aug. 2 that seemed to be gaining momentum.

Senate Blocks Reid’s Debt Ceiling Bill: As last-ditch budget talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama continued on Sunday, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, convened the Senate at noon, then moved to a symbolic procedural vote on his own proposal for raising the debt ceiling. Senate Republicans have been filibustering that plan, which House Republicans rejected on Saturday, and the procedural vote on breaking the filibuster fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules…. – NYT, 7-31-11

“I believe there will be a strong bipartisan support for this. Again, this deal has not been finalized yet, but I think we’re very, very close to something that I could comfortably recommend to my members, and I believe the Democratic leadership will be doing the same…. I’m sure there will be both Democrats and Republicans who in the end find the agreement wanting in one way or another…. My party controls only a portion of government. There’s only so much you can achieve when you don’t have the leverage of power.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning

“There are still elements to be resolved…. We are cautiously optimistic.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“The enforcement mechanism has to be strong enough to compel both parties. We’re talking about a variety of options.” — White House political adviser David Plouffe, on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We haven’t even seen it yet. (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid and Democrats in the Senate have not signed off on this deal. We don’t even know what all the details are. So we’re not yet ready to try and urge anybody to be for it…. The key with the trigger is one word: Equality. It should be equally tough on Democrats and Republicans.” — Senator Chuck Schumer

“Discussions are underway on legislation that will cut government spending more than it increases the debt limit, and advance the cause of the balanced budget amendment, without job-killing tax hikes. Those talks are moving in the right direction, but serious issues remain. And no agreement will be final until members have a chance to weigh in. I would expect a conference call for members later this afternoon.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner email to House Republicans

“Discussions are moving in the right direction, but serious issues remain. And no agreement will be final until members have a chance to weigh in.” — A House Republican leadership aide

  • SNAPSHOT-U.S. lawmakers close to deal on debt: Here is what is happening on Sunday as lawmakers and the White House race to broker a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion borrowing cap by Tuesday’s deadline and avoid default on obligations…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • FACTBOX-Key elements of possible U.S. debt deal: U.S. lawmakers were working furiously on Sunday to hammer out details of a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and put in place a deficit-reduction plan to help avert a potentially catastrophic debt default.
    Lawmakers, administration officials and aides have made clear that they have yet to agree on the final deal. But they did provide the following details of how the deal is taking shape…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Reid: ‘cautiously optimistic’ on US debt deal: U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said on Sunday he was “cautiously optimistic” that Congress can reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling, but several issues still must be settled.
    “We are cautiously optimistic. There are a number of issues that need to be resolved,” Reid said in remarks on the Senate floor…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Reid: ‘We still have a ways to go’: Reporters caught Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid walking from his office to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office on the House side. His message: There’s not a deal yet, but getting one before the Aug. 2 deadline is in sight.
    “We don’t have the content of what the trigger would be,” he said. “We have a few things we’re still working on and there simply not done yet.”
    When asked if he’s closer to a deal, Reid replied, “Well, closer than yesterday, but we still have a ways to go.”… – MSNBC, 7-31-11
  • Senators Hold Out Hope for Debt Measure Compromise: For once in the long debate on lifting the nation’s debt ceiling, Democrats and Republicans are talking about progress finding a compromise. The Senate is expected to vote on a measure Sunday that would lift the ceiling while calling for $3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years…. – Portfolio, 7-31-11
  • McConnell: Boehner, Obama ‘wasted’ a week: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took a little swipe Sunday at House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama, charging they both “wasted” a week by chucking bombs at each other. “We kind of wasted a week throwing volleys at each other across the Capitol,” McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.” The deal, he says, was essentially at hand a week ago… – Politico, 7-31-11
  • ‘Really close’ to debt deal as deadline nears: Racing to avoid a government default, President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached urgently for a compromise Sunday to permit vital borrowing by the Treasury in exchange for more than $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the two sides were “really, really close” to a deal after months of partisan fighting. Yet he and others stressed that no compromise had been sealed, just two days before a deadline to raise the federal debt limit and enable the government to keep paying its bills.
    As contemplated under a deal that McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden were negotiating, the federal debt limit would rise in two stages by at least $2.2 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • Senate Blocks Reid’s Debt Ceiling Plan; Talks Continue: Last-ditch budget talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama continued on Sunday, as the top Senate Republican and Democrat both expressed optimism that a $3 trillion deal could be reached to avert the economic and political calamity of a potential federal default.
    But without a compromise in hand, the divided Senate could not break a filibuster and went wearily into recess while the leaders resumed their search for something that could pass.
    Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, had convened the Senate at noon, then moved to a procedural vote on his own proposal for raising the debt ceiling. Senate Republicans had been filibustering that plan, which House Republicans rejected on Saturday, and the vote on breaking the filibuster fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules. Even so, Mr. Reid said before the cloture vote that he was “cautiously optimistic” that an agreement could be reached today that would make it possible for the Senate to amend his bill and gain bipartisan approval in both chambers…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Senate Defeats Reid Plan; Leaders Work to Finalize Deal Today: After the Senate voted this afternoon to defeat Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to increase the debt limit, Congressional leaders and staff are continuing to work out the final details of a bipartisan agreement to raise the debt ceiling that can pass through Congress before a lurking financial crisis is fully upon the country.
    The Senate voted largely down party lines to block legislation proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that would raise the debt limit by $2.4 trillion and cut spending by $2.4 trillion. The House voted Saturday afternoon to defeat legislation crafted after the Reid bill’s language.
    The cloture vote to end a GOP filibuster failed 50-49 and required 60 votes to pass. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts was the only Senate Republican to vote with the Democrats…. – ABC News, 7-31-11
  • Senate Negotiators Scramble to Finalize Debt Deal After Reid Bill Tanks: Senate leaders scrambled to finalize an emerging compromise on the debt ceiling Sunday, with pressure building to produce a bill that can somehow sail through both chambers in the next two days.
    Congress is running out of time for do-overs, with lawmakers facing an Aug. 2 deadline to either raise the debt cap or face the possibility of default.
    The Senate, after voting against House Republicans’ proposal Friday night, effectively killed Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s counterproposal Sunday afternoon. Sixty votes were required to advance the proposal, and it fell far short in a 50-49 roll call. While the test vote was expected to fail, the outcome stressed how important it is for the latest round of talks to produce a viable alternative.
    Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said talks are proceeding at a furious pace, with Vice President Biden deeply involved…. – Fox News, 7-31-11
  • Senate conservatives say they don’t plan to delay consideration of debt-limit deal: Senate Republican conservatives say they do not plan to delay a bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling, giving Congress a chance to make the Aug. 2 deadline set by President Obama.
    If any member of the Senate withholds his or her consent to speed up the chamber’s floor procedures, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could not pass legislation to raise the debt limit before Wednesday, according to a Senate aide.
    But conservatives, including members of the Tea Party Caucus, say they do not plan to blow up the floor proceedings in protest of a deal that does not include passage of a balanced budget amendment… – The Hill, 7-31-11
  • Griping begins as debt deal specifics emerge: Members of Congress from both parties fear their leaders may have conceded too much ground in an emerging deal to raise the debt ceiling, a sign of how difficult it’ll be for a sweeping plan to be signed into law before the government begins to default on its debt later this week…. – Politico, 7-31-11
  • Outcry From the Left Precedes Debt Deal: Liberals began tearing into President Obama and Democrats on Sunday, accusing them of caving to Republican demands even before final details of a debt ceiling agreement have been announced…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Senate shelves Reid bill as final debt-ceiling plan comes into focus: The Senate floor during a procedural vote on a Democratic plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
    The Senate failed to advance debt-ceiling legislation moved by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even as lawmakers say progress is being made on a final agreement that they hope can pass before the Aug. 2 deadline to avoid a federal default.
    The vote, initially planned for late Saturday, ultimately proved inconsequential, with leaders working to agree on terms of a new plan. The Senate could return to vote on it Sunday evening if an agreement is reached.
    “We’re cautiously optimistic,” Reid said earlier of talks with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. But he added: “As we know, one problem can stop the whole agreement from going forward.”
    Reid said he’s also spoken with Vice President Joe Biden, who is playing a key role in the frenetic final days before the nation could lose the authority to continue borrowing money to pay its bills…. – LAT, 7-31-11
  • Debt Deal Appears to Be At Hand: 1:40 p.m. ET | The Senate blocked a final vote on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s original debt limit bill Sunday afternoon, while negotiations over a final deal continue among congressional leaders and the White House.
    Sen. Reid’s bill will be used as the legislative vehicle to enact whatever deal might be reached. Reid said he was confident a deal could be reached, but that it was not done yet.
    The measure needed 60 votes to proceed, but the vote was 50 to 49.
    11:05 a.m. ET update from David Chalian | A deal between President Obama and bipartisan congressional leaders on raising the nation’s debt limit and averting the risk of default appears to be at hand.
    According to congressional leaders of both parties and senior White House officials, the finishing touches on an agreement to reduce the deficit and raise the debt ceiling before a Tuesday deadline are being hammered out Sunday morning with an expected agreement slated to receive a vote in the Senate in the afternoon…. – PBS Newshour, 7-31-11
  • Compromise Debt Deal in Sight: With the risk of a government default less than three days away, congressional leaders on Sunday said they were getting closer to a deal that raises the government’s borrowing limit and resolves the federal debt crisis.
    “I can pretty confidently say this debt-ceiling increase will avoid default,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Sunday on CNN.
    The White House and congressional leaders are scrambling to agree on a deal before Aug. 2 to raise the U.S. federal borrowing limit. Follow developments in Washington and reaction globally here.
    Sen. Charles Schumer, a top Democrat from New York, also speaking on CNN, said there was no “final agreement” but that default was “far less of a possibility now than it was even a day ago.” He added, “If there’s a word right here that would sum up the mood, it’s ‘relief.’ “
    Washington leaders face a Tuesday deadline by which the nation’s $14.29 trillion borrowing limit needs to be increased so the government can meet its financial obligations.
    The framework emerging over the weekend likely would allow an immediate increase to the debt ceiling, lasting through the end of 2011, accompanied by government spending reductions of roughly $1 trillion over 10 years.
    To get through 2012, Congress would form a special committee made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to negotiate up to $2 trillion in additional cuts as part of a package containing a further debt-ceiling increase…. – WSJ, 7-31-11
  • Debt-limit agreement begins to take shape: Senate leaders said Sunday that they are nearing agreement on a debt-limit increase of up to $3 trillion that would include many of the ideas both Democrats and Republicans have floated in recent weeks to try to rein in future spending.
    “There is no agreement that has been made, but we’re optimistic one can be,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said on the chamber floor as he opened up a rare Sunday session.
    He said there are plenty of outstanding issues, but he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the outlines include a multi-step, long-term debt increase of about $3 trillion, a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and a special committee to propose future deficit reduction.
    That committee’s report would come to both chambers under expedited rules that would ensure a vote…. – Washington Times, 7-31-11
  • Debt Limit Agreement ‘Very Close’ to Coming Together: President Obama and congressional leaders are “very close” to reaching a compromise to raise the nation’s debt limit before the August 2 deadline.
    “We’re very close” to a debt limit deal, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
    The sticking points in negotiations were over tax increases. Republicans would not support a bill that had tax increases, or revenue increases eliminating tax deductions. Democrats would not support a bill that did not include revenue increases. Democrats also said they would not support a bill that made cuts to entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security). President Obama wanted a debt limit increase large enough that it would not have to be increased again until after the 2012 elections. Tea Party Republicans said they wanted Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment before the debt ceiling was increased.
    The compromise that is reportedly being worked on would give Republicans what they want (no tax increases), Democrats what they want (no cuts to entitlements), and Obama what he wants (a limit that will last past 2012)…. – Christian Post, 7-31-11
  • McConnell: “Very close” on deal to avoid default: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Sunday that Republicans and White House negotiators were “very close” to a deal on raising the debt ceiling and that an agreement that would prevent the nation from defaulting on its loans was “just within our reach.”
    In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” McConnell expressed confidence that Congress and the White House could reach a compromise before the Tuesday’s deadline and that “we’ll avoid default, avoid raising taxes and begin to get the government’s house in order by dealing with our biggest problem, which is that we’ve been spending entirely too much.” “We’ve come a long way,” he told CBS’ Bob Schieffer.
    Republicans and Democrats are negotiating a deal that would extend the debt limit through 2012 and cut up to $3 trillion in spending over the next 10 years…. – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • Reid: Cautiously optimistic on debt limit deal: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’s cautiously optimistic that President Barack Obama and congressional lawmakers will come to a deal on raising the debt limit. But the Nevada Democrat emphasizes that no agreement has been reached.
    Reid’s Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell, also says that negotiators are close to an agreement.
    The Senate takes a test vote at 1 p.m. Sunday to move the debate forward…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • Debt Deal ‘Near’; Members Still to be Consulted: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives on Capitol Hill for a postponed vote on the debt ceiling on July 31, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
    Under the threat of a catastrophic U.S. default in three days, congressional leaders and the White House neared agreement Sunday on a plan to lift the debt ceiling and slash $2.8 trillion from the federal deficit in two stages.
    With a final deal expected to be in place as early as Sunday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said negotiators are “very, very close” to a deal. Both McConnell and a House GOP leadership aide warned that any agreement will need to be run by members first. Republican members of the Senate were set to meet in the early afternoon…. National Journal, 7-31-11
  • Debt deal still has ‘serious issues,’ says John Boehner: Speaker John Boehner emailed his House Republican colleagues Sunday afternoon acknowledging momentum in negotiations with the White House over a deficit reduction package, but we warned that “serious issues remain.” The Ohio Republican told lawmakers to expect a conference call Sunday afternoon.
    “Discussions are underway on legislation that will cut government spending more than it increases the debt limit, and advance the cause of the balanced budget amendment, without job-killing tax hikes. Those talks are moving in the right direction, but serious issues remain. And no agreement will be final until members have a chance to weigh in. I would expect a conference call for members later this afternoon,” the email to House Republicans read.
    Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) kept the House in session this weekend, with lawmakers staying in Washington awaiting a deal. The House was in on Saturday, and is in a pro forma session Sunday with no votes. The message from Boehner indicates that he will unveil the framework of some compromise this afternoon. It’s also the first indication from Republican leadership that a deal is in the offing…. – Politico, 7-31-11
  • Senate GOP votes to watch in debt-limit drama: Getting any kind of deal to raise the debt limit in the Senate is tricky because 60 votes are needed to break logjams.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., controls 53 votes: 51 Democratic senators and independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has 47 GOP senators in his caucus.
    There are at least two groups — moderates and Tea Party supporters — within the Senate GOP to watch as the drama over raising the debt limit continues to unfold:
    Moderates: Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine declined on Saturday to sign a letter opposing Reid’s plan to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion in borrowing authority. Brown and Snowe are facing potentially tough re-election fights in 2012…. USA Today, 7-31-11
  • White House: “We don’t have a deal” on debt bill: A top White House official says “we don’t have a deal” between President Obama and Republicans in Congress to avoid a crippling default.
    But senior White House adviser David Plouffe tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that both sides are generally in agreement on an emerging package that would cut the deficit in two stages, with key details still being worked out.
    Plouffe suggests that negotiations are still focused on how to compel Congress to approve a deficit-cutting plan of tax and entitlement reform later this year.
    Mr. Obama is adamant that the nation’s debt limit be extended into 2013 without being tied to that vote. Republicans want the debt limit to be the “trigger” to force Congress to act…. – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • House Republican to Obama: Stop Tweeting About the Debt Ceiling: A top House Republican mocked President Obama for trying to leverage his Twitter bully pulpit to pressure Congress into approving a debt-limit deal.
    The president took directly to Twitter on Friday to urge followers to inundate Congress with calls for a bipartisan compromise. The plan may have backfired — while some followers indeed voiced their concerns to Congress, tens of thousands cut ties with the president’s Twitter account after being inundated with his messages,
    Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House Republican whip, urged the president to take a different approach.
    “You cannot be the leader of the free world and sit on the sidelines and tweet and think you’re going to get the job done,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” …
    “We have been out front negotiating, “McCarthy said…. – Fox News, 7-31-11
  • Senate debt vote delayed, but Harry Reid optimistic: A vote is set for around midday Sunday, as the Senate majority leader speaks of a ‘move toward cooperation and compromise.’… – LAT, 7-31-11

JULY 31, 2011: PROMISING DEBT PLAN NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN REPUBLICAN LEADERS & OBAMA WHITE HOUSE — SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL ANNOUNCES BEING CLOSE TO A DEAL

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says Congress, White House “very close” to deal: With the default deadline two days away, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday morning that Congress and the White House were “very close” to a framework for a deal that he could recommend his members support.
The deal would contain $3 trillion in spending cuts and no tax increases.
“We’ll avoid default,” McConnell said. “We’re not going to have default.”

“You’ll see that this is a process that could get him (President Obama) past the election. We’re working on the combinations that will get us there. I’m particularly appreciative that we’re now back talking to the only person in America who can sign something into law and that’s the president of the United States.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on CNN’s State of the Union

“If there’s a word that would right here that would sum up the mood, it would be relief. … default is far less of a possibility now than it was a day ago.” — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

“There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed. But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work…. I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    • McConnell: ‘We’re very close’ to a deal: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that a deal to raise the debt ceiling is “very close.” Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Kentucky senator said Republicans and Democrats “made dramatic progress” Saturday over a $3 trillion package of spending cuts that would not include tax increases.
      McConnell said he is “very very close to being able … to recommend to my members that this is something that they ought to support.”… – CNN, 7-31-11
    • McConnell says U.S. deficit deal is “very close”: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday that U.S. deficit negotiations are “very close” to a $3 trillion deal to raise the federal debt limit.
      McConnell told CNN he hoped the deal would come soon and was confident that it would not raise taxes but set the stage for further deficit reductions down the road.
      He said he expected a deal that he could recommend would win “a significant percentage” of Republican support…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
    • Senate To Hold Afternoon Vote On Possible Debt Solution: Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. appear to be making progress on a solution to the nation’s debt crisis as Tuesday’s deadline draws closer.
      Officials close to the talks say the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are nearing a last-minute agreement to avoid the first U.S. default in history.
      The plan under discussion would raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by about $2.4 trillion and enact spending cuts of a slightly larger amount in two stages.
      The deal would also require Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but not require its approval.
      At the request of the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed off a test vote on his debt limit bill from 1 a.m. until this afternoon.
      The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has already voted against the measure.
      Senator Charles Schumer reportedly warned that there is still much discussion to be done, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say a deal appears to be in sight…. – NY1 News, 7-31-11
    • McConnell Sees Deal “Very Close”; Focus Is on Triggers for Cuts: Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said Sunday morning that he is “very close” to recommending to his members that they sign on to a debt deal with President Obama and the Democrats.
      Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. McConnell said the deal includes as much as $3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years, with much of that decided later this year by a joint congressional committee.
      “What conservatives want to do is cut spending,” he said. “We’ve come a long way. This agreement is likely to encompass up to $3 trillion is spending cuts.”
      In addition, Mr. McConnell said the agreement would allow votes in Congress on a balanced budget amendment.
      Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a top Democrat in the Senate, cautioned that “there is no final agreement. No one has signed off on a final agreement.”… – NYT, 7-31-11
    • Obama aide, GOP leader say they are close to debt deal: President Obama and congressional Republicans are close to nailing down a debt ceiling deal just two days before a possible government default, negotiators said today.
      White House adviser David Plouffe told NBC’s Meet The Press that “we don’t have deal,” but there has been progress and “today is a critical day.”
      Over on CNN’s State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said “we’re very close” and “had a very good day yesterday.”
      With details still to be worked, the proposed agreement in general includes a short-term increase in the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling; a second debt limit hike would depend on a debt reduction plans to be recommended by a special congressional committee.
      Plouffe said the committee would look at “our entire deficit reduction problem,” including tax reform and new government revenues…. – USA Today, 7-31-11
    • Debt deal negotiators getting close: The White House and Republican leaders are closing in on a debt ceiling deal giving President Barack Obama greater certainty in managing the Treasury’s borrowing needs while making a joint commitment to major deficit reductions without any explicit concessions by the GOP on new tax revenues.
      Both sides stress that nothing is yet final, but the contours suggest a more practical approach by Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to achieve many of the party’s goals without pushing Obama and the nation into default.
      Quoting a figure of $3 trillion though declining to provide details, McConnell confirmed Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union” that both sides were close to a deal. “We’ve made dramatic progress in that direction,” he told Gloria Borger.
      Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking on the same CNN show, also said a deal was close, “If there’s a word that would right here that would sum up the mood, it would be relief. … default is far less of a possibility now than it was a day ago.”… – Politico, 7-31-11
    • McConnell says very close to deal on debt ceiling: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says negotiators are “very close” to nailing down an agreement that would avert a default of the nation’s debt obligations.
      McConnell tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that lawmakers are looking at a $3 trillion package that would raise the debt ceiling in two stages through the elections next year.
      McConnell says he is hopeful he will soon have a deal that he can recommend to his fellow Republicans.
      On the Democratic side, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York cautions that “there is no final agreement” and that much remains to be discussed…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • U.S. lawmakers ‘very close’ to debt deal, Senate Republican leader says: The top Republican in the Senate said Congress and the White House were very close to a deal on raising the limit on U.S. borrowing that would avert an unprecedented default on America’s debt, ending one of the nastiest partisan fights in recent memory.
      Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell said he was very close to being able to recommend the tentative agreement to Republicans in the upper chamber. It would, he said, likely extend U.S. borrowing authority, which expires on Tuesday, beyond the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, a fundamental demand of President Barack Obama.
      At the same time, the agreement would include none of tax increases Mr. Obama has sought and Republicans had steadfastly rejected. It also includes, he said, the requirement that both houses of Congress vote on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. That outcome of that vote, however, would have no effect on raising the debt limit…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Debt deadline may provide another Mitch McConnell moment: A man of few words but vast behind-the-scenes power: Just days before the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline, the Republican Senate minority leader has held back from fully engaging in the negotiations. But congressional insiders have long viewed McConnell as the real linchpin to a bipartisan agreement…. – WaPo, 7-31-11
    • Debt-ceiling compromise taking shape: What’s in it?: The details of an emerging debt-ceiling compromise are unconfirmed and could change, but they appear currently to involve parts of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s ‘last choice’ option, as well as a trigger to ensure promised spending cuts take place…. – CS Monitor, 7-31-11

Senate debt vote delayed in quest for elusive compromise: The Senate’s top Democrat sounds a newly optimistic tone as a key test vote is delayed to midday Sunday, but is Congress now too partisan to settle on any middle ground?… – LAT, 7-30-11

  • Senate debt vote delay is sign of hope: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is in active negotiation with the White House on a debt ceiling deal, and Democrats agreed late Saturday night to postpone a partisan-tinged cloture vote to give time for both sides to find a compromise.
    “There are many elements to be finalized, and there is still a distance to go before any arrangement can be completed,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    “I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit.”
    Just hours before Reid had sparred on the floor with McConnell over the seriousness of his efforts, and Reid’s change of tone — and tactics — suggested that real progress had been made. “We’re getting close,” said one GOP leadership aide, with knowledge of the discussions.
    “In the category of getting serious, I have spoken to both the president and the vice president within the last hour,” McConnell had told reporters earlier in day in a joint appearance with Speaker John Boehner. “We are now fully engaged, the speaker and I, with the one person in America out of 307 million people who can sign a bill into law. I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interests of the American people.”
    Boehner echoed McConnell’s statement, saying he believed that “we are going to be able to come to some sort of agreement.” But the speaker appears to have had no contact himself with President Barack Obama Saturday, while McConnell spoke to the president and reached out to Biden, after which the two men engaged in at least four back-and-forth phone calls through the day…. – Politico, 7-30-11
  • Optimism starting to creep into debt crisis: New budget talks between top congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama made progress late Saturday, suddenly stirring optimism that a last-minute deal could be reached to avert a potential federal default that threatened significant economic and political consequences.
    After a tense day of congressional floor fights and angry exchanges, Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, called off a planned showdown vote set for after midnight but said he would convene the Senate at noon Sunday for a vote an hour later. He said he wanted to give the new negotiations a chance to produce a plan to raise the federal debt limit in exchange for spending cuts and the creation of a new congressional committee that would try to assemble a long-range deficit-cutting proposal.
    “There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed,” said Reid, who just a few hours earlier had played down talk of any agreement. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    Reid’s announcement set off an almost audible sigh of relief on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and their aides had been bracing for an overnight clash over the debt following a day that had seen a heated House vote and lawmakers trudging from office to office in search of an answer to the impasse…. – NYT, 7-31-11

JULY 30, 2011: OBAMA, WHITE HOUSE RESTARTS NEGOTIATION WITH SENATE/HOUSE DEMOCRATIC & REPUBLICAN LEADERS — REID DELAYS SENATE DEBT PLAN VOTE UNTIL SUNDAY

Reid delays debt vote: Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced late Saturday that negotiations with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House had made enough progress that he would delay consideration of his own legislation to avert the debt crisis. Rather than a 1 a.m. Sunday vote, Reid said he would give the negotiators room to maneuver and set a 1 p.m. Sunday vote on his bill — which McConnell has already assured would be defeated.

“I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit. I’m confident that a final agreement that will adopt the Senate’s long-term approach, rather than the short-term Band-Aid proposed by the House of Representatives, will move forward.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interest of the American peopl. Our country is not going to default for the first time in history. We have now, I think, a level of seriousness with the right people at the table we needed…. We’re going to get a result.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky

“I just spent two hours with the president, the vice president and the agreement is not in a meaningful way. The Republicans still refuse to negotiate in good faith.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada

Speaker Boehner: Time for President Obama to Tell Us His Plan for Ending this Crisis: In a press conference with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighted the House-passed Budget Control Act – which was negotiated with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate – and said it is time for President Obama and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to outline their plan for ending this debt crisis
“Today’s vote on the House floor indicates there’s bipartisan opposition to Senator Reid’s proposal. The House yesterday sent our second bill to end this crisis to the Senate. It’s a reasonable, responsible approach that will end this crisis, get our economy moving again and get Americans back to work.
The only thing standing in the way of the House proposal over in the Senate is the president and Senator Reid. It’s time for them to tell us what they’re for, time to tell us how they’re going to get us out of the cul-de-sac that they’ve driven our country into. So we’re hoping that we’ll hear from them soon about their plan for how we end this crisis.” —

  • Senate delays key debt vote until Sunday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Saturday delayed a test vote on the Democratic debt limit increase plan until 1 p.m. EDT Sunday to give negotiators more time to work out a deal.
    In brief remarks on the Senate floor, Reid, a Democrat, said that negotiations between congressional leaders and the Obama administration were ongoing, but that there was “still a distance to go” before a deal might be reached…. – Reuters, 7-30-11
  • Senate Delays Vote as Debt Talks Progress: The Senate will delay a crucial vote on the Democratic debt ceiling bill until 1 p.m. Sunday as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers said a potential compromise was in the works that would avert a federal default after midnight on Tuesday.
    The delay averts a 1 a.m. legislative showdown Sunday morning in the Senate, and all-night wrangling that Democrats had threatened on Friday. And it suggests that the looming deadline is working to press both sides toward a last-minute agreement.
    Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, announced just after 10 p.m. Saturday that White House officials had urged him to give more time for negotiations to continue.
    “I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor before adjourning until Sunday afternoon.
    The delay came as Republican lawmakers expressed optimism that talks begun on Saturday with President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and others were leading toward an agreement. And Mr. Reid said he, too, was now confident that a deal is within reach…. – NYT, 7-30-11
  • Reid: Debt negotiations underway at White House: After weeks of intense partisanship, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders made a last-minute stab at compromise Saturday night to avoid a government default threatened for early next week.
    “There are many elements to be finalized…there is still a distance to go,” Majority Leader Harry Reid cautioned in dramatic late-night remarks on the Senate floor.
    Still, his disclosure that “talks are going on at the White House now,” coupled with his announcement that progress had been made, offered the strongest indication yet that an economy-crippling default might be averted.
    White House officials had no immediate comment.
    Nor was there any immediate reaction from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner, Obama’s principal Republican antagonist in a contentious era of divided government.
    There were no details immediately available on what the terms might be of any compromise…. – AP, 7-30-11
  • Saturday’s debt-ceiling surprise: GOP and Obama are talking again: After a rancorous day in which Republicans vented their anger at the Senate and President Obama, GOP leaders said they are in talks with the president and that ‘the country is not going to default.’
    There were signs of movement toward a potential resolution of the federal government’s debt ceiling crisis after both the House and Senate met in unusual Saturday sessions notable for partisan fireworks.
    House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada were called to the White House for a 3:30 p.m. meeting about debt-ceiling negotiations with President Obama.
    At about the same time on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky gave a press conference and expressed optimism about reaching a settlement that would keep the nation from being unable to borrow enough to pay its bills.
    Senator McConnell said that he had spoken to both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “in the last hour,” and that the White House was “now fully engaged” in conversations with the two Republican leaders about the debt-ceiling crisis. Speaker Boehner said he and McConnell were “both confident” they could “end this impasse.” McConnell added, “Our country is not going to default. We are going to get a result.”… CS Monitor, 7-30-11
  • Last-minute debt deal still eludes Congress: In public, at least, neither Democrats nor Republicans show much inclination to work out an accord as the clock ticks toward a federal default.
    Efforts to reach a last-minute deal to stave off a potentially disastrous federal default remained at an impasse Saturday as House Republicans engaged in some psychological warfare and their colleagues in the Senate seemed poised to block a key vote on a bid by Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
    With just days to go until the federal government’s authority to borrow money expires, neither Democrats nor Republicans showed much inclination to bridge their differences and hammer out a deal.
    Instead, the action — at least the events playing out in public view — suggested that partisan distrust remained as high as ever. The House convened only to take a purely symbolic thumbs-down vote on a debt plan crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though that plan hasn’t yet cleared the Senate…. – LAT, 7-30-11
  • In Senate, bitter debate but little agreement on Democratic debt plan: With the deadline for a debt limit increase inching perilously closer, Congress remained deadlocked Saturday over how to avoid a crisis as both houses spent the day publicly mired in often tart, even defiant partisan votes and rhetoric.
    Privately, the White House was talking to leaders of both parties – but those leaders had sharply different views about the outlook.
    “The process has not been moved forward during this day,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, after he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with President Barack Obama for nearly 90 minutes.
    But House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio told a news conference he was “confident that we’re going to be able to come to some agreement with the White House and end this impasse.”
    And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he spoke to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday afternoon, and added that “we are now fully engaged, the speaker and I,” with Obama.
    “Our country is not going to default for the first time in history,” said McConnell, R-Kentucky. “We have now, I think, a level of seriousness with the right people at the table we needed…. We’re going to get a result.”
    Reid, D-Nevada, with fellow senators huddling around him and watching intently, took to the Senate floor to dispute McConnell’s account with a harsh tone rarely used to discuss the opposition’s tactics in the genteel Senate. Reports a deal could be close are “not true,” Reid said.
    With McConnell standing a few feet away, Reid charged the GOP leaders were “holding meaningless press conferences.”
    And, Reid said, “I just spent two hours with the president, the vice president and the agreement is not in a meaningful way. The Republicans still refuse to negotiate in good faith.”
    McConnell swung back, saying, “I think we’ve got a chance of getting there. What I think is not helpful is the process we’re going through here on the Senate floor … .”
    The day began when the Republican-run House of Representatives voted 246-173 to reject a new Reid plan that would reduce deficits by more than $2.2 trillion over 10 years and raise the debt limit in three stages.
    The Senate debated the plan throughout the day Saturday, and scheduled a post-midnight vote on whether to cut off debate. The vote was expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed, since 43 Republicans sent Reid a letter saying they opposed the measure…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 7-30-11
  • Democrats, GOP Disagree on Whether a Debt-Limit Deal Is Near: With the nation only three days away from facing its first-ever financial default, congressional Republican and Democratic leaders couldn’t even agree on whether a deal to end the debt crisis is close.
    House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that they are confident they can reach a deal with the White House to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit to allow the government to keep paying all of its bills.
    At a news conference held just minutes after the GOP-led House defeated a Democratic debt-limit bill, McConnell said he had spoken with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the past hour.
    “I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interest of the American people,” he said.
    “Our country is not going to default for the first time in history,” McConnell said.”We now have a level of seriousness with the right people at the table. ….We’re going to get a result.”
    Boehner added he’s also confident of an agreement with the White House “to end this impasse.”
    But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid disputed their account on the Senate floor after meeting with the president and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House.
    “Republican leaders still refuse to negotiate in good faith,” Reid said, explaining that they still refuse to consider including new revenues in any deal and only want to slash entitlement programs.
    Republican leaders “should know that merely saying you have an agreement in front of television cameras doesn’t make it so.”
    McConnell responded that he’s more optimistic than Reid and that the only way to get to an agreement before Tuesday is through the president.
    “We need to be in a position where all of us in the leadership can come back here and say that we think we reached a framework of an agreement that we can recommend to our members,” he said. “So that’s what I’m working on and I’m not interested in scoring any political points. I’m interested in getting an outcome for the American people. And the only way that can be done is with the president of the United States.”
    Earlier Saturday, the House defeated Reid’s bill that would raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by $2.4 trillion while cutting spending by $2.2 trillion. But the Senate hasn’t voted on the bill yet and is planning a test vote in the wee hours of Sunday morning to break a GOP filibuster…. – Fox News, 7-30-11
  • Debt deal not close, Senator Reid says: Republicans and Democrats are not close to a deal to raise the debt ceiling despite what Republican leaders may say, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Saturday.
    “It’s fair to say that the engagement there is not in any meaningful way,” Reid said on the Senate floor shortly after returning from a meeting with President Barack Obama. “Republican leaders still refuse to negotiate in good faith.”… – Reuters, 7-30-11
  • McConnell says he’s spoken to Obama ‘within last hour’: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Saturday afternoon that he had talked to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “within the last hour” and is “confident and optimistic” that there will be an “agreement within the very near future.” A national default “is not going to happen,” McConnell said.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also expressed optimism that an agreement is near. “In spite of our differences, we’re dealing with reasonable, responsible people,” Boehner said…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Obama huddles with Democrats in hunt for debt deal: US President Barack Obama held an urgent White House summit with key Democratic allies Saturday as his Republican foes said fever-pitch efforts to avert a disastrous debt default would soon pay off.
    “That’s not true,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, pouring cold water on the upbeat Republican message after talks with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
    With three days before a midnight Tuesday deadline, Obama stayed largely out of sight but warned in his weekly address that “very little time” remains to reach a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion dollar US debt ceiling…. – AFP, 7-30-11
  • Reid and Pelosi head to White House for debt meeting: A White House official says President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House at 3:30 pm to receive an update on the situation in the House and Senate…. – CNN, 7-30-11

JULY 30, 2011: REID V. MCCONNELL — PARTISAN VOTES IN SENATE & HOUSE CONTINUE IMPASSE IN DEBT CEILING CRISIS — CONGRESS VOTES 246 TO 173 AGAINST REID DEBT PLAN –

House GOP rejects Reid debt-ceiling bill: Republicans in the House of Representatives have rejected a bill that mirrors a proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to raise the debt ceiling through 2012, a symbolic gesture of disapproval as the Senate continues to debate Reid’s measure and discuss a possible compromise.

Reid plan in jeopardy: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a letter Saturday afternoon to Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), signed by 43 Republicans, declaring that Reid’s debt-limit legislation was unacceptable. Needing 60 votes to clear a filibuster hurdle, Reid’s current draft is assured of failure in a 1 a.m. vote Sunday. McConnell demanded that President Obama re-engage in negotiations. “It isn’t going to pass, let’s get talking to the administration,” McConnell said Saturday in a floor speech.

“The only possible justification for a $2.4 trillion increase in borrowing authority is to allow the President to avoid any accountability for these issues before his 2012 election. It is by constantly putting off these tough decisions that we have found ourselves with a national debt nearly equal to the size of our gross domestic product. The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we accumulate another $2.4 trillion in debt.” — Mitch McConnell, 43 Senators Sign Letter Opposing The Reid Bill

“It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people – not just one faction of one party. There are multiple ways to resolve this problem. Congress must find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House. And it’s got to be a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.” — President Barack Obama in his Weekly Address

“Republicans in the House of Representatives just spent precious days trying to pass a plan that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate had already said they wouldn’t vote for. It’s a plan that wouldn’t solve our fiscal problems, but would force us to relive this crisis in just a few short months. It would hold our economy captive to Washington politics once again. If anything, the past few weeks have demonstrated that’s unacceptable….
Look, the parties are not that far apart here. We’re in rough agreement on how much spending we need to cut to reduce our deficit. We agree on a process to tackle tax reform and entitlement reform. There are plenty of ways out of this mess. But there is very little time.” — President Barack Obama in his Weekly Address

“We start from the understanding that the reason the debt ceiling is a problem is because of runaway Washington spending. So, Republicans have been united in the belief that raising the debt ceiling without making significant spending reductions would be irresponsible…
“The simple fact is, in order to afford the kind of government this President wants, taxes would have to be increased dramatically – and for middle income Americans, not just on the wealthy.” – — Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) in the Republican Weekly Address

“Republicans believe we must solve our debt crisis – and we believe we can solve it if Democrats will work with us. No one will get everything they want, and we can’t solve all of our problems at once, but surely we can reach an agreement that will increase the debt ceiling, impose accountability, and begin reducing the size of our federal government.” — Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) in the Republican Weekly Address

“I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States. I stuck my neck out a mile, and I put revenues on the table in order to try to get an agreement to avert us being where we are. But a lot of people in this town can never say yes. I have offered ideas. I have negotiated. Not one time, not one time, did the administration put any plan on the table. All they would do is criticize what I put out.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

  • The Weekend Word: Rejection NYT, 7-30-11
  • FACTBOX-What’s ahead in the U.S. debt limit fight — Reuters, 7-30-11
  • Stalemate as Congress Wrangles Over Debt Crisis: Congressional leaders fought, huddled with President Obama and hinted at an emerging bipartisan deal to end the federal fiscal crisis in a tense Saturday on Capitol Hill, but the stalemate over raising the debt limit persisted just days from a potential default.
    In the most vivid illustration yet of the confusion surrounding the debt crisis, the two leading Congressional Republicans announced that they had reopened fiscal talks with the White House in a last-ditch drive to come to terms, only to have the top Senate Democrat leader quickly dismiss the idea that a breakthrough was at hand.
    In the wake of the House’s sharp rejection of a Democratic proposal to raise the debt limit, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and a linchpin in efforts to reach a deal, said he and Speaker John A. Boehner were “now fully engaged” in efforts with the White House to find a resolution that would tie an increase in the debt limit to spending cuts and other conditions…. – NYT, 7-30-11
  • House Rejects Reid Debt Ceiling Proposal: The Republican-controlled House on Saturday dismissed a new proposal by Senate Democrats to end the fiscal crisis before the Senate even voted on it, deepening the ongoing federal budget stalemate.
    In an effort to send a message to Senate leaders of both parties, the House voted 173 to 246 against the proposal by Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, to show it had no future in the House.
    During a heated debate, Republicans and Democrats traded accusations over who would be responsible for a government default if no compromise was reached by next Tuesday, with Republicans defending the plan they sent to the Senate on Friday only to see it rejected almost immediately.
    On Twitter, Speaker John A. Boehner called the Senate measure “DOA” and a “non-starter in the House.” Republicans also said the $2.5 trillion in savings in the measure were illusory…. – NYT, 7-30-11
  • House rejects Reid’s debt plan: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has rejected the debt ceiling plan proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
    The plan was rejected in a sharply polarized 173-246 vote. Republicans unanimously opposed the measure while most Democrats backed it.
    GOP leaders conducted the vote on Reid’s bill under rules requiring a two-thirds majority for passage, thereby ensuring its defeat…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • 43 Senate Republicans oppose Dem debt bill: Forty-three Senate Republicans say they oppose Democratic leader Harry Reid’s bill to cut spending and raise the nation’s borrowing authority.
    In a letter released Saturday, the GOP lawmakers said the bill “completely fails” to address the nation’s fiscal imbalance and relies on gimmicks to cut spending. Reid’s measure would raise the debt limit by up to $2.4 trillion…. – AP, 7-30-11
  • All Senate Republicans oppose Democratic debt bill: All 43 Republicans in the U.S. Senate have signed a letter, released on Saturday, saying they will not vote for a Democratic plan to raise the debt limit in a sign that the measure does not have the support it needs to advance in Congress.
    Democrats need at least seven Republican votes to clear a procedural vote in the 100-seat chamber. That vote is scheduled for 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT) on Sunday…. – Reuters, 7-30-11
  • Senate Wrangles Before Debt Vote: The high-stakes debate over raising the U.S. debt limit remained deadlocked Saturday afternoon, as both Democrats and Republicans considered their next moves less than four days before the U.S. could begin defaulting on some obligations.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has scheduled a series of votes beginning Sunday morning at 1 a.m. on his proposal to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, though whether or not he can garner the 60 votes necessary to move forward with the bill remains in question….
    Mr. McConnell, speaking just after Mr. Reid, countered that Mr. Reid should abandon his legislation. He and 42 other Republican senators sent a letter to the majority leader saying they oppose the Reid measure.
    “It will not pass the Senate, it will not pass the House, it’s simply a non-starter,” Mr. McConnell said.
    House Republicans, meanwhile, scheduled a symbolic midafternoon vote on Mr. Reid’s proposal, which is likely to be voted down by House lawmakers. A House GOP leadership aide said the Senate was wasting time by focusing on Mr. Reid’s “doomed bill.”… – WSJ, 7-30-11
  • House set to reject Reid debt plan as endgame nears: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is set to reject Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling Saturday — partisan payback for the Democratic-controlled Senate’s rejection of Speaker John Boehner’s plan Friday night.
    The twin votes are a likely prelude to a long weekend of furious back-room negotiations between congressional leaders looking for a way to end a tense political standoff and avoid a potentially catastrophic federal default next week…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Congressional leaders struggle to work out bipartisan debt deal: With just three days to go before Congress’s deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid sending the country into default, leaders continued to struggle Saturday to work out a bipartisan deal that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by President Obama.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a letter Saturday afternoon to Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), signed by 43 Republicans, declaring that Reid’s debt-limit legislation was unacceptable.
    Needing 60 votes to clear a filibuster hurdle, Reid’s current draft is assured of failure in a 1 a.m. vote Sunday. McConnell demanded that President Obama re-engage in negotiations. “It isn’t going to pass,” McConnell said Saturday in a floor speech. “Let’s get talking to the administration.”… – WaPo, 7-30-11
  • Senate headed for critical debt vote Sunday: The Senate is driving toward a climactic and dramatic vote at 1 a.m. Sunday that could determine whether a bipartisan deal to raise the nation’s legal borrowing limit is possible or a government default is likely….
    Speedier action would require unanimous agreement from all senators, including conservatives who have vowed not to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval of a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, and it wasn’t clear that would be forthcoming.
    Senators instead moved forward with an alternative advanced by Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), which would raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election, but they hoped to amend the bill in coming days if a bipartisan compromise is reached.
    Now, Senate rules require a full day in between Reid introducing the measure Friday night and a vote to cut off debate, leading to a key vote early Sunday.
    Closing debate will require the approval of 60 senators, meaning Reid will require at least seven Republican votes to clear that hurdle.
    If the measure cleared that hurdle, the final passage would require a simple majority of senators to send the bill to the House. Without unanimous agreement, however, it would require an additional 30 hours of debate for that final vote, meaning 7:30 a.m. Monday would be the earliest a final vote could happen.
    Then, the measure would return to the House on Monday, where it would face a final critical vote — with the outcome deeply uncertain, as world markets watch nervously…. – WaPo, 7-30-11
  • Washington’s warring weekend: Dueling votes, parties and loyalties: Warring House and Senate votes late Friday set up a tense weekend of confrontation — and what the White House hopes are still meaningful negotiations — before markets reopen Monday, one day before the threat of default….
    Much depends still on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is deeply worried by the prospect of default and has had a running series of conversations with Vice President Joe Biden to try to defuse the crisis. McConnell was frozen in place out of loyalty to Boehner during the House debate but even after, Democrats complained that he was restraining his rank-and-file members from participating in talks.
    “There is a growing sentiment by senators on both sides of the aisle to sit down and reach a reasonable compromise to save our economy from the disaster that awaits us,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) “What these senators on the Republican side are waiting for is a permission slip from Sen. McConnell.”
    That would be a vintage McConnell approach, but aides to the Republican leader said he is fully prepared to begin talks with Reid and others, as long as President Barack Obama is also represented at the table.
    There’s been bad blood between McConnell and Reid after a falling out last weekend over debt talks also involving Boehner. But McConnell’s office expressed confidence that a deal could yet be reached with the White House represented…. – Politico, 7-30-11
  • Debt Deadlock: The Road Ahead: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the White House must be present if there are negotiations toward a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, according to Democratic and Republican sources familiar with the situation.
    If those talks get going, Democratic officials maintain things could move quickly because a lot of the details were hashed out over nearly two months of deficit talks between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, as well as during negotiations on a grand bargain between President Obama and the congressional leadership…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Harry Reid debt ceiling bill to be targeted by House on Saturday: Reid and other Senate Democratic leaders have already declared the Boehner plan dead-on-arrival in the Senate.
    In order to show Reid’s package would face a similar fate in their chamber, House Republicans will do force a vote on Saturday.
    The Nevada Democrat’s package, which includes a single debt limit hike, is likely to see support from House Democrats, but little from the GOP…. – Politico, 7-30-11
  • Obama pressures Congress for debt deal: President Barack Obama struck an urgent tone in his weekly address Saturday, telling members of Congress that he needs a debt ceiling deal on his desk before next week’s deadline.
    “Congress must find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House,” Obama said. “And it’s got to be a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.”
    Obama’s remarks come one day after the House voted along party lines to pass a Republican-sponsored debt plan. The bill was tabled without a vote in the Democratically-controlled Senate.
    In his address, Obama said that that such maneuvers weren’t helpful in staving off a debt crisis…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • GOP lays out consequences of missing debt deadline — Jon Kyl Republican Weekly Address: With Congress and the White House still at odds on raising America’s debt ceiling, Republicans used their weekly address to illustrate the dire risks of missing next week’s deadline for reaching a deal….
    Kyl cited debt crises spreading across Europe as examples of what could happen if politicians don’t strike a deal before early next week.
    Kyl criticized the way Democrats were approaching the debt ceiling negotiations, saying they had failed to recognize the opportunity to cut spending…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Moody’s: Boehner and Reid bills won’t cut it: Neither of the debt ceiling bills before Congress would meaningfully alter the country’s debt trajectory and thus won’t bolster the United States’ chance of preserving its AAA rating, a key rating agency said Friday.
    “Reductions of the magnitude now being proposed, if adopted, would likely lead Moody’s to adopt a negative outlook on the AAA rating,” Moody’s Investors Service said…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Reid and McConnell: The Senate’s odd couple: By all measures, Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are worlds apart when it comes to their politics. But there’s at least one thing solidifying their relationship.
    “Both are institutionalists at heart,” said Jim Manley, a former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “They come from completely different ideologies but both have the respect from their caucus.” He added that while they’re not the best of friends, their bond is strong… – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Analysis: Debt mess shows Washington’s awful side: There is no changing how Washington works. It doesn’t. Even if a bitterly divided Congress and President Barack Obama avoid a U.S. debt default by striking a last-second deal, as all sides expect, plenty of damage has been done.
    People are disgusted. Confidence in the political system is tanking. Nothing else is getting done in Washington. The markets are spooked. The global reputation of the United States has slipped.
    And the real kicker? This whole wrenching effort to shrink the debt may actually increase the debt.
    Any emergency deal may not be broad enough to prevent the major credit rating agencies from downgrading the United States as a rock-solid investment. That, in turn, could increase the cost of borrowing for the government (hence more interest and debt), not to mention for everyone else.
    The spectacle has brought Washington to its knees. Obama went on TV before the nation and called it a circus. One lawmaker felt compelled to apologize to the American people…. – AP, 7-30-11
  • The Debt-Limit Hobbits The GOP fantasy caucus is empowering Nancy Pelosi: Political logic and perhaps even common sense seem to be prevailing within the House GOP after Thursday’s debt-ceiling vote was postponed—at least among most of the caucus. The shame is that the debt-limit absolutists have weakened Speaker John Boehner’s hand in negotiating a final bill with Senate Democrats.
    At the most practical level, Mr. Boehner’s plan is better than the one Harry Reid supports in the Senate. This remains true of the revisions Mr. Boehner released yesterday, though the irony is that it is less credible and weaker politically than the previous version. The concession the holdouts demanded, and got—a balanced budget amendment—ensures that it cannot pass the Senate. The best but unlikely scenario is that the bill otherwise remains intact…. – WSJ, 7-30-11
  • For Reid, Durbin, and Obama, a (very) partisan record on debt ceiling: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has frequently accused Republicans of playing partisan politics in the debt ceiling crisis… A look at Reid’s record, however, shows that in the last decade his own voting on the issue of the debt ceiling is not only partisan but perfectly partisan. According to “The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases,” a January 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service, the Senate has passed ten increases to the debt limit since 2000. Reid never voted to increase the debt ceiling when Republicans were in control of the Senate, and he always voted to increase the debt ceiling when Democrats were in control.
    At look at the number-two Democrat in the Senate, Richard Durbin’s record shows that he, too, has voted along absolutely partisan lines. In the last decade, Durbin never voted to increase the debt ceiling when Republicans were in control and always voted to increase the debt ceiling when Democrats were in control. As for Obama, there were four votes to raise the debt ceiling when he was in the Senate. He missed two of them, voted no once when Republicans were in charge, and voted yes once when Democrats were in charge… – Washington Examiner, 7-30-11
  • Debt-ceiling crisis: Why won’t Republicans compromise?: The hardcore Republican debt hawks fueled by November’s tea party victories say that Congress has historically gone back on promised spending cuts. So far, they are refusing to budge without some guarantee that the cuts will actually materialize…. – CS Monitor, 7-30-11
  • Houses passes Boehner’s debt deal, but at what price?: …But the price Boehner has paid for his victory may be bigger than he hoped for or predicted. The speaker at times look liked he was a hostage of his 87-member, tea party inspired freshmen class. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) threatened to overshadow him. Senate Republican leaders have already acknowledged that the Boehner plan can’t pass that body, and even if it did, Obama would greet it with a veto. That leaves Boehner with a weakened negotiating hand heading into showdown with Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Politico, 7-29-11

JULY 29, 2011: SENATE TABLES BOEHNER HOUSE DEBT BILL 59-41 — HARRY REID WILL BROKER HIS OWN PLAN TO SENATE & WHITE HOUSE

Senate tables Boehner bill: Roughly two-and-a-half hours after it was passed by the House, Senate Democrats on Friday night tabled, 59 to 41, House Speaker John Boehner’s bill to raise the debt limit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will now try to broker his own plan with Republicans and the White House before the debt ceiling expires on Aug. 2. Reid’s current bill would achieve $2.2 trillion in deficit savings over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“I eagerly await the majority leader’s plan for preventing this crisis.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Kentucky

    • “This is likely our last chance to save this nation from default.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“The president urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House – a plan the president can sign by Tuesday.” — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

“To the American people, I would say we tried our level best. We tried to do our best for our country, but some people still say no.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

How Different Types of Republicans Voted on the Revised Debt Plan: Analysis of how different Republican blocs voted on the revised debt plan… – NYT

Interactive Graphic: House Roll Call: Boehner’s Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase — NYT

Interactive Graphic: Comparing Deficit-Reduction Plans — NYT

Statement by the Press Secretary Jay Carney: The bill passed today in the House with exclusively Republican votes would have us face another debt ceiling crisis in just a few months by demanding the Constitution be amended or America defaults. This bill has been declared dead on arrival in the Senate. Now that yet another political exercise is behind us, with time dwindling, leaders need to start working together immediately to reach a compromise that avoids default and lays the basis for balanced deficit reduction.
Senator Reid’s proposal is a basis for that compromise. It not only achieves more deficit reduction than the bill passed in the House today and puts a process in place to achieve even more savings, it also removes the uncertainty surrounding the risk of default. The President urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House – a plan the President can sign by Tuesday.

  • Lawmakers’ votes open way for final debt push: Lawmakers opened the way on Friday for a last-ditch bid for a possible bipartisan compromise to avert a crippling national default just four days before the deadline to raise the country’s debt ceiling.
    The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a Republican deficit-cutting plan and the Democratic-led Senate quickly rejected it — moves that underscored the ideological divide but also cleared a path to start negotiating a deal.
    The back-to-back votes broke weeks of political inertia in efforts to lift the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt limit by Tuesday after which the world’s largest economy will be unable to pay all of its bills, the government says.
    Delays and procedural hurdles will still make it all but impossible for Congress to strike a deal and send it to Obama’s desk until the 11th hour, injecting a dangerous level of uncertainty into already rattled global financial markets.
    Even if a late deal can be struck, the United States risks losing its top-notch AAA credit rating…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
  • Reid adds Republican “backup plan” to debt bill: Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid revised his debt-limit bill on Friday to incorporate elements of a “backup plan” first proposed by the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell.
    Reid’s plan originally envisioned raising the U.S. debt limit in one step by $2.7 trillion, enough to cover the nation’s borrowing needs through the November 2012 elections.
    The new version would essentially allow President Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling in three steps. Through a complex legislative process, Congress could approve these debt-ceiling hikes with only a one-third vote in each chamber…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
  • Reid Revises Bill to Include McConnell 2-Step Process: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revised his debt-limit proposal to adopt a two-step procedure modeled after one proposed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that would let the president raise the ceiling in two steps unless a supermajority of Congress blocked it.
    According to a summary of the new plan, the borrowing authority would be provided in two separate $1.2 trillion installments, one immediately, and one in several months, the next time the nation nears its borrowing limit.
    All but the first $416 billion could be blocked through a joint resolution of Congress, though opponents would have to muster supermajorities in both chambers to override a veto…. – Bloomberg, 7-29-11
  • McConnell still refusing to negotiate, Democrats say: Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate said on Friday that the top Republican in the chamber was still refusing to negotiate a debt-ceiling increase with them after they defeated a bill backed by Republicans.
    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told Senate Democratic leaders he would not work on a compromise after the Senate defeated a bill that had passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said at a news conference…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
  • House approves debt bill; Senate rejects it: In an unforgiving display of partisanship, the House passed emergency legislation Friday night to avoid an unprecedented government default and the Senate scuttled it less than two hours later.
    The final outcome — with the White House and Senate Democrats calling anew for compromise while criticizing Republicans as Tuesday’s deadline drew near — was anything but certain….
    The House vote was 218-210, almost entirely along party lines, on a Republican-drafted bill to provide a quick $900 billion increase in U.S. borrowing authority — essential to allow the government to continue paying all its bills — along with $917 billion in cuts from federal spending.
    At the other end of the Capitol, Senate Democrats scuttled the measure without so much as a debate on its merits. The vote was 59-41, with all Democrats, two independents and six Republicans joining in opposition…. – Businessweek, 7-29-11 AP, 7-29-11
  • Senate Quickly Kills Boehner Debt Bill: After a 24-hour delay and concessions to conservatives, the House on Friday narrowly approved a Republican fiscal plan that the Senate quickly rejected in a standoff over the federal debt ceiling that was keeping the government on a path to potential default….
    Demonstrating the deep partisan divide coloring the budget fight, the House voted 218 to 210 to approve the plan endorsed by Speaker John A. Boehner to increase the federal debt ceiling in two stages. No Democrats supported the measure; 22 Republicans opposed it. The White House condemned it as a “political exercise.”…
    That did not take long. Two hours after the House approved its plan, it was convincingly tabled in the Senate by a vote of 59 to 41, and Democrats took steps to move ahead with their proposal…. – NYT, 7-29-11
  • Senate Kills Boehner Debt Plan 59-41: The Senate voted down a House-approved bill to raise the debt ceiling, leaving the ball in the court of Senate leadership to produce a deficit reduction bill, with just days before the Aug. 2 deadline. The vote was 59-41…. – Fox News, 7-29-11
  • Senate Tables Boehner’s Debt Ceiling Bill: The United States Senate quickly dispatched the debt ceiling bill passed by the House Friday evening, tabling the Republican bill indefinitely and moving quickly to start consideration of a Democratic plan that would avoid default on Tuesday.
    Less than two hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner pushed his bill through the House over the strenuous objections of nearly two dozen of his own Republican members, the Democratic leadership in the Senate followed through on their promise to kill his legislation.
    But the move now sets up an uncertain 72 hours as the Congress moves ever closer to the Tuesday deadline when the Treasury Department says the country will default on its financial obligations without an increase in the debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-29-11
  • Senate kills latest House debt measure: The Senate has killed the latest effort by the House to raise the government’s borrowing cap. Democrats and several Republicans killed the GOP measure by a 59-41 vote Friday night, just minutes after it arrived from the House. Democrats opposed the measure because it would require another painful debt-limit debate early next year.
    The move continues a standoff over the debt limit but could set the table for negotiations this weekend on compromise legislation that could pass the Democratic Senate and the GOP-controlled House before an Aug. 2 deadline to prevent a potentially disastrous default on U.S. obligations like interest payments and Social Security checks…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Senate quickly acts to block House debt-ceiling plan: The Senate voted Friday evening to reject Speaker John A. Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan just hours after it moved through the House, setting up a dramatic weekend of negotiations as Congress works to stave off a potential federal default.
    The Senate tally was 59-41 on the motion to table the House plan, including some Republican votes.
    Even as leaders from both parties engage in frenetic talks on the way forward, the House will hold yet another symbolic vote. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced the chamber plans to hold a vote on legislation that closely mirrors Reid’s plan, planning to kill it even before the Senate can adopt it.
    In a statement on the earlier House vote, White House press secretary Jay Carney called Reid’s plan the basis for final compromise and called for an end to “political exercise[s].”
    “The president urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House – a plan the president can sign by Tuesday,” he said…. – LAT, 7-29-11
  • Now, Congress down to its last strike to avoid debt-ceiling default: By rejecting the bill passed by the House Friday, the Senate essentially now has one last shot to get a debt ceiling increase through Congress before the Aug. 2 deadline.
    After a night of high drama on Capitol Hill, a legislative solution to the debt crisis now shifts to the Senate, where leaders of both parties must now try to guess what will pass in the House – perhaps the worst bet in all of politics.
    The situation is the result of strategic mistakes in the buildup to Friday’s debt-ceiling votes, which produced an outcome exactly the opposite of what GOP leaders had hoped. Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio had hoped to win support from House Democrats this week by scaling back the House’s earlier “cut, cap, and balance” bill. With Democratic support in the House, the bill would have had a credible shot in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
    Instead, his proposal alienated not only House Democrats but also the president and GOP conservatives. After an aborted attempt to hold a vote Thursday, an amended bill did at last pass the House Friday, 218 to 210, but without a single Democratic vote and without 22 Republican defectors. Later Friday, it failed in the Senate, which voted to table Mr. Boehner’s bill, 59 to 41, effectively derailing it…. – CS Monitor, 7-29-11

JULY 29, 2011: HOUSE VOTES & PASSES BOEHNER’S REVISED DEBT CEILING BILL 218-210

U.S. House passes Boehner debt plan: With only a handful of Republicans in opposition, the House on Friday voted, 218 to 210, to approve Speaker John Boehner’s bill to raise the nation’s debt limit for a few months. The measure was revised earlier in the day to make it more palatable to conservatives. No Democrats supported the bill. Senate Democrats say they cannot support the bill in its current form.

“I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the President of the United States. I stuck my neck out a mile. This House has acted and it is time for the administration and our colleagues across the aisle, put something on the table! Tell us where you are!” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“Washington Democrats are all that stand between the American people & a responsible resolution to this debt crisis. The House has now passed not one, but two bills that would cut spending & avoid a national default, while the Senate hasn’t even passed a budget. Americans will tolerate the inaction of the Senate no longer. The Senate should pass the House bill at once & send it to the president’s desk. — Speaker of the House John Boehner

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell Comments on House-Passed Bill to Prevent Default: “The House has now passed its second bill in two weeks that would prevent a default and significantly cut Washington spending. The Senate is a different story. Rather than working towards a solution to this crisis the way the Republican majority in the House has, the Democrat majority here in the Senate has been wasting precious time rounding up ‘no’ votes. Rather than come up with a bill that can pass, they’ve been busy ginning up opposition to everything else. Now it’s time for them to act. I eagerly await the Majority Leader’s plan for preventing this crisis.”

“Keep the pressure on Washington and we can get past this” … “The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email. Tweet. –BO”

“This administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling. Congress has the authorities necessary to ensure that we meet our obligations…. Only Congress can increase the statutory debt ceiling. That’s just a reality.” — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

  • Debt deal politicians race against the clock: The White House and Senate Democratic leaders want to finalize a debt ceiling deal with top congressional Republicans by the end of Friday night, fearing that waiting until Saturday could jeopardize efforts to get a final package to President Barack Obama before next week’s critical deadline. It’s far from clear whether they can achieve that.
    Now that the House has passed its bill, the White House wants congressional leaders to race against the clock and reach a compromise before midnight, a deadline imposed by the Senate’s arcane procedural requirements and the failure to reach a deal so far.
    Once the Senate rejects the House bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to begin the process of moving to a final vote on a new plan by Monday morning.
    That means he needs to file a procedural motion — known as cloture — by Friday night to reach his goal. The Senate could only move forward on that plan only after several days of floor consideration and if Reid then secures 60 votes, unless senators allow the majority leader to speed up the schedule.
    But Reid and the White House do not have a deal with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Talks ground to a halt as House Republicans moved forward with their own plan that Democrats oppose. That means Reid may file cloture on his own plan to raise the debt ceiling without GOP support…. – Politico, 7-29-11
  • John Boehner debt ceiling bill passes; Senate deal making begins: Ending a 24-hour roller coaster ride, the House narrowly approved a Republican-backed debt ceiling bill Friday after Speaker John Boehner won back wavering conservatives by adding a provision threatening default next year if Congress doesn’t first approve a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
    In closing remarks, from the well of the chamber, the weary Ohio Republican was alternately defensive and defiant. “I have worked with the president and the administration from the beginning of this year to avoid being in this spot. I have offered ideas. I have negotiated,” Boehner said emotionally. “I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States. I put revenues on the table in order to come to an agreement to avert us being where we are.”
    Left unsaid was how much the forces in his own party had pulled him back — especially on the revenue issue. “To the American people, I would say we’ve tried our level best,” Boehner said. “We’ve done everything we can to find a common-sense solution that could pass both houses of this Congress and end this crisis.”… – Politico, 7-29-11
  • House passes GOP debt limit plan: Can they do it in time? Twenty-four hours later than planned — and only after a change to mollify conservative Republicans — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, put together enough votes to rescue his debt limit fix Friday.
    The 218-210 vote, along party lines, came four days before President Obama says he’ll run out of the borrowed money that keeps the federal government from paying its bills.
    The House vote kicks the issue once again to the slower-moving Senate, where rules make it all but impossible to vote out a plan before Monday.
    “I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States,” Boehner said, rallying the House to vote for his plan. “It’s time for our colleagues across the aisle to put something on the table! Tell us where you are!”
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. vowed to do just that. He had been waiting on the House plan all week, prepared to immediately vote it down.
    “No matter how long Republicans delay, the deadline will not move. We have hours — I repeat, hours — to act,” Reid said, announcing his plan Friday morning to move forward with or without the House. “This is likely our last chance to save this nation from default.”
    Under Senate rules, the earliest a vote could take place on that plan would likely be Monday or even Tuesday — the day the Obama Administration says it will run out of borrowed money. That would give the House just hours to agree to the Senate version and send the bill to the president…. – USA Today, 7-29-11
  • House passes Boehner debt bill: President Obama emerged from several days of radio silence Friday with an impassioned appeal to the masses to save the country from the politicians.
    As the debt ceiling crisis ticked down toward Tuesday’s witching hour when the government runs out of cash, Obama asked the country to bombard Congress demanding a balanced compromise that calms markets and salvages America’s credit rating…. – NY Daily News, 7-29-11
  • House approves revised Boehner debt-ceiling plan: After a belabored and bruising struggle to appease conservatives, the House of Representatives has passed Speaker John Boehner’s bill to raise the debt limit and reduce the deficit.
    The bill passed on a 218-210 vote, winning no Democratic support while losing 22 Republicans. It now moves to the Senate where Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said it will go nowhere.
    With just four days left before the government can no longer pay all of its bills, Reid is working on a separate proposal aimed at winning support for Republican moderates in that chamber…. – LAT, 7-29-11
  • House approves GOP bill extending debt limit: Republicans have muscled legislation to extend the government’s borrowing authority and cutting spending through the House over solid Democratic opposition.
    The 218-210 vote sets up a confrontation with the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Barack Obama, who say the GOP-written measure will die in the Senate. They say the bill would wreak economic havoc because it would force lawmakers to vote on another extension of the debt ceiling early next year, in the heat of presidential and congressional campaigns… – AP, 7-29-11
  • House Passes Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase: The House of Representatives on Friday approved a plan for a short-term increase in the debt ceiling and cuts in spending, ending a week of intense fighting among Republicans and shifting the end game of the debate to the Senate.
    The vote was 218-210, leaving House Speaker John A. Boehner with 22 Republicans who were unwilling to support his efforts to get a bill approved.
    Urging passage for the bill, an emotional Mr. Boehner angrily accused President Obama and his Democratic allies of negotiating in bad faith for weeks and called the bill the only way to “end this crisis now.”… – NYT, 7-29-11
  • Boehner Bill Passes House, Focus Shifts to Senate: House Republicans rallied enough conservatives Friday evening to pass House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-limit bill after days of delay that put into question whether the speaker could secure votes in his caucus.
    The final vote was 218 to 210; Boehner needed 216 votes to pass the measure. No Democrats supported the bill.
    Senate Democrats say the bill will not pass in that chamber, and are likely to kill the measure immediately but putting it aside or “tabling” the measure. However, it is likely that the Boehner bill will be used as a legislative vehicle to pass a new compromise bill in the Senate that, if passed this weekend, would be sent back to the House.
    The House would then have to pass that measure in order for President Obama to sign it. All of this needs to happen before midnight Aug 3., when the United States runs out of the ability to borrow money, according to the Treasury Department…. – PBS Newshour, 7-29-11
  • House nears vote on GOP debt bill; Dems oppose: Partisan to the core, Congress groped uncertainly Friday for a way to avoid a government default threatened for early next week. “We are almost out of time,” warned President Barack Obama as U.S. financial markets trembled…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • House to Vote on Debt-Ceiling Bill That Obama, Senate Oppose: House Speaker John Boehner plans to take his proposal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling to a vote in the chamber at about 6 p.m., Republican leaders announced.
    The vote is scheduled to occur between 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. in Washington, according to leaders’ announcement….
    President Barack Obama today said Republicans and Democrats are in “rough agreement” on their plans to raise the nation’s debt limit with just four days before a threatened U.S. default and the time for compromise is “now.” Still, the Senate and House stood at odds, with Senate leaders planning to kill the House plan and Obama threatening a veto.
    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, said his party has the votes to pass Boehner’s plan today. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he will move to a vote on his competing measure and held out hope for a deal with Republican leaders…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Boehner’s Bill and the Balanced Budget Amendment: Speaker John A. Boehner’s debt ceiling bill would essentially require a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress before the nation’s debt ceiling could be raised next year.
    Under Mr. Boehner’s plan, which members began debating Friday afternoon, the nation’s debt limit could be raised by $1.6 trillion in February — but only if the nation’s archivist reports that a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution has been sent to the states for ratification.
    The legislation was amended Friday morning to say that the debt ceiling would be increased only if “the archivist of the United States has submitted to the states for their ratification a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States pursuant to a joint resolution entitled ‘Joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States.’”… – NYT, 7-29-11
  • John Boehner changes debt limit plan to secure Tea Party support: It looks like the House Republican leadership may have found a way to get their members to vote in favor of their debt limit plan: By adding a Balanced Budget Amendment requirement that makes the bill even more toxic to Senate Democrats and the White House. Even before the change, Democrats had vowed to vote down the bill….
    What changed? Members say the bill is being changed to tie a second debt ceiling increase roughly six months from now to successfully sending a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states, which would require a 2/3 majority in both the House and the Senate.
    They say a vote on the new version of House Speaker John Boehner’s plan will be held today between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time – and the bill will pass…. – CBS News, 7-29-11
  • Republican senators consider backing Reid debt plan: The House plans on voting on Speaker John Boehner’s debt limit plan this evening, but with its demise imminent in the Senate, some Senate Republicans are considering getting behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s alternative plan.
    “I voted for cut, cap, and balance,’” Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts said today, in reference to the House Republicans’ initial debt limit plan. “I’ll vote for Boehner, and I’ll vote for Reid. I’ve already said that. We need to move our country forward. It’s time.”
    Senate Democrats have promised to reject Boehner’s plan, which would only extend the nation’s borrowing authority for another six months. Democrats say it would be unwise to re-create the debate over the debt ceiling and deficit reduction again, just before Christmas.
    Reid’s plan would extend borrowing authority at least through 2012. Like Boehner’s plan, it calls for significant spending cuts and doesn’t make any tax increases. Both plans call for a bipartisan commission to come up with longer-term deficit and debt reduction plans…. – CBS News, 7-29-11
  • Obama calls for debt #compromise on Twitter: Phones are once again ringing off the hook on Capitol Hill after President Obama repeated his request for voters to call their representatives and let them know what they think about the ongoing debt debate.
    The Capitol call center alerted House offices Friday that the high level of incoming calls put the House phone circuits near capacity. The House faced a similar influx of calls earlier in the week after the president urged people to get involved.
    “On Monday night, I asked the American people to make their voice heard in this debate, and the response was overwhelming,” Mr. Obama said in a White House address this morning. “So please, to all the American people, keep it up. If you want to see a bipartisan compromise, a bill that can pass both houses of Congress and that I can sign, let your members of Congress know.”
    He urged people to call, email, or contact their congressmen via Twitter — “Keep the pressure on Washington and we can get past this,” he said. He repeated the message on his 2012 re-election Twitter feed: “The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email. Tweet. –BO”… – CBS News, 7-29-11
  • As congressional debt-ceiling plans founder, eyes turn to executive option: There is growing pressure on President Obama to simply declare an increase in the debt ceiling by executive order and tell everyone else: Deal with it…. – CS Monitor, 7-29-11
  • Rejecting the 14th Amendment, Again: While President Obama’s critics on the right regularly call him a tyrant, in the debt-limit showdown he is flatly rejecting presidential powers that others claim for him.
    On Friday, in its most definitive statement yet on the subject, the White House again ruled out the possibility that Mr. Obama would cite the 14th Amendment to disregard the debt-limit law and unilaterally order government borrowing to proceed if no deal was reached by Tuesday’s deadline for raising the debt ceiling.
    Several House Democratic leaders, former President Bill Clinton and some constitutional lawyers in recent days have said Mr. Obama should, if necessary, invoke the amendment, which holds that “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.”… – NYT, 7-29-11
  • Why won’t Obama just declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional?: “Only Congress can increase the statutory debt ceiling,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at today’s briefing. “That’s just a reality.” Carney was responding to a suggestion floating around that the White House could invoke the 14th amendment of the Constitution to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval—should it come to that.
    But is Carney right? A growing number of top Democrats strongly disagree and think the 14th amendment option is a good last resort. “Is there anything that prohibits him from doing that?” Iowa Senator Tom Harkin told The Hill today. “The answer is no.” Thursday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer described it as the least bad option if Congress doesn’t act. Former President Bill Clinton’s on board, too. And a growing number of law professors and legal scholars are now arguing that Obama would actually prevail…. – WaP, 7-29-11
  • Markets on edge as debt limit debate drags on: The word of the day in financial markets: Anxious. On Friday, traders did something they rarely do: they sold what are considered to be the world’s safest short-term investments. Traders typically buy short term U.S. Treasurys on Friday because they want their money in a safe place in case something happens over the weekend to rattle markets.
    But this week, they instead bought longer-duration bonds as concerns grew that the federal government may not be able to pay all of its bills next month. Yields on bonds due in one month rose higher than those due in six months. The higher the yield, the higher the implied risk of the bond.
    Analysts say it’s a clear sign a short-term default is a growing possibility…. – AP, 7-29-11

JULY 29, 2011: OBAMA ADDRESSES THE NATION ON THE DEBT CRISIS — HARRY REID MOVES FORWARD WITH SENATE VOTE ON DEBT PLAN — SHOWDOWN ON SUNDAY

President Obama says Boehner plan has no chance of becoming law: Speaking four days before a potentially disastrous U.S. default, President Obama said the plan that House Speaker John A. Boehner is working furiously to pass “does not solve the problem. It has no chance of becoming law.”
He urged the Senate to move quickly to produce a bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling. “The time for putting party first is over,” he said.

“Any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan. I urge Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House, a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.” — President Barack Obama

“The time for putting party first is over. The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now. And I’m confident that we can solve this problem.” — President Barack Obama

“I know the Senate compromise bill Democrats have offered is not perfect in Republican eyes. Nor is it perfect for Democrats. But together, we must make it work for all of us. It is the only option. The settlement on the table will never give either party everything it wants. But it already meets the Republicans’ demands.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“No matter how long Republicans delay, the deadline will not move. We have hours – I repeat, hours – to act. That is why, by the end of the day today, I must take action on the Senate’s compromise legislation. … This is likely our last chance to save this nation from default.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“You’ve got the speaker of the House doing his job. Speaker Boehner has been doing the hard work of governing, working day and night to put together a bill that can actually pass the House of Representatives and end this crisis now…. It’s about time our Democratic friends join us.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“Another day wasted while the clock ticks. Now is the time to compromise so we can solve this problem and reduce the deficit.” — White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote Thursday night on Twitter

  • Timeline: How U.S. debt talks spiraled into crisis: The United States drifted closer to a credit rating downgrade and default on Wednesday as President Barack Obama’s Democrats and their Republican rivals worked on competing plans to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling. Following is a timeline of the U.S. debt debate… – Reuters, 7-29-11
  • Obama Calls for Debt Deal as Boehner Looks for Votes: President Obama called on Congress on Friday to produce a fiscal plan that could be passed with votes from both parties, as House Republicans hardened their position and Senate Democrats said they would move ahead with their own plan.
    After a caucus meeting to round up the votes needed for House passage, Republicans said that Speaker John A. Boehner had agreed to modify his plan, which raises the debt ceiling only enough to last a few months, to make the next round of spending cuts and debt relief contingent on Congressional approval of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
    That, lawmakers confirmed, won pledges of enough votes to allow Mr. Boehner to pass his bill, which was put on hold at the last minute on Thursday, with only Republican votes, including those of many from the Tea Party faction. But it would only make the House bill more unpalatable to the White House and the Democratic leadership.
    “Any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan,” Mr. Obama said. “I urge Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House, a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.”
    Mr. Obama urged Republicans in the House and Senate to abandon a bill that “does not solve the problem” and has no chance of passage in the Senate.”…. – NYT, 7-30-11
  • Obama urges Senate to forge compromise on debt limit, rejects House efforts: President Obama, warning that time is running out to lift the federal debt ceiling, said Friday that a House GOP plan has “no chance of becoming law,” and he urged Senate Democrats and Republicans to come together on a “bipartisan compromise.”
    Obama spoke as House Republican leaders labored Friday to rescue a debt-limit plan opposed by their party’s arch-conservatives. But he reiterated that the House leaders are wasting their time by trying to pass a measure that includes a short-term raise of the debt ceiling.
    On Capitol Hill, the House GOP leaders offered party members a reworked plan Friday morning designed to appeal to the tea party-allied conservatives, and several previously skeptical lawmakers said they would now support it. Members who exited a House Republican Conference meeting said the new proposal would not change the first step of their original two-stage plan to raise the debt limit but would call for Congress to send to the states a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution as a prerequisite for the second stage of the debt-ceiling increase to take effect early next year…. – WaPo, 7-29-11
  • Obama Calls for Bipartisan Solution on Debt: President Obama on Friday morning urged deadlocked lawmakers to find a way to resolve their differences and compromise as the clock ticks toward the possibility of a default if the nation’s debt ceiling is not raised by Tuesday.
    “What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan,” Mr. Obama said. “It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people, not just one faction.”
    “I urge Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground,” he added in brief remarks in the Diplomatic Reception Room.
    Mr. Obama urged Republicans in the House and Senate to abandon a bill that “does not solve the problem” and has no chance of passage in the Senate.
    “There are a lot of crises in the world that we can’t always predict or avoid,” he said. “This isn’t one of those crises.”… – NYT, 7-29-11
  • Obama ready to work through weekend for debt fix: President Barack Obama said on Friday he was ready to work with top Democrats and Republicans through the weekend to get a debt ceiling accord.
    In remarks at the White House, Obama said he was confident a solution could be reached despite the impasse that has raised the prospect of a U.S. credit rating downgrade and default…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
  • Obama urges action as debt stalemate continues: With just days left to reach a deal, negotiations over raising the debt ceiling remain stalemated, but President Obama said Friday morning that he was confident a bipartisan solution is achievable.
    Even as he expressed optimism, however, Mr. Obama delivered a stern warning to Congress: “For all the intrigue and all the drama that’s taking place on Capitol Hill right now, I’m confident that — but as I said earlier, we are now running out of time. It’s time for everybody to step up and show the leadership the American people expect.”
    Mr. Obama delivered his remarks from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room — a setting perhaps chosen to send a message to the House, where diplomacy appeared to be sorely lacking Thursday night. Conservative Republicans on Thursday delivered a stinging rebuke against House Speaker John Boehner, when they refused to support his debt limit plan, which would have increased the U.S. borrowing limit by up to $900 billion while cutting more than $900 billion in spending over the next decade…. – CBS News, 7-29-11
  • With House debt ceiling bill stalled, Harry Reid makes his move: With House action stalled, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday he’d take the lead and move his bill to raise the national debt limit and avert an economy-shaking default next week.
    Calling his plan “the last train out of the station,” Reid said there are only hours to act before Tuesday’s Treasury deadline, so he plans to file a procedural motion Friday to move towards a final vote in the next few days.
    “That is why, by the end of the day today, I must take action on the Senate’s compromise legislation,” he said.
    Republicans are opposed to Reid’s plan, saying that it would give President Barack Obama too long of a debt ceiling increase by extending it through 2012. And they criticize its proposed savings of $1 trillion from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling it a gimmick.
    But Reid said he was about to make “tweaks” to his plan to win GOP support, which he would need to get 60 votes and break a possible filibuster attempt.
    “A Band-Aid approach to a world crisis is an embarrassment to Congress, to this country and to the world,” Reid said. “Our economy cannot bear this kind of uncertainty any longer.”… – Politico, 7-29-11
  • As debt ceiling deadline looms, default or compromise?: Washington awoke Friday morning to a possibility that has been widely shrugged off for weeks, but suddenly seems chillingly real: Could the government actually default?
    The delay and disintegration of a House vote on the debt limit late Thursday is the latest sign that Congress is mired in legislative gridlock just four days before the Aug. 2 deadline for lifting the country’s borrowing authority.
    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed to return to his bill Friday, but Thursday’s chaos — hours of private meetings, praying and postponed votes — raises fresh concerns that the country is stumbling toward a possible default and downgrade of its credit rating…. – Politico, 7-29-11
  • House GOP tries to rescue debt-limit plan; Obama to make statement: House Republican leaders labored Friday to rescue a debt-limit plan opposed by their party’s arch-conservatives, as President Obama prepared to reenter the fray with a morning statement on the status of negotiations to avert a potentially disastrous U.S. default now only four days away.
    The White House announced that Obama would deliver his previously unscheduled statement at 10:20 a.m. Eastern time. Administration officials indicated earlier that Obama and fellow Democrats remain opposed to the House GOP plan and its provision for a two-stage increase in the federal debt ceiling tied to large spending cuts. The White House wants a single increase in the $14.3 trillion debt limit that would last into 2013, arguing that a series of short-term raises would fail to calm the markets, possibly trigger a credit-rating downgrade and become embroiled in election-year politics.
    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called a 10 a.m. meeting with his party members to plot the way forward after he was forced to cancel a vote on his plan late Thursday in the face of persistent opposition from recalcitrant conservatives.
    In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) appealed Friday to his chamber’s Republicans to help him pass his compromise bill and invited Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to a new round of negotiations. He urged House Republicans to “break away from the shrill voices of the tea party” and return to the party of Ronald Reagan…. – WaPo, 7-29-11
  • Senator Reid: Moving forward with debt limit bill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday said that he “cannot wait any longer” for the Republican-led House of Representatives to act on a debt limit increase and he will begin taking steps to move legislation…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
  • Senate Dems to push ahead with debt-limit bill: The Senate Democratic leader says he will move ahead with a debt-limit bill as a rival proposal remains stalled in the House.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday that his plan would cut $2.5 trillion from the deficit over a decade and avert a debilitating default. He said it’s likely the last chance to save the nation from default with a Tuesday deadline looming. The Nevada Democrat said he has invited his counterpart, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, to negotiate with him.
    Reid’s move sets up a potential showdown vote in the Senate on Sunday. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Reid will move forward on Senate debt-ceiling plan: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Friday morning that he would take action on the Senate’s version of a debt-ceiling compromise, one day after House Republicans postponed Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) debt-ceiling proposal as leaders scrambled to whip up support for the plan.
    “No matter how long Republicans delay, the deadline will not move. We have hours – I repeat, hours – to act,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “That is why, by the end of the day today, I must take action on the Senate’s compromise legislation.”
    “This is likely our last chance to save this nation from default,” Reid added.
    Reid’s remarks came as the White House announced that President Obama would make a statement on the status of debt negotiations at 10:20 a.m. There were no obvious signs of compromise in the Senate as the day began.
    Reid said that he had invited Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to sit down and “negotiate in good faith knowing the clock is running down.”
    “I hope will accept my offer,” Reid said.
    “I know the Senate compromise bill Democrats have offered is not perfect in Republican eyes. Nor is it perfect for Democrats,” he added. “But together, we must make it work for all of us. It is the only option. The settlement on the table will never give either party everything it wants. But it already meets the Republicans’ demands.”
    McConnell took the Senate floor to urge Democrats to back the Boehner’s measure, though it was not at all clear that the House bill will make it to the Senate for consideration.
    “You’ve got the speaker of the House doing his job,” McConnell said. “Speaker Boehner has been doing the hard work of governing, working day and night to put together a bill that can actually pass the House of Representatives and end this crisis now.” “It’s about time our Democratic friends join us,” he said. … – WaPo, 7-29-11
  • Senate Dems to move ahead with debt-limit bill: Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid served notice Friday that he’s pushing ahead with his debt-limit bill as House Speaker John Boehner’s rival measure languished in limbo, further escalating a wrenching political standoff that has heightened fears of a market-rattling government default.
    “This is likely our last chance to save this nation from default,” Reid declared glumly on the Senate floor, as a Tuesday’s deadline drew closer.
    Reid’s move came with Boehner’s bill still in wait of a vote and a bitter standoff between GOP leaders and their conservative rank and file. Demoralized House Republicans were striving for a third straight day to pass the Boehner bill, even though it had virtually no chance of surviving the Senate.
    Reid, D-Nev., said he had invited Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to join him in negotiations.
    “I know the Senate compromise bill Democrats have offered is not perfect in Republican’ eyes. Nor is it perfect for Democrats,” Reid said. “But together, we must make it work for all of us. It is the only option.”
    Reid’s move sets up a showdown vote on Sunday…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Reid vows Senate will act on debt-limit plan: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed today the Senate will act on his plan to raise the nation’s debt limit, saying the economy should not be held hostage by recalcitrant House Republicans.
    “This is likely our last chance to save our nation from a default,” Reid said this morning, after Speaker John Boehner abruptly called off a vote last night on a GOP plan when he could not muster the votes for passage.
    Reid, D-Nev., implored conservative Republicans to abandon their allegiance to the anti-tax, small government Tea Party movement and “go back to being the party of Ronald Reagan.”
    Reid’s remarks drew a quick retort from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who decried “chest bumping” comments from Democrats who said they would oppose Boehner’s plan once it got to the Senate. McConnell, R-Ky., argued it is the Republicans who are trying to govern…. – USA Today, 7-29-11
  • House Again Seeks Votes, After Failing to Pass Debt Plan: House Republican leaders, who had abruptly put off a vote on their proposal to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending, called their rank and file back into another closed-door session on Friday to resume their overnight search for the last few votes they need.
    President Obama was expected to comment on the deepening impasse shortly, and there was no clear sign what the next step would be. Among the several possibilities were changes to the House bill, an attempt by Senate Democrats to leapfrog forward with their own plan, or a new attempt to reach a compromise on the part of all the major players.
    In an effort to break the logjam, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, called on Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, to meet with him on Friday to try to resolve to the stalemate, given the failure of House Republicans to advance their own budget proposal.
    “My door is open,” Mr. Reid said as the Senate convened. “I will listen to any idea to get this done in a way that prevents a default and a dangerous downgrade to America’s credit rating. Time is short, and too much is at stake, to waste even one more minute. “The last train is leaving the station,” he said. “This is our last chance to avert default.”
    Mr. McConnell, who had earlier been working with Mr. Reid on a fallback plan, abandoned that attempt and has been supporting the effort by the House speaker, John A. Boehner, to push through a proposal that would raise the debt limit in two stages — an approach flatly rejected by Senate Democrats and the White House. Mr. McConnell also had been talking with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. but broke the conversation off while the Boehner plan was pending.
    Mr. McConnell, too, came to the Senate floor and offered little indication that he was ready to deal, accusing Democrats of devoting recent days to undermining the House plan. “Our Democratic friends in the Senate have offered no solutions to the crisis that can pass either chamber,” he said…. – NYT, 7-29-11
  • White House opposed to short-term debt limit lift: The White House remains opposed to any short-term increase in the debt limit, unless a broader deficit-cutting deal is agreed and needs time to be voted through Congress, a White House official said on Friday. “Our position has not changed,” the official said…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
  • Boehner’s big bid on debt undone from right, left: Despite his image as a button-down Republican, House Speaker John Boehner walked to the brink of a dramatic and historic agreement to change the government’s spending habits.
    But as he twice approached a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal with President Barack Obama that would have rocked both parties’ bases, Boehner was reeled back in by his caucus’ conservative wing. The muscular, tea party-fueled group not only forced him to abandon a “grand bargain” with Obama, it made him scramble Wednesday to secure the votes for a far more modest deficit-ceiling plan, which in turn is all but doomed in the Senate.
    The events highlight the limits of power for an experienced and well-liked politician who has struggled to budge his caucus’ staunchest conservatives despite constantly reminding them that their party doesn’t control the Senate or White House.
    “The problem with leadership is it has to be conjoined with follower-ship,” Duke University political scientist David Rohde said. “Boehner is not in a position to give orders to his members.”… – AP, 7-28-11

JULY 28-29, 2011: BOEHNER DELAYS VOTE ON HOUSE DEBT PLAN — FRIDAY VOTE POSSIBLE

Republican leader says the House will not vote tonight on debt bill: House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that the chamber will not vote tonight on Speaker John A. Boehner’s proposal to lift the federal debt ceiling. A vote on the bill had been scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, but as that hour approached, House leaders called for an indefinite postponement of the vote, signalling that Boehner, McCarthy and other House GOP leaders did not have the votes lined up to pass the Boehner plan.

Lacking Votes, House Won’t Vote on Boehner Debt Plan Tonight: Republican leaders in the House have announced that there will be no vote on the debt ceiling bill Thursday night, an indication that House Speaker John A. Boehner remains short of the votes necessary to pass his legislation.
Mr. Boehner and his top lieutenants called it a night after more than five hours of furious arm-twisting of freshman Republicans, many of whom emerged from the closed-door sessions appearing to be firmer in their opposition.
There was little indication of what else had transpired during an evening that was supposed to have been a victory for Mr. Boehner as he passed a second debt-limit bill over to the Democratic Senate.
Instead, the evening highlighted the tensions within his conference and the sway that the Tea Party backed members hold within Mr. Boehner’s party.
There was no indication of whether a vote might still come on Friday.

“What a compromise looks like is pretty clear. Significant deficit reduction; a mechanism by which Congress would take on the tough issues of tax reform and entitlement reform; and a lifting of the debt ceiling into 2013 so that we do not have the cloud of uncertainty that is hanging over our economy right now.” — White House press secretary Jay Carney

“It’s Mad Hatter time on the Hill… None of this has anything to do with the economy, it’s all power games inside the Beltway.” — A Senior White House Official

“This bill is not perfect. I’ve never said it was perfect. Nobody in my caucus believes it’s perfect.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band Aid that would put our economy at risk.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“What we need to do is get beyond, you know, voting on dead-on-arrival measures that aren’t going to become law when we have so few days left to reach a compromise.” — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

“Clock ticks towards August 2, House is naming post offices, while leaders twist arms for pointless vote. No wonder people hate Washington.” — White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer on Twitter

  • Factbox: Details of competing debt limit plans: House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid are pushing rival plans to raise the government’s borrowing limit before an August 2 deadline. Reid could modify his plan to attract Republican support once Boehner’s bill fails in the Senate. Here are details of the two plans… – Reuters, 7-28-11
  • Factbox: House factions influence debt/deficit vote: On any major piece of legislation that moves through Congress, various factions within the House of Representatives and Senate can influence chances of success or failure.
    That has been especially true in the debate over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2 in order to avoid a U.S. government default. Here is a rundown of the various factions — many overlap — and how they shaped the debate and how they might influence the final vote:

    TEA PARTY HOUSE CAUCUS…
    HOUSE REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE…
    THE TUESDAY GROUP…
    BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS…
    THE CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS…
    REPUBLICAN SENATOR JIM DEMINT…

    - Reuters, 7-28-11

  • Obama to Speak on Debt Crisis: President Obama will deliver a statement about the debt-ceiling fight at the White House at 10:20 a.m. at the White House. His appearance will kick off what is sure to be an eventful day in the partisan showdown over the budget, with the clock ticking toward midnight on Tuesday, when the government will exhaust its ability to pay all its bills without additional borrowing.
    It is not clear whether Mr. Obama intends merely to exhort Congress or to put any new proposal on the table. On Capitol Hill, House Republican leaders continue to scramble to find the votes they need to pass their version of legislation to cut spending and increase the debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-29-11
  • House Leaders Meet Again to Round Up Votes: House Republicans prepared to head into a crucial closed-door session in the basement of the Capitol at 10 a.m. Friday.
    The meeting will provide another opportunity for the House leadership to determine whether they have the votes to push through their debt-ceiling plan.
    Republican aides said that John A. Boehner, the House speaker, “remains committed” to preventing default and said they expected to vote on the speaker’s plan at some point Friday. But that kind of optimism persisted throughout the day on Thursday and did not end in a vote…. – NYT, 7-29-11
  • Debt ceiling vote postponed; for John Boehner, ‘it’s all on the line’: John Boehner faces the biggest test of his speakership Friday morning as he tries to resuscitate a monumental debt-limit bill that was forced from the floor Thursday night because Republican leaders hadn’t lined up enough votes to pass it.
    On the line: The outcome of a debt-limit increase that has consumed Washington and New York for months, Boehner’s standing in the Republican Conference, and the balance of power between the House GOP and the Democrats who control the White House and the Senate. Republican leaders hoped to put the bill back on the floor Friday, either in its current form or in a slightly altered state, and some in the GOP worried that Thursday night’s failure to move the bill could disrupt markets.
    But Boehner has been in plenty of tough scrapes before, and he tends to stay very cool when others start to panic. He’ll address his troops at 10 a.m. Friday in a closed meeting in the basement of the Capitol with a lot at stake.
    “This is the key week of Boehner’s speakership,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) told POLITICO. “It’s all on the line.” Politico, 7-29-11
  • Obama: Waiting, waiting, waiting: President Obama planned to make some kind of statement last night — after the Republican House passed Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan.
    Instead, as he has for most of the week, Obama sat and waited as Boehner scrambled to find enough Republicans to get his plan through the House — and eventually put off a final vote.
    Largely sidelined since Boehner decided last week to break off direct White House talks, Obama and his team are constantly trying to game out the next moves in the debt ceiling dispute, hoping to avoid the prospect of a government default next week.
    Administration official still expect the Boehner bill to pass at some point, hopefully today. They also expect the Democratic Senate to then kill the Boehner plan, setting up even more talks on a potential compromise.
    Officials also said there’s enough similarities between the Boehner plan and the proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, to get a deal and avoid a potential government default next week…. – USA Today, 7-29-11
  • Boehner fights for debt ceiling bill, as protesters rally against him: The federal government is now just over 4 days away from maxing out its credit card. House Speaker John Boehner is having real trouble even getting Republicans to pass his debt ceiling bill.
    Opponents are planning to stage a protest at 10 a.m. on Friday, as a counter to Monday’s tea party support rally. Protests will be calling on the House Speaker to spare social security, medicare, medicaid and college scholarship programs from funding cuts. That rally comes as Boehner struggles to get enough Republican support to pass his latest debt ceiling-budget cutting plans in Washington, D.C.
    Thursday night, a vote on that plan was postponed for lack of support among his own party members.
    Congressman Boehner told reporters late Thursday, “The bill’s not perfect, I’ve never said it was perfect, nobody in my caucus believes it is perfect. But what this bill reflects is a sincere, honest effort to end this crisis.”
    Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “What we need to do is get beyond, you know, voting on dead-on-arrival measures that aren’t going to become law when we have so few days left to reach a compromise.”
    Carney was referring to the fact that 53 Democratic senators have written a letter to Speaker Boehner saying they oppose his debt ceiling bill and will vote against it, if and when it arrives in the Senate.
    Before the house convenes at 11 a.m. Friday morning, it’s expected Boehner will be spending the morning, twisting the arms of more house republicans to see if he can get enough votes for his almost $1 trillion in cuts to raise the federal debt ceiling before Tuesday…. – KY Post, 7-29-11
  • U.S. House Bids to Salvage Boehner Debt Bill: House Republican leaders, four days before a threatened U.S. default and facing stiff resistance within their ranks to raising the U.S. debt ceiling, plan to make a second try at passing legislation that is headed for a Senate roadblock.
    Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner were forced to scrap action on the measure late last night. They are considering a rewrite for a second time this week after face-to- face meetings with recalcitrant lawmakers failed to yield the votes to push it through the House.
    Skeptics concerned that the plan wouldn’t do enough to rein in the debt were insisting on conditioning part of the borrowing boost on congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
    The measure should be amended to “something transformative that transcends election cycles and has some degree of permanency to it,” said Republican Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a freshman opponent of the measure who met with House leaders for three hours last night as they struggled unsuccessfully to build support for the bill.
    The delay was a setback for Boehner and his leadership team, forcing them to delay a vote until today. They implored Republicans to back a measure that President Barack Obama’s advisers have said he would veto and Senate leaders promised to quickly defeat…. – Bloomberg, 7-29-11
  • Senior White House Official: ‘Mad Hatter Time on the Hill’: President Obama is likely to speak today to try to reassure any panicking Americans and to urge Congress to compromise.
    White House officials had expected that Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, would be able to pass his bill Thursday night and watched in disbelief as he pulled the bill because it didn’t have enough votes to pass.
    While the president believes the debacle on the Hill underlines his belief that passing a small bill is no easier than passing a big one, he also believes the time for a big deal has passed, officials said…. – ABC News, 7-29-11
  • Republican House Leaders Work for Votes Into the Night: The waiting continued at the Capitol Thursday night as the Republican leadership worked late looking for votes that could rescue House Speaker John A. Boehner’s debt ceiling bill.
    At just after 10 p.m., staff members for the Rules Committee were seen walking into the office of Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority whip, prompting speculation that the panel will try to clear the way for the House to consider changes that might win a few extra votes.
    Representatives Tim Scott of South Carolina and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, as well as Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Mica of Florida and Cory Gardner of Colorado, entered Mr. McCarthy’s office. All are Republicans who have expressed doubts about or outright opposition to the bill…. – NYT, 7-28-11
  • Post-Aug 2 plan may be unveiled as soon as Friday: The U.S. Treasury will unveil a plan as soon as Friday evening on how the government will function and pay its bills if it looks like Congress will not raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner, an administration official said on Thursday.
    Republican and Democratic lawmakers are scrambling to broker a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt cap before Tuesday, when the Treasury will no longer be able to borrow funds to meet all of its obligations…. – Reuters, 7-28-11
  • U.S. House Postpones Debt-Ceiling Vote as Compromise Sought: House Speaker John Boehner, falling short of the votes within his own party needed to increase the U.S. debt limit after a night of one-on-one appeals to members, cancelled a vote on a plan that Senate leaders pledge to defeat.
    Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House’s chief vote-counter, told reporters after several hours of closed-door meetings that there would be no House vote tonight.
    Senate Democrats meanwhile are working to break the impasse over raising the debt limit by devising a strict enforcement mechanism to guarantee future deficit savings, according to Democratic officials.
    After the House postponed a vote planned at about 6 p.m. Washington time, the speaker summoned fellow Republicans opposing his plan into his office and walked to McCarthy’s office, where pizza was delivered. Representative Jeff Flake, who went in and out repeatedly, said he remained opposed to the plan after meeting with Boehner…. – Bloomberg, Businessweek, 7-28-11
  • House calls off vote on Boehner debt ceiling plan: House leaders called off a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s plan to cut federal spending and raise the nation’s debt limit late Thursday, after a last-ditch lobbying effort failed to line up the Republican votes needed to ensure passage.
    Party leaders held out hope that further changes could attract wavering conservatives. The House Rules Committee was set to meet at 11 p.m. Eastern time to amend the measure, striking some or all of $17 billion in supplemental funds for Pell Grants, a move that would add to the plan’s $915 billion in deficit savings.
    A meeting of the full House Republican conference is planned for Friday morning…. – LAT, 7-28-11
  • Republicans search for votes with Boehner plan in jeopardy: House leaders worked late into the night Thursday to convince the final few wavering Republicans to back a debt ceiling plan from House Speaker John A. Boehner, even as the Senate stood by ready to immediately kill the plan.
    A vote that had been scheduled for the early evening was postponed just moments before it was to be called, when the GOP leadership recognized it was shy of the 216 members needed to advance the measure.
    In an effort to win over some of the conference’s more conservative members, Boehner was prepared strike $17 billion in supplemental funds for Pell Grants, which would add to the plan’s $915 billion in deficit savings.
    Republicans were eight votes short, but dropped down to two after hours of negotiations, aides said…. – LAT, 7-28-11
  • Debt Vote Crucial to GOP Cohesion: House Speaker John Boehner was working Thursday night to win a high-stakes showdown over the debt-ceiling bill he has crafted, with the outcome crucial to both the deficit debate and his tenure as speaker.
    House Republican leadership aides had expressed confidence all day that Mr. Boehner would win the votes of enough balky conservatives to secure passage of his plan. And win he must, leaders said, if the GOP conference, tugged between loyalties to Mr. Boehner and to tea-party activists, is to be molded into a reliable governing majority.
    “This is a defining vote,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.), a senior member of the vote-counting “whip” team. He described the vote as important not just to the speaker but to the cohesion of the entire Republican House contingent.
    The vote on the measure to raise the nation’s borrowing limit by an initial $900 billion—scheduled for Thursday evening then abruptly postponed—may be of little consequence in the larger struggle to avoid a first-ever default on the nation’s debt. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pledged the bill would die promptly in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
    But to the workings of the House and the future of Mr. Boehner’s speakership, success is vital. The outcome has turned into a contest between Mr. Boehner, an 11-term House veteran, and the tea-party freshmen who made him speaker. Those members were listening to more senior conservatives—especially those such as such Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) who are seeking higher office—as they fueled a rebellion against Mr. Boehner’s approach, demanding more deficit reduction and harder limits on future spending than the speaker’s bill offers.
    Late Thursday, the wavering of those young conservatives forced the delay on the vote for the second time in a week…. – WSJ, 7-28-11
  • House delays vote on Boehner debt-limit plan: The U.S. House is in recess and has delayed a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, as the GOP leadership tries to get votes for passage.
    Two hours of debate on Boehner’s measure, which would raise the nation’s borrowing authority and cut spending by a greater amount, ended hours ago and the House moved on to bills that name post offices. The GOP leadership had said they hope to hold a vote “later.”
    Congress is racing to avert a historic default on America’s financial obligations by Tuesday.
    Boehner met with resistant lawmakers throughout the day to secure the bill’s passage, even though it will likely die when it reaches the Democratic-controlled Senate. Some members of the House GOP majority are balking because the bill does not cut enough spending…. – USA Today, 7-28-11
  • Vote delayed on debt bill as default date looms: A Republican plan to cut the budget deficit stumbled toward a vote in Congress on Thursday and its expected demise could force a compromise to avert an imminent and unprecedented debt default by the world’s largest economy.
    With the measure short of as many as four votes, according to aides, the Republican-led House of Representatives abruptly delayed a vote as Speaker John Boehner struggled to overcome objections from conservative rebels in his own party…. – Reuters, 7-28-11
  • House GOP leaders scrambling for votes for their debt ceiling plan: Republicans in the House of Representatives struggled Thursday to find enough votes within their own ranks to pass a GOP plan to cut future deficits and raise the nation’s debt limit – even though their party leaders were solidly behind the plan.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, abruptly postponed an early evening vote. Instead, he and other leaders worked furiously to persuade 217 Republicans to vote for passage. Recalcitrant Republicans were summoned to Boehner’s office for arm-twisting sessions.
    Many GOP conservatives, under strong pressure from tea party and other like-minded groups, were balking, saying the GOP plan wouldn’t cut federal spending enough – and some said that the nation’s debt limit shouldn’t be raised at all.
    A defeat would be a huge embarrassment for Boehner. “This is a vote that John needs,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y…. – Miami Herald, 7-28-11
  • Debt deal compromise suggested by Democrats: Democrats are aiming for a debt-limit compromise similar to the House Republican plan, with at least one major difference: The second vote on raising the debt ceiling would not depend on Congress passing a broader deficit-reduction package.
    The shape of this potential compromise meshes major elements of the proposals offered in recent weeks by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), according to Democratic officials familiar with the negotiations.
    Under the possible compromise, Congress could still get a second crack at voting on the debt limit within months. But rather than linking the vote to Congress approving the recommendations of a new 12-member committee — as it would be in Boehner’s bill — Democrats prefer McConnell’s proposal that allows President Barack Obama to lift the debt ceiling unless two-thirds of both chambers override his veto of a disapproval resolution, the officials said…. – Politico, 7-28-11
  • Sarah Palin’s Well-Timed Reminder to Freshmen: Sarah Palin has impeccable timing. The former Republican vice presidential nominee took to her Facebook page Thursday afternoon to warn freshman Republicans in the House that they just might face primary opposition if they cave in to demands by their party to raise the debt ceiling.
    “All my best to you, GOP Freshmen, from up here in the Last Frontier. Sincerely, Sarah Palin,” she wrote. “P.S. Everyone I talk to still believes in contested primaries.”
    Just two hours later, House Speaker John A. Boehner was forced to postpone the vote on his proposal to increase the debt ceiling at the last minute, apparently facing a revolt among some of those very members…. – NYT, 7-28-11 Sarah Palin on Facebook, Congressional Freshmen – For Such A Time As This, 7-28-11
  • The weak speaker: How a failed debt vote disarmed the nation’s top Republican: House Speaker John Boehner failed to muster enough GOP votes to pass his plan to raise the debt limit on Thursday night, throwing into question the fate of Boehner’s proposal as well as that of his speakership. Republican leaders must now rewrite the legislation in order to attract more conservatives as they try to pass a revised version on Friday. But considerable damage has been done. Boehner’s negotiating stance in the ongoing effort to trim deficits and raise the debt ceiling by next Tuesday’s deadline is hobbled; any credibility he had in claiming that his restive members could get behind a consensus debt deal has vanished. The Speaker has gone lame. … – Time, 7-29-11
  • US debt crisis: Is Obama’s leadership style suited to the moment?: Despite Obama’s use of the bully pulpit in the showdown over the debt limit, he is not a direct party to negotiations. How much has his cautious leadership style contributed to his predicament?….
    And Obama himself is no longer even a direct party to the negotiations. His White House must rely on its Democratic allies, particularly in the Democratically-controlled Senate, to stay in the loop.
    But certainly there is a dimension to Obama’s leadership style – a tendency to set a policy framework and then let Congress work out the details – that has contributed to the state of play…. – CS Monitor, 7-27-11
  • Why John Boehner is determined to pass his doomed debt-ceiling bill: House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan won’t pass the Senate. Yet he is making huge efforts to ensure it passes the House – including delaying a vote Thursday – because his leadership is at stake.
    House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday expended a tremendous amount of time and energy on a debt-ceiling bill that is doomed to fail, because his credibility as leader of the House depends upon it. If Mr. Boehner can’t marshal his Republicans to back him on this crucial vote, he risks losing his leverage in the debt-ceiling endgame.
    “If this were a parliamentary system, this would have been the equivalent of a no confidence vote,” says Stan Collender, a longtime federal budget analyst and partner at Qorvis Communications in Washington.
    Thursday afternoon GOP leaders delayed the vote on Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan – typically a sign that they have yet to find the 217 votes needed to pass the bill. Even if the Boehner plan makes it through the House, however, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada says that the has the votes to make sure it goes nowhere in the Senate. President Obama has threatened to veto it…. – CS Monitor, 7-28-11

JULY 28, 2011: BOEHNER DELAYS VOTE ON HOUSE DEBT PLAN — DEBT PLAN C EMERGES COMPROMISE BETWEEN BOEHNER HOUSE PLAND & REID’S SENATE PLAN

House Postpones Vote on Boehner’s Debt Ceiling Plan: House Speaker John A. Boehner abruptly delayed an expected vote on Republican debt ceiling legislation late Thursday, shifting business on the House floor in the middle of the debt debate.
The delay came after House lawmakers had already began discussing the legislation that would set up a pivotal showdown between the House and the Senate over how to cut spending and increase the debt limit before the federal government loses its ability to borrow.
It was unclear whether the debate and vote on the legislation was delayed because Republicans did not feel that they had the votes to ensure its passage. — NYT, 7-28-11

“When the house takes action, the United States Senate will have no more excuses for inaction.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“It will be defeated. No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Mitch McConnell: Democrat leaders and the President himself have endorsed every feature of this legislation except one: and that’s the fact that it doesn’t allow the President to avoid another national debate about spending and debt until after the next Presidential election. This assurance is the only thing the President and Senate Democrats are holding out for right now.

“We do not have the votes yet. But today is the day. We’re going to get it passed.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“Harry Reid has three different options. One is to suffer the economic consequences of default, which all of us hope he doesn’t choose. Two is to bring up the bill we sent prior … or to accept the compromise bill that we are sending over today.” — Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader

Reid: Senate Will Vote Down House Short-Term Bill Tonight: “Today the House of Representatives will vote on Speaker Boehner’s short-term plan to raise the debt ceiling. As soon as the House completes its vote, the Senate will move to take up that bill, and it will be defeated tonight. No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now.
Economists have said a short-term deal holds many of the same risks as a technical default. Democrats are not willing to put our economy on the line like that. Our economy and the financial markets desperately need stability. Speaker Boehner’s bill does not provide it. It is time for Tea Party Republicans to stop resisting compromise. They must join Democrats and Republicans of good will in putting the good of our economy ahead of politics.”

  • Debt ceiling Q&A: How did we get here, what happens next? LAT, 7-28-11
  • House GOP Postpones Vote on Boehner Debt Ceiling Plan: House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team urged passage of their short-term debt limit increase Thursday, calling it a compromise that the Senate needs to pass, but delayed a scheduled vote on the bill…. – PBS Newshour, 7-28-11
  • Obama Preps Emergency Plan if No Deal Before Deadline: The Obama administration has begun making clear in the past 24 hours that it is busy preparing emergency plans for how the government would operate if no debt agreement is passed by Aug. 2, and choices would have to be made about which bills would be paid immediately…. – PBS Newshour, 7-28-11
  • Potential Debt Limit ‘Plan C’ Emerges, Democrats Say: Democratic officials are cautiously optimistic that the outlines of a potential compromise – a “Plan C” – are emerging that could bridge the differences between plans pushed by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
    The officials said President Obama has spent the past couple of days quietly reaching out to leaders in both parties to try and start hammering out the details, though it’s clear this is still only in the discussion phase and they are not close to a deal yet.
    Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., hinted at such a compromise earlier Thursday during an interview on Fox News.
    “Let me just say behind the scenes there are discussions underway to find a way forward,” said Conrad. “To how would you harmonize what Leader Reid has come up with and Speaker Boehner has come up with and I’m increasingly of the view that we can do that. That’s good news.”
    The focus of this round of talks is on what kind of “trigger” mechanism the debt ceiling legislation will have to guarantee that a new special committee of Congress actually follows up with real spending cuts later this year. And whether or not positive action by the committee will allow the president to get more leeway on another lift in the debt ceiling so there’s no repeat of the current debate early next year…. – Fox News, 7-28-11
  • House leaders delay vote on GOP bill extending debt limit; vote still expected Thursday night: House Republican leaders have abruptly delayed a vote on a bill extending the government’s debt limit and cutting federal spending.
    House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, said it was “a sensible assumption” that Boehner was still trying to round up the needed votes. Steel said the vote would still happen Thursday night.
    The House was nearing the end of its debate on the legislation when Republicans suddenly shifted gears. They instead moved to a bill renaming a post office in Peoria, Ill.
    GOP leaders have been laboring to line up the 216 votes the debt bill would need to pass the House, and they have encountered opposition from some conservatives. There are 240 Republicans in the House. Few if any Democrats are expected to support the measure…. – AP, 7-28-11
  • House postpones debt-ceiling vote: House leaders have delayed a scheduled vote on the debt ceiling plan offered by House Speaker John A. Boehner, a possible acknowledgement that Republicans lacked the votes to ensure passage.
    The postponement was announced just minutes before the planned 6 p.m. vote. The House instead moved to consider a far less controversial measure — to rename a post office in Peoria, Ill.
    Republicans had been working throughout the day Thursday to lock down support for their plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, even as Senate Democrats vowed to swiftly kill it if passed…. – LAT, 7-28-11
  • Snapshot: What is happening Thursday in debt crisis: The House of Representatives is set to vote on a Republican plan proposed by Speaker John Boehner to raise the debt ceiling in a two-step process that links any borrowing increase with spending cuts. If the measure passes the Republican-controlled House, Democrats vow to defeat it in the Senate using their majority in that chamber.
    The vote in the House is tentatively scheduled between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. EDT (2145 and 2215 GMT).
    During a morning meeting with fellow Republicans, Boehner urges them to back his bill. Wavering lawmakers get resounding cheers as they stand up to say they will support it. Although several lawmakers say after the meeting they have changed their minds and would vote yes, the result is still likely to be very close as it is unclear how many will oppose Boehner’s plan.
    The chief Republican vote counter, Kevin McCarthy, declines to say whether the Boehner bill has enough votes to pass. “We’re moving in the right direction. This conference has moved a great deal in a short amount of time,” McCarthy says.
    House Democrats also meet to discuss the latest Republican plan. The top Democratic House vote counter, Steny Hoyer, says his party would be close to unanimous against the bill.
    White House spokesman Jay Carney calls Boehner’s proposal a “political act” that would not pass the Senate. Carney urges lawmakers to work out a compromise.
    Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid plans a vote in the Senate on Thursday night on the Boehner plan if it passes the House. “It will be defeated” in the Senate, Reid says…. – Reuters, 7-28-11
  • Speaker Boehner Faces His Biggest Test: When the House of Representatives votes on Speaker John Boehner’s plan to cut the deficit by $917 billion over 10 years (according to that new handy Congressional Budget Office score he got Wednesday night) and immediately raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion (which will allow the government to avoid for default for roughly six months), it will, at once, represent the most meaningful vote of his term and an entirely meaningless vote in actually solving the looming debt ceiling deadline.
    Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy have been getting their members in line in hopes of getting 217 “yeas” and passing the plan without any expected Democratic votes.
    If Rep. Boehner loses this vote Thursday, he’ll be widely viewed as a speaker who has no control over his rank and file. Most Hill observers anticipate the bill will pass, and questions about his ability to wrangle the conservative and Tea Party-backed freshmen will be put to rest, for now. That’s what makes the vote so very meaningful.
    However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Speaker Boehner on Wednesday night, signed by all 51 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them, explaining that the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate…. – PBS Newshour, 7-28-11
  • House Republicans challenge Senate Democrats: House of Representatives Republican leader Eric Cantor Thursday challenged the Democratic-led Senate to accept a House-passed bill raising the debt limit or suffer the consequences of default.
    Cantor issued the challenge at a news conference just hours before the Republican-controlled House was tentatively set to vote on a revised proposal to reduce deficits and raise the debt ceiling short-term.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Senate Democrats would reject the revised plan crafted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner…. – Reuters, 7-28-11
  • Boehner Sees Passage of Debt Plan; Reid Vows to Kill It: The House and Senate headed for a pivotal showdown on Thursday evening over how to cut spending and increase the debt limit before the federal government loses its ability to borrow.
    The House began debate and a vote was expected early this evening, with Republican leaders confident of winning over enough holdouts to pass their plan, which would make $900 billion in cuts, raise the debt ceiling for a few months, and come back for more of the same later. But Senate Democratic leaders said that if that happened they would waste no time rejecting the legislation.
    Leaders of both parties and in both chambers said that it was essential to avoid a default on the federal debt, but that was practically all they agreed on.
    The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Senate Democrats would move immediately Thursday night to set aside the House proposal if it wins passage and then take steps to force a vote on Mr. Reid’s own proposal to raise the debt limit through 2012 in exchange for more than $2 trillion in cuts. “No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now,” Mr. Reid said.
    But the House Republican leaders, all but declaring that they now had the votes in hand, said that would put blame for the continuing crisis on the Senate Democrats. “When the house takes action, the United States Senate will have no more excuses for inaction,” said the House speaker, John A. Boehner, just before taking his bill to the floor for debate.
    As they prepared to open debate, he and his fellow Republican leaders seemed confident that they would indeed pass the bill soon and send it to the Senate…. – NYT, 7-28-11
  • Rival Plans Avoid Tough Decisions: The two main deficit-reduction plans in the House and the Senate, which would tie cuts in federal spending to an increase in the debt limit, both defer tough decisions and rely heavily on procedural steps to impose fiscal discipline.
    These devices include annual spending caps on selected government programs and a new Congressional panel to recommend additional savings — with no guarantee that Congress will enact the proposals.
    At the center of the debate on Capitol Hill this week is the question whether the cuts are deep enough and the savings are genuine. To get a deal, Congressional leaders may need to add new enforcement measures to ensure that the promised savings are achieved.
    In a weak economy, many economists and Obama administration officials say, Congress should not make sharp, immediate cuts in federal spending. The leading deficit-reduction plans defer major decisions about exactly how and where to cut…. – NYT, 7-28-11
  • House voting on GOP bill _ key step in debt fight: As Thursday’s crucial vote neared, Republican leaders convinced a growing number of their fractious rank and file to support a House plan to stave off an unprecedented government default. Many of the chamber’s GOP freshmen, crucial to passage, were climbing aboard, but leaders stopped short of claiming victory.
    If the House approved the bill, it would bring President Barack Obama and congressional leaders a step closer to endgame efforts for a debt-limit solution before Tuesday’s deadline.
    At an afternoon news conference, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House would act on legislation that he called “a sincere, honest effort to end this crisis.” Rival Democratic leaders moved ahead on the assumption that Boehner would prevail in rallying Republicans to back the legislation…. – AP, 7-28-11
  • Boehner won’t say if his bill is House’s final offer: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) implored the Senate to take up his debt-limit bill but pointedly refused to say whether it would be the House’s final offer before a potential U.S. default on Aug. 2.
    “We have a reasonable, responsible bill that was put together with the bipartisan leadership of the United States Senate, and I would hope that they would take it up,” Boehner said Thursday at a press conference with House Republican leaders. “There is no reason for them to say no. It is time for somebody in this town to say yes,” Boehner added.
    Asked if the House would remain in session over the weekend — when it would potentially consider Senate revisions to Boehner’s bill — the Speaker replied: “Sure.” He did not answer directly when asked if the House would consider a different version from the Senate.
    A Boehner spokesman, Michael Steel, said after the press conference: “We believe that once we pass the Budget Control Act, the only responsible course of action will be for the Senate to pass it and the president to sign it — which will end this crisis.”
    The House will vote on Boehner’s bill around 6 p.m. Thursday, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said the upper chamber will immediately take up and “defeat” the measure if it passes the House…. – The Hill, 7-28-11
  • Boehner: House debt plan is not perfect but is ‘doable and signable’: House Speaker John Boehner says his plan mixing spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit is not perfect but is as large a step that a divided government can take that’s “doable and signable” by President Barack Obama.
    The Ohio Republican says the measure is an honest and sincere attempt at compromise and was negotiated with Democrats last weekend and that passing it would end the ongoing debt crisis. The plan blends $900 billion-plus in spending cuts with a companion increase in the nation’s borrowing cap.
    But the White House has promised a veto since the measure also would require another debt limit increase early next year and Senate Democrats vow to kill the measure tonight. Boehner declined to say whether further compromise was possible…. – AP, 7-28-11
  • Advantage Boehner: Enough conservatives in the House appear to have decided that it’s down to the Boehner plan versus the Reid plan and that the speaker’s proposal is the lesser of two evils.
    After hours of arm-twisting yesterday within his GOP caucus, the betting is that House Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling bill will prevail by a whisker without any Democratic support. The House has scheduled a vote for today.
    As recently as Tuesday, the speaker’s plan appeared to be a sure loser, and the pressure applied by Mr. Boehner and his troops to cajole members into voting for it has bruised some feelings. But now even most freshman tea party members appear to be on board. We are told that The Journal’s Wednesday editorial “The GOP’s Reality Test” helped to turn the tide. So did other conservative voices, including National Review, which called the Boehner plan a “worthy framework,” and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, who advised members to “keep an open mind.”
    Conservatives in the House successfully urged Mr. Boehner to add more savings and get rid of budget tricks. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the revised plan will save about $917 billion over 10 years.
    Meanwhile, a Democratic debt ceiling proposal from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was exposed as using fuzzy math. CBO’s analysis found that about a half-trillion dollars of Mr. Reid’s advertised savings were from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — savings that are speculative at best.
    Enough conservatives in the House appear to have decided that it’s down to the Boehner plan versus the Reid plan and that the speaker’s proposal is the lesser of two evils. Moving the Boehner plan through the House increases the chances of “bigger spending cuts,” said GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California.
    Mr. Boehner conceded that his plan “isn’t perfect,” but he told colleagues that it’s the best the GOP could hope for with “a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House.” Tea party Republicans, who still feel burned by the false budget… – WSJ, 7-28-11
  • In debt ceiling fight, Boehner lays himself on the line: Much is at stake for the House speaker and the Republican Party as he tries to persuade unruly GOP lawmakers to back his debt ceiling plan…. – LAT, 7-28-11
  • John McCain derides ‘tea party hobbits’ in debt ceiling fight: The Arizona senator says conservatives would end up helping reelect President Obama if they reject the House Republican plan to raise the debt ceiling…. – LAT, 7-28-11
  • Boehner and Cantor To Reid: Pass Our New Bill, Pass Cut Cap N’ Balance, Or Face Default: The Republican leadership in Congress, with Speaker of the House John Boehner and Representative Eric Cantor at the head, told the nation that they are ready to pass their revised plan through the House and to the Senate. They told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the fate of the nation was on his hands, with Cantor telling him he had three options, sit back and watch the U.S. collapse, accept the new bill, or accept prior Cut, Cap, and Balance bill.
    Every time that it seems like resolution is drawing near, both parties make sure to remind the nation that the political show is more important than the nation’s finances. In their latest public appearance, Republicans said time is up, urging Senate Democrats to pass their bill and get on with running the country, without ever recognizing that as both sides blame the other for not passing their own bill, they are both being equally stubborn…. – Forbes, 7-28-11
  • Key debt-ceiling votes loom in Congress as deadline nears: With the high-stakes vote just hours away, House Republican leaders on Thursday made a last-ditch effort to lock down support for their plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, expressing measured confidence that they could persuade skeptical conservatives to get onboard.
    “We’re not there yet, we don’t have the votes yet. But today is the day,” House Speaker John Boehner told members at a morning meeting, according to a GOP source who was not authorized to discuss the private conversation.
    But even as Republican leaders hunted for votes, Senate Democrats announced plans to put the brakes on the House bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said his chamber would vote Thursday night — immediately after the House — to block the Boehner bill…. – Chicago Tribune, 7-28-11
  • Debt ceiling talks: House to vote on John Boehner’s budget deficit plan to avoid government default: House Speaker John Boehner was scrambling Thursday morning to line up the needed GOP support to pass his debt ceiling plan, which is set to be voted on later this evening.
    “We do not have the votes yet,” Boehner admitted to Republicans during a closed-door meeting, Politico.com reported. “But today is the day. We’re going to get it passed.”
    Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and their leadership whips fanned out across Capitol Hill to convince, cajole and brow-beat fiscal Tea Party hawks to back the measure.
    Deep divides within the Republican Party threatened to derail the Speaker’s proposal earlier this week, though an emerging civil war seemed to subside as many members warmed up to the plan…. – NY Daily News, 7-28-11
  • Republican division casts doubt on debt plan: The White House threatened Tuesday to veto legislation pending in the House of Representatives to avert a threatened default, a pre-emptive strike issued as Republican leaders of the lower chamber labored to line up enough votes to pass the measure.
    House Speaker John Boehner faced criticism from some conservatives in advance of an expected vote on Wednesday…. – AP, 7-28-11
  • Boehner: ‘Beyond My Control’ How Ratings Agencies Treat My Debt Limit Plan: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) doesn’t sound all that confident that his debt limit bill would pass the smell test with credit ratings agencies, all of which are watching this debate closely.
    At his weekly Capitol briefing, a reporter asked him if he believed his legislation, if enacted would allow the U.S. to maintain its AAA credit rating. Boehner wouldn’t bite. “That is beyond my control,” he said. “All I know is that this bipartisan bill is as large a step as we’re able to take at this point in time that is doable, and signable and to become law.”
    In a strictly literal sense, this is true — it’s not within his power to determine what Moody’s or S&P does whenever this standoff ends. It’s also worth noting that what the ratings agencies do is often inscrutable, can be arbitrary, and is not immune to outside pressures, as we saw in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But it’s a stretch for him to suggest his actions have no influence over what the agencies do: if he’d agreed to a “grand bargain” with President Obama, he’d confidently be able to predict the country’s current rating would stand. If his plan didn’t portend yet more debt limit brinksmanship in a few months, he’d be on firmer ground than he is now.
    Boehner did tacitly acknowledge that his plan might change, though. Pressed whether his debt limit bill is a “take it or leave it” proposition for Democrats, Boehner would only say, “we have a reasonable responsible approach, there is no reason for anyone to object to it.” Asked whether the House would be in session this weekend, after (presumably) passing his plan, he said “sure.”… – TPM, 7-28-11
  • US Congress can work with lightning speed on debt compromise: The U.S. Congress, known for moving painfully slowly, can kick into high gear when it is staring down a deadline important to the entire country — or when lawmakers are approaching their cherished August recess.
    Luckily for those who want to see Congress promptly raise the the United States’ borrowing limit after months of squabbling, both of those conditions are now in play. Members of Congress have two key dates foremost in their minds right now: Aug. 2 and Aug. 5…. – Reuters, 7-28-11
  • Asian Shares End Mostly Lower; US Debt Ceiling Concerns Weigh: Most Asian markets ended lower Thursday, amid growing concern the U.S. will be unable to resolve an impasse in negotiations on raising its debt ceiling, which could spur a credit downgrade or even a debt default.
    “The scary part of the story is the fact that markets have not priced-in the U.S. defaulting on its debt. Should the unthinkable happen in the next week then a throw back to the chaos of 2008 would again become a reality,” said CMC Markets analyst Ben Le Brun…. – WSJ, 7-28-11
  • Could Boehner and Reid plans both hurt recovery?: With the House looking more likely to pass Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling bill today, and with Harry Reid pushing his own plan, it’s worth asking: How would each of their plans impact the economy?
    From the point of view of helping the economy recover, this is idiotic. For Republicans, of course, increased unemployment and lower GDP increase the possibility of Obama being a one term president. The reason few people are stating the obvious — that there’s something oddly masochistic about harming the economy at time when so many are unemployed — is that both sides are pushing plans that could damage the recovery. That’s because we’re trapped in a Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop, where no one’s talking about unemployment and everyone’s talking about the deficit…. – WaPo, 7-28-11
  • Analysis: U.S. may be entering age of political deadlock: The debt limit impasse in Washington, where a polarized Congress is struggling to avert an imminent U.S. default, points to a deeper crisis — America may be entering an age of political paralysis.
    President Barack Obama’s ability to get any significant legislation passed before next November’s election is all but gone and whoever sits in the White House in 2013 will likely face a Congress unable to tackle major issues.
    A crisis of governance — born of decades of gerrymandering, polarization and exploding deficits — could persist in the short term and may last for a decade, said James Thurber of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.
    “We’re in deep trouble. We are going to have continued gridlock. It’s an era of deadlocked government during a period when the economy is not doing well and we are not doing well internationally,” Thurber said.
    “The world is looking to us for mature decision-making and they are not seeing it. We’re in a situation which is unique in our history. And it’s a very serious situation.”… – Reuters, 7-28-11

JULY 27, 2011: AS JOHN BOEHNER REIGNS IN CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS, HARRY REID PROMISES ALL SENATE DEMOCRATS WILL VOTE AGAINST HOUSE DEBT PLAN

“I didn’t put my neck on the line and go toe to toe with Obama to not have an army behind me.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“There are only three possible outcomes in this battle: President Obama gets his blank check; America defaults; or we call the president’s bluff by coming together and passing a bill that cuts spending and can pass in the United States Senate. There is no other option.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“The fact is, Republicans have offered the only proposal at this point that attempts to get at the root of the problem, and which actually has a chance of getting to the president’s desk.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The bottom line is there’s only one bill in Congress that’s a true compromise. We’re running out of time, and it’s time to get serious about finding that compromise.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“Get your ass in line. I can’t do this job unless you’re behind me.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s letter to Speaker Boehner on Wednesday night, signed by all 51 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them, explaining that the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. — Reid.Senate.gov, 7-27-11

  • Debt ceiling: How would investors react to a default?: As the Aug. 2 debt deadline approaches, investors can envision everything from the stock market dropping like a rock to the economy shrinking as government vendors lay off thousands of workers…. – CS Monitor, 7-27-11
  • Debt-ceiling plans face CBO fire: Does either cut as much as promised?: Added to the political question of whether either one of the competing debt-limit plans can pass Congress is a practical question from the nonpartisan CBO: How much will they cut the deficit?… – CS Monitor, 7-27-11
  • Boehner’s debt ceiling plan has no Democratic votes, says Harry Reid: Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday that no Democrat in the Senate would vote for Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan should it pass the House, where it’s come under fire from conservatives groups and tea-party lawmakers for not going far enough to cut spending.
    The plan is a “big, wet kiss to the right wing,” Reid said at a packed Capitol Hill news conference. The entire 53-member Democratic caucus signed a letter opposing Boehner’s plan.
    Democratic leaders also signaled that a final deal will have to be worked out behind closed doors between leaders of the two parties, while Senate Republicans weighed whether to mount a filibuster against Reid’s rival proposal if it becomes the last option on the table to avert a catastrophic default before Tuesday’s deadline.
    Seeking to exploit fissures in Boehner’s caucus, Democrats repeatedly called on the Ohio Republican to scrap his plan to cut the deficit and hike the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit in two phases by next year. Reid’s plan would also slice the deficit but would raise the government’s borrowing limit through the 2012 elections…. – Politico, 7-27-11
  • On Boehner’s debt-ceiling bill, Democrats expecting few defectors: Few Democrats — if any — are expected to break ranks and vote for Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan Thursday.
    House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has been urging Democrats to oppose Boehner’s proposal, which would bump up the debt ceiling in two increments – a chief Democratic complaint. Two members of Hoyer’s whip team said Wednesday that they believe Democrats will stick together to oppose the plan, which could come up for a vote as early as Thursday.
    A Democratic leadership aide was more confident: “Hoyer has been whipping against the Boehner bill very hard. No Democrats will vote for it.”
    There were signs of the proposal gaining traction within House Republicans on Wednesday. After a blunt speech Wednesday morning in which he told his rank-and-file to “get your ass in line,” Boehner and House GOP leaders had gained several new “yes” votes for the plan. And freshmen appeared to be coalescing around it…. – Politico, 7-27-11
  • In Both Houses, Fortifying Support for Rival Plans: House Republicans and Senate Democrats gained substantial support on Wednesday within party ranks for their separate plans to resolve a looming debt crisis, but the momentum seemed to be pushing both sides further from a compromise.
    Tea Party activists have been adamant about deep budget cuts. A small group of them gathered June 27 on Capitol Hill.
    It was a day in which Capitol Hill seemed to operate in alternate realities: Republicans in the House sharing near universal belief that the Senate will eventually cave and accept their plan, and Senate Democrats assured that they will have the last word over the weekend and ultimately force the hand of the House.
    As the House headed for a vote on Thursday, Congressional officials suggested that Senate leaders from both parties were keeping an open line for a potential compromise they could both brook. So far no such agreement appeared likely, and the Senate moved toward its own series of votes that could run through the weekend and perhaps into Monday, just one day short of the Aug. 2 date that the White House has insisted is the deadline for extending the debt ceiling for paying the nation’s bills…. – NYT, 7-27-11
  • With G.O.P. Unity at Risk, Boehner Tries Tougher Style: Speaker John A. Boehner is a laid-back leader who likes to say that his role is to let the House work its will. But with the nation’s economic standing and his own political future at risk, Mr. Boehner jettisoned his usual laissez-faire approach on Wednesday.
    “I didn’t put my neck on the line and go toe to toe with Obama to not have an army behind me,” Mr. Boehner declared at a private party meeting, according to some House members. He demanded the fealty of conservatives who were threatening to sink his budget proposal and deny him the chance to confront the Senate with a take-it-or-leave offer on a debt ceiling increase.
    Mr. Boehner really had no choice but to go all out. A defeat of that plan — which seemed likely Tuesday night before its prospects improved Wednesday — would have been a disastrous repudiation, in effect a stinging vote of no confidence in him…. – NYT, 7-27-11
  • States nervously watch debt-ceiling impasse: The U.S. government’s stalemate over raising the debt limit is taking a growing toll on states as Tuesday’s deadline draws near, with some canceling bond sales and identifying roadwork and other expenditures that could be delayed.
    “As the deadline to Aug. 2 comes closer, people are really, really worried,” says Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers.
    A failure by Congress to raise the $14.3 trillion federal debt limit would lower the nation’s credit rating and raise borrowing costs for states as well as 7,000 cities, counties, universities and non-profits. That’s partly because many interest rates — for everything from municipal bonds to mortgages — are benchmarked to U.S. Treasuries…. – USA Today, 7-27-11
  • President revs up PR in debt-ceiling debate: As House Republicans slog toward a Thursday vote on raising the debt ceiling, President Obama and his staff have hit the airwaves in a massive, all-hands-on-deck public-relations effort to turn the tide of political opinion in their favor. All told, the president has addressed the press on five different occasions since July 11.
    He has also dispatched his top aides — from senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Plouffe to White House press secretary Jay Carney and economic adviser Gene Sperling — to appear on TV and make his case for a more balanced approach to deficit cutting…. – The Hill, 7-27-11
  • Debt ceiling talks between Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell: Taking square aim at the White House, Republicans prepared to bring to a House vote Thursday a two-step $2.5 trillion debt ceiling bill that will avert default next week but threatens more conflict — and renewed instability — in six months.
    Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remain in conversation over how to defuse the building confrontation before the threat of default next week. But with stocks falling again Wednesday, the fight between Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama has become so personal that each side says the other needs to find some way to save face before reaching a deal.
    Fifty-three senators, 51 Democrats and two independents, signed a letter to Boehner on Wednesday vowing to oppose the House bill. But the speaker is unapologetic about his intentions to use the default crisis to try to jam the Senate. And at a GOP conference Wednesday morning, he enlisted conservatives to be his “army” after he had stood “toe to toe” with the president and put his “neck on the line” for them…. – Politico, 7-27-11
  • Boehner tries to tame GOP on debt ceiling plan: A dust up among a major House conservative bloc and the prospect of tens of billions of dollars in new spending cuts has Republican leadership feeling as if it quelled an uprising on the right after struggling to line up votes for much of the week.
    Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois continued their hard sell of a two-step debt-limit package, meeting in Capitol offices to close the deal and avoid a default on the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt.
    In a closed-door Republican Conference meeting on Wednesday, Boehner demanded his wavering members “get your ass in line” to back his proposal, and some members obliged. Michigan Rep. Thad McCotter, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, switched from voting no to yes during the 90-minute session. Reps. Blake Farenthold of Texas, Billy Long of Missouri and Jeff Denham of California are now backing the speaker’s plan, as are Reps. Darrell Issa of California, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Nan Hayworth of New York and Dan Lungren of California. Lungren even got up during the meeting and likened Boehner to Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon who was president during Lungren’s first stint in the House. Other hard “no” voters have flipped to leaning no or even undecided.
    But despite having momentum on their side, Boehner and his top lieutenants don’t have a big margin for error. Few, if any, Democrats are expected to vote for the debt ceiling package, so Republicans must cobble together 217 votes on their own. They can lose just 23 lawmakers and still pass it. As of press time, at least a dozen lawmakers were whipping “no.”… – Politico, 7-27-11
  • Short-term debt deal poses severe political risks for Obama: Kicking the US deficit can down the road will solve the problem now, but could ruin Obama’s second term… – The Guardian UK, 7-28-11

JULY 27, 2011: CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS MOUNT OPPOSITION TO JOHN BOEHNER’S DEBT PLAN THREATENING ITS PASSAGE IN CONGRESS

S.&P. 500-Stock Index Closes Down 2 Percent: Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street as the impasse over lifting the nation’s debt limit wore on in Washington. In addition, economic statistics were disappointing and some companies delivered corporate earnings fell short of expectations.
The broad stock market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, was down more than 2 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 stocks lost nearly 200 points, or about 1.6 percent. During the trading session, the technology-heavy Nasdaq index fell as low as 3 percent but closed down 2.65 percent.

“This is the bill. I can’t do this job unless you’re behind me…. So get your ass in line.” — Speaker John Boehner told a private meeting of House Republicans, Politico.com reported.

“Members are rallying around the speaker’s plan, and we’re going forward.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor: The House will cut spending. We will hold the line on taxes. With your help we will change Washington, and get government out of the way so America’s economy can grow.

“To hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution. It’s unfair, it’s bizarre. And maybe some people have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better.” — Senator John McCain’s, R-AZ

“Why are we voting on measures that have no chance of becoming law?” — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

“We’re running out of time. It’s time to get serious about finding a compromise…. It’s too bad his caucus is being run by such a small number of people. [House Republicans] are struggling to save a Tea Party bill… The way to resolve this crisis is to ignore the extremists and meet in the middle of the road.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“As we speak, Congressional staff are looking at options to adjust the legislation to meet our pledge. This is what can happen when you have an actual plan and submit it for independent review — which the Democrats who run Washington have refused to do.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“I am confident as of this morning that there are not 218 Republicans in support of the plan.” — Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio

  • Snapshot: Developments in debt talks: House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in the U.S. Congress, is reworking his deficit reduction proposal after some conservatives in his party rejected it and an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found it would save $350 billion less than the $1.2 trillion over 10 years he had claimed.
    House Republicans meet behind closed doors to discuss the emerging new Boehner plan. Some House Republicans who had been leaning against previous versions say they now are leaning in favor of a reworked Boehner plan that is to match any debt limit increase with an equal amount of spending cuts.
    A separate plan crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, is being tweaked after a budget analysis found it would cut $2.2 trillion from deficits, about $500 billion less than claimed. Democrats want at least a $2.4 trillion debt limit hike to provide enough borrowing authority through the November 2012 elections. They are trying to match that number with an equal amount of deficit reduction, a key Republican demand…. – Reuters, 7-27-11
  • Boehner Debt-Limit Plan Gaining Support as Aug. 2 Deadline Nears: House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the U.S. debt ceiling was gaining support among fellow Republicans as leaders reworked the legislation, while Senate Democrats said the measure won’t pass their chamber.
    Republican leaders are moving ahead with plans to vote on the measure tomorrow, less than week before a potential U.S. default Aug. 2, and sought to ease party members’ concerns that it wouldn’t do enough to cut spending.
    The urgency of the debate was reflected in rhetoric on Capitol Hill as well as market reaction to the appearance of what presidential adviser Gene Sperling termed a “stalemate.”… – Bloomberg, 7-27-11
  • GOPers blast Republican Study Committee staffer Paul Teller for undermining John Boehner debt plan: The GOP’s civil war over the debt limit exploded Wednesday, with rank-and-filers calling for the scalp of the Republican Study Committee’s top staffer.
    The aide, Paul Teller, was slammed for sending emails encouraging conservative groups to lobby against House Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling proposal, The Hill newspaper reported.
    Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the RSC, apologized for Teller’s emails in a closed-door meeting with other Republican congressmen.
    Some lawmakers began to chant, “fire him, fire him!,” in reference to Teller, the executive director of the RSC, Politico reported.
    Teller and other RSC aides had sent an email to outside groups urging them to “kill the Boehner deal.” It identified lawmakers for the conservative organizations to target.
    “We need statements coming up to the Hill every hour of the day in mounting opposition to the plan. If we keep this from ever coming to the floor, we have a greater chance of victory than defeating a vote on the floor,” the e-mail read.
    The RSC is a caucus of more than 170 Republican House members, and is widely known for its conservative politics…. – NY Daily News, 7-27-11
  • Democrats reject Boehner plan as Republicans try to build support for it: As Republicans in the House put more support behind a plan from Speaker John Boehner to solve the debt crisis, Senate Democrats and the White House are rejecting it as a non-starter and a waste of time.
    Republican leaders are working to line up support for Boehner’s proposal, which is being reworked after budget analysts found that it would cut spending by less than the $1.2 trillion that he estimated.
    GOP Congressman Mike Rogers says Republicans are gravitating toward it “in a big way.” Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell says it’s the only way to avoid default without raising taxes.
    But the plan is drawing fire from Democrats and from the right. Tea party activists are urging Boehner to reject any deal that doesn’t include steep spending cuts — even if the U.S. defaults. One tea party group is even calling on Boehner to step down.
    Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, whose rival proposal would deliver budget savings of more than $2 trillion, says he’ll wait and see what the House does before bringing his plan to a vote…. – AP, 7-27-11
  • Boehner Asks GOP for Unity on His Debt Plan: Faced with a conservative Republican rebellion, House Speaker John Boehner asked for Republican unity Wednesday, saying he needed “an army” standing behind him to support his plan to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit.
    Mr. Boehner made the plea during a closed meeting of House Republican lawmakers, a senior Republican aide said, a day after the speaker abruptly postponed a vote on the measure scheduled for Wednesday.
    Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) also defended Boehner’s plan, saying in the meeting that he was tired of hearing Republicans criticizing other Republicans on cable television. He told lawmakers “we all need to rally together,” the aide said. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) also endorsed the Boehner plan during a Senate floor speech.
    Several Republicans emerged from the Wednesday morning meeting saying they believed momentum has shifted toward Mr. Boehner’s plan. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, had said Tuesday morning he was “confident” the Boehner bill would fail. On Wednesday, he declined to repeat that assertion. “I don’t know where the votes are today,”? Mr. Jordan said after the morning session. “I just know that I’m against the bill.”
    The delayed vote on the Boehner plan added further confusion less than a week before a possible government default. It was a setback for GOP leaders who had promoted Mr. Boehner’s plan as the best way to raise the debt ceiling while cutting the deficit. House Republican leaders said they hoped to bring Mr. Boehner’s plan to a vote on Thursday…. – WSJ, 7-27-11
  • CBO: Democrats’ debt bill tops GOP’s in spending cuts: The Senate Democratic debt-limit bill would cut future spending by $2.2 trillion over 10 years — much deeper than the House GOP alternative, according to figures Congress‘ chief scorekeeper released early Wednesday.
    The Congressional Budget Office said the plan by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would raise the government’s borrowing limit by $2.7 trillion, and cut $2.2 trillion from future spending, chiefly by limiting the amount of money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    House Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan, meanwhile, would produce just $850 billion in savings, versus $900 billion in new debt authority, according to a CBO analysis released late Tuesday. That sent the Ohio Republican back to the drawing board to rewrite his bill to try to meet his own pledge of topping any debt increase dollar-for-dollar with new spending cuts.
    The CBO analysis could give momentum to Mr. Reid’s plan, though the GOP says spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was going to drop anyway, and so shouldn’t be considered as future savings.
    A Boehner aide said CBO also added in savings from future interest payments that would no longer need to be made on that “phantom” war-spending reduction.
    And the aide said Mr. Reid’s bill now violates the dollar-for-dollar goal Mr. Boehner laid out and that Mr. Reid said he accepted. CBO’s score shows that even including the war cost reductions, the cuts fall half a trillion dollars short of the $2.7 trillion debt increase…. – Washington Times, 7-27-11
  • War of words continues as debt limit deadline nears: With less than a week to go before the Obama administration’s August 2 deadline for raising the national debt limit, Democrats and Republicans continue to spar over the relative merits of two separate proposals – one Republican, one Democratic – and a bipartisan agreement appears far from the horizon.
    Leaders from both parties continued on Wednesday to push for their own plan while lambasting the other. Neither House Speaker John Boehner’s Republican proposal nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democratic plan, however, appears to have the necessary votes to pass through Congress.
    In a press conference on Wednesday, Reid argued that the Democratic plan was the only “true compromise” on the table, and urged lawmakers to rally around it. “We’re running out of time,” he told reporters. “It’s time to get serious about finding a compromise.” The Boehner plan, Reid argued, did not qualify as anything more than a “big wet kiss” to the Tea Party – and he pledged that “every Democratic senator will vote against” it. “It’s too bad his caucus is being run by such a small number of people,” Reid said, of Boehner. “[House Republicans] are struggling to save a Tea Party bill… The way to resolve this crisis is to ignore the extremists and meet in the middle of the road.”
    Even as Democrats blast Boehner for putting forth a plan they say caters heavily to the Tea Party, the conservative movement is, in fact, speaking out against the GOP bill – and many believe Tea Party-oriented lawmakers could prevent its passage in the House.
    “I am confident as of this morning that there are not 218 Republicans in support of the plan,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in a Tuesday morning press briefing…. – CBS News, 7-27-11
  • GOP Retools Plan as Congress Seeks Debt Fix: Six days away from a potentially calamitous government default, House Republicans appeared to be coalescing Wednesday around a work-in-progress plan by House Speaker John Boehner to increase the U.S. borrowing limit and chop $1 trillion in federal spending. But the measure got a thumbs-down from both Senate Democrats and tea party activists, a telling illustration of the difficult politics along the pathway to a deal.
    Democrats and Republicans alike tried to claim the moral high ground in a standoff that has put financial markets on edge. Stocks were falling again Wednesday.
    Boehner, R-Ohio, set out to retool his plan after nonpartisan analysts in the Congressional Budget Office said it would cut spending less than he had estimated — about $850 billion over 10 years rather than $1.2 trillion. GOP leaders planned a House vote Thursday on the reworked plan.
    “We’re moving in his direction in a big way today,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said of Boehner’s plan. Rogers and others cited changes being made in the bill to make sure spending cuts exceed added borrowing authority, and the fact that the House would soon vote on a balanced budget plan.
    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said only Boehner’s plan would resolve the crisis “in a way that will allow us to avoid default without raising taxes and to cut spending budget gimmicks.”
    But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., dismissed the speaker’s plan as a short-term measure that would leave the economy on shaky ground. He said it would not get one Democratic vote in the Senate, dooming it to failure and was merely “a big wet kiss for the right wing.” “It’s not Democrats who have asked for a long-term solution,” Reid said. “It’s the economy. The economy has demanded it.” Reid was asked if there was a “drop-dead date” for a deal to pass the House, be amended by the Senate and reach President Barack Obama in time to avoid default. “Magic things can happen here in Congress in a very short period of time under the right circumstances,” he said…. – AP, 7-27-11
  • John Boehner tries to rally Republicans to his debt plan: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appealed in unusually aggressive terms to his wavering GOP colleagues in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday morning with just a week left to go until the debt ceiling must be raised or the country will default on its obligations.
    At a meeting of GOP House members, the embattled Republican leader told his colleagues, many of whom had vowed to oppose his two-step bill to raise the debt limit that is expected hit the floor as soon as Thursday, to “get your ass in line.”
    The meeting came as Boehner scrambled to rewrite his legislation the morning after a Congressional Budget Office analysis showed his plan would cut the deficit less than advertised.
    In a closed-door meeting for the House GOP Conference in the basement of the Capitol, Boehner worked to rally support from skeptical conservatives, who have been subjected to intense pressure from tea party groups and others who say Boehner’s plan will not impose the kind of structural reform Republicans promised when they took control of the House in 2010.
    With few options on the table except the plan advanced by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), some of those conservatives now seem inclined to finally fall in line behind their leader.
    Republican leaders told the group that they need to stay united and rally around the bill. Boehner also said his bill will be rewritten to either cut more from the deficit or to raise the debt ceiling by less than the $900 billion he had proposed earlier this week…. – WaPo, 7-27-11
  • Boehner To Tea Party: ‘Get Your Ass In Line’: A frustrated House Speaker John Boehner had a blunt message Wednesday for his cavalier Tea Party colleagues: “Get your ass in line” behind the GOP’s debt ceiling plan.
    “This is the bill,” Boehner told a private meeting of House Republicans, Politico.com reported. “I can’t do this job unless you’re behind me.”
    Boehner believes Senate Democrats will cave if Republicans in the House can rally behind his nearly $1 trillion proposal to raise the nation’s debt limit ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline, when the Treasury will run out of money to pay all its bills. So “get your ass in line,” Boehner demanded.
    His spanking of rank-and-file Republicans came after it looked like an all-out war was erupting within the House GOP, which has nearly 100 Tea Party fiscal hawks. Many Tea Party-backed conservatives insist Boehner’s debt plan is too soft…. – NY Daily News, 7-27-11
  • Debt-ceiling plans face CBO fire: Does either cut as much as promised?: Added to the political question of whether either one of the competing debt-limit plans can pass Congress is a practical question from the nonpartisan CBO: How much will they cut the deficit?… – CS Monitor, 7-27-11
  • Democrats say Obama should invoke 14th Amendment: House Democrats said Wednesday that President Barack Obama should invoke a little-known constitutional provision to prevent the nation from going into default if Congress fails to come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling.
    Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, a member of the Democratic leadership, said he told fellow Democrats that Obama should both veto any House GOP plan for a short-term extension of the debt ceiling and invoke the 14th amendment, which says that the validity of the nation’s public debt “shall not be questioned.”
    The White House has rejected resorting to this tactic to keep the nation from defaulting, questioning its legality, but Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, who chairs the Democratic caucus, said “we’re getting down to decision time” and “we have to have a failsafe mechanism and we believe that failsafe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the president of the United States.”
    Larson said Clyburn’s proposal on the 14th Amendment was met with applause by other Democrats at their meeting…. – AP, 7-27-11
  • Administration: Aug. 2 remains critical deadline: Some private economists are suggesting the Treasury may have enough money on hand to pay the government’s bills for another two weeks beyond an early August deadline for Congress to raise the debt ceiling. But the Obama administration insisted on Tuesday that it will run out of maneuvering room after Aug. 2.
    The projection of private analysts is based on the fact that currently the government is sitting on a large amount of cash — $88.5 billion at the close of business on Monday.
    Many analysts believe that this money could be used to meet obligations that are coming due if Congress doesn’t raise the borrowing limit by the Aug. 2 deadline.
    Economists at several financial firms, including HSBC Securities and Wrightson Research, said that the government may have enough cash on hand to make it until Aug. 15, two weeks beyond the current deadline…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • Speaker Boehner’s unconventional sales pitch: More than two years later, Boehner has a new title, speaker of the House. But he has the same problem: He has defined himself as a leader who doesn’t twist arms, instead letting his rank-and-file follow their own consciences. But that strategy has left Boehner struggling to control his flock at the moments he needs it most.
    For Boehner, 61, the past week has likely been the hardest of his seven months as speaker. After leading Republicans into a battle over the national debt ceiling, he now seemingly cannot find a way out of that fight.
    On Wednesday, Boehner and other GOP leaders were furiously trying to persuade conservatives to support the speaker’s proposal to raise the debt ceiling while cutting spending. After a morning meeting — in which the speaker broke with his usual genial demeanor and told Republicans to “get your ass in line” — there were some signs that holdouts were being persuaded.
    Thursday’s vote, then, will be a key test of a political persona that Boehner has been cultivating over two decades in Congress…. – WaPo, 7-27-11
  • Q. and A. on the Debt Ceiling: For a time it seemed safe for many people going about their summers to try to ignore the debt ceiling drama playing out in Washington. If Wall Street so far has not seemed overly concerned that the United States was headed toward default, why should anyone else worry? And there is the long history of crying wolf in Washington: in April everyone finally got up to speed on the threatened shutdown of the federal government just in time to see it averted by an 11th-hour deal.
    But now, palms in Washington are beginning to get sweaty and President Obama is breaking into “The Bachelorette” to address the nation about the debt crisis. Perhaps the time has finally come for a crash course in all things debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-27-11
  • Analysis: Obama’s leadership image on the line in debt saga: President Barack Obama’s credibility as a leader hangs in the balance along with America’s gold-plated credit rating as he strives to break a debt impasse with Republicans and avoid a ruinous default.
    Even if a deal to raise the debt limit emerges ahead of an August 2 deadline — just six days away — Obama faces a risk of being perceived as weak if he appears too willing to make concessions.
    The political fallout for Obama could be far greater if there is no agreement. A default and government-debt downgrade could send the U.S. economy into another recession, potentially dooming Obama’s prospects for re-election in 2012.
    That makes the crisis especially difficult for Obama to navigate and gives Republican lawmakers a fair amount of leverage as they push for steep spending cuts in exchange for raising the legal limit on the country’s borrowing.
    “When you’re running for re-election, you want to have a strong leadership image,” said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University. “The longer there is no resolution, the weaker the president looks.” “He’s got to do something to get an agreement or to state his position so clearly that he can blame the opposition party for not adhering to it,” Wayne added.
    Obama could reap political gains if Republicans are perceived as overplaying their hand. Polls so far show a mixed impact of the crisis on Obama…. – Reuters, 7-27-11

JULY 26, 2011: BOEHNER DELAYS HOUSE DEBT VOTE AS TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS BALK FROM THE PLAN

Boehner delays debt vote: House Republicans have delayed a vote on their bill to lift the debt ceiling as they scrambled Tuesday night to rewrite portions of the measure to ensure that accompanying spending cuts were large enough, according to three senior GOP aides. Budget analysts said hours earlier the plan would only create $850 billion in savings as opposed to the sought-after $1.2 trillion. Originally scheduled for Wednesday, the vote could now happen Thursday.

“As we speak, Congressional staff are looking at options to adjust the legislation to meet our pledge. This is what can happen when you have an actual plan and submit it for independent review — which the Democrats who run Washington have refused to do.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner in a Statement

Speaker Boehner on GOP Spending Cut Plan: “It’s Reasonable, It’s Responsible, It Can Pass”: At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urged President Obama to support Republicans’ common-sense, two-step plan to cut spending and prevent a national default. Following are text and video of Speaker Boehner’s remarks:
“I think I made it pretty clear last night: the President is looking for a blank check. We have a bill that is a reasonable approach negotiated with the Senate leadership that really is commonsense. There’s more cuts in spending than you have an increase in the debt limit. There’s real caps and a real process for cutting spending before the end of this year. And it provides for – I think – the best effort to get a Balanced Budget Amendment enacted into the Constitution.
“It’s reasonable, it’s responsible, it can pass the House and it can pass the Senate – and I hope the President will consider signing it into law.”

“President Obama has run up a dangerous amount of debt since taking office, and I greatly appreciate Speaker Boehner for courageously leading the fight to stop him from running up even more. Speaker Boehner has now put forth two plans; that would be exactly two plans more than what the President has offered. The debt limit is a line in the sand where Republicans can force the tough decisions to fix our nation’s finances, and taxpayers cannot afford for us to back down now. I am for the plan that will cut spending, cap it, and pass a balanced budget amendment, but unfortunately this latest bill does not accomplish that.” — Tim Pawlenty now rejects John Boehner debt plan

Eric Cantor: The House plan is consistent with our commitment to change Washington, stop spending money we don’t have, and focus on growing America’s economy. The President has yet to offer a plan.

“The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government. So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your member of Congress know. If you believe we can solvethis problem through compromise, send that message.” -– President Obama

    • Debt ceiling poll: Voters with Obama: Most Americans would like to see a mix of spending cuts and tax increases be part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, a new poll finds, aligning the majority with President Barack Obama’s position. Of those surveyed for a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday, 56 percent said they want to see a mix of approaches used in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The poll was conducted overnight Monday, as Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced their views on the impasse in negotiations in back-to-back televised primetime speeches.
      Just 19 percent of Americans said they favor a plan like Boehner’s, which would rely solely on spending cuts to existing programs to reduce the deficit. Twelve percent said they would prefer a plan to reduce the deficit only by raising taxes.
      Americans’ blame for the impasse is spread all around, though is particularly strong against congressional Republicans, with 31 percent of those surveyed saying they are responsible for it. Twenty-one percent blamed Obama and nine percent blamed congressional Democrats…. – Politico 7-26-11
    • New polls confirm Obama’s Democratic base crumbles: …”More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base,” the Post reports.
      Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama’s jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president’s measures helped the economy have plunged from 77% to barely half.
      Obama’s overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one. – LAT, 7-26-11

Congressional Budget Office — Plan would cut spending by $850 billion during the next decade — about $150 billion less than the $1 trillion increase proposed for the debt ceiling

INFOGRAPHIC: Where does our national debt come from?: One of the fundamental things to understand when considering the debate about reducing our national debt is how we accumulated so much in the first place.
To explain the impact various policies have had over the past decade, shifting us from projected surpluses to actual deficits and, as a result, running up the national debt, the White House has developed a graphic for you to review and share. – WH, 7-26-11

  • Another Chart for Your Debt Ceiling Discussions: Here is another chart to the same effect, released this afternoon by the White House. It is a more comprehensive accounting of the forces that turned the large projected federal surplus as of 2001 into the large structural deficits that are dominating our politics as of 2011. Thus it attempts to explain a $12.7 trillion negative swing in public finance — from the $2.3 trillion surplus forecast by Bill Clinton ten years ago, to the $10.4 trillion total debt Barack Obama encounters now.
    The chart is more comprehensive in including not just policy changes — deliberate adoption and extension of tax cuts, spending on TARP and other programs — but also the effects of external pressures and shocks, mainly the recession starting in 2008. See for yourself, and click for a more detailed view…. – The Atlantic, 7-26-11
  • Boehner rewriting debt limit plan as clock ticks: Neither the House nor the Senate has a clear path forward for must-pass legislation to allow the government to continue to borrow to pay its bills, putting lawmakers and financial markets alike on edge less than a week before the deadline for heading off the nation’s first-ever default.
    House Speaker John Boehner was forced late Tuesday to postpone a floor vote on his plan, which originally had been scheduled for Wednesday, after nonpartisan congressional scorekeepers said the proposal would cut spending less than advertised. He promised to rewrite the measure, but the move means the House can’t vote on it until Thursday at the earliest.
    Boehner, R-Ohio, needs to do more than pump up the legislation. He needs to shore up his standing with tea party-backed conservatives demanding deeper spending cuts to accompany an almost $1 trillion increase in the government’s borrowing cap. Many conservatives already had promised to oppose it…. – AP, 7-27-11
  • GOP headwinds delay House budget-debt vote: House leaders delayed a vote on a Republican U.S. debt reduction plan after congressional budget officials said it would save $150 billion less than advertised.
    The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said House Speaker John Boehner’s plan would cut spending $850 billion over a decade, not $1 trillion as he said it would.
    The budget office conclusion Tuesday night capped a day in which the Ohio Republican’s plan faced a barrage of conservative criticism that the cuts were not nearly deep enough.
    Four Republican senators with Tea Party links wrote to their House colleagues urging them to vote against the measure. The Club for Growth — which advocates limited government, lower taxes and less government spending, while scoring lawmakers on their fiscally conservative votes — also came out against the plan.
    So did other conservative groups including the Heritage Foundation and a national coalition of Tea Party groups, The New York Times reported.
    In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called it “dead on arrival in the Senate, if they get it out of the House.” And the White House said President Barack Obama would veto the bill if it reached his desk.
    Boehner’s congressional staffers planned to work through the night to rework the measure to achieve the amount of cuts originally pledged, Boehner’s office said Tuesday night…. – UPI, 7-27-11
  • Vote on Boehner Plan Delayed Amid Opposition: House Republican leaders were forced on Tuesday night to delay a vote scheduled on their plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, as conservative lawmakers expressed skepticism and Congressional budget officials said the plan did not deliver the promised savings.
    The pushback on the bill was the latest chaotic twist in the fiscal fracas on Capitol Hill, as the clock ticked closer to Aug. 2, when the Obama administration has warned that the nation risks defaulting on its bills. The scramble to come up with a plan that could be put to a vote, now moved from Wednesday to Thursday, represents a test of Speaker John A. Boehner’s ability to lead his restive caucus. The expected showdown over the legislation is the culmination of months of efforts by Tea Party-allied freshmen and fellow conservatives to demand a fundamentally smaller government in exchange for raising the federal borrowing limit.
    Mr. Boehner rolled out a two-stage plan on Monday that would allow the $14.3 trillion federal debt limit to rise immediately by about $1 trillion in exchange for $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. The plan tied a second increase early next year to the ability of a new bipartisan Congressional committee to produce more reductions.
    The plan was met with skepticism — and in many cases outright rejection — by several conservative House members who said its savings did not go far enough. President Obama and most Congressional Democrats also have rejected the proposal, saying it is only a short-term solution and could lead to market uncertainty and instability.
    Mr. Boehner’s troubles piled up late Tuesday afternoon when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said his plan would cut spending by $850 billion during the next decade — about $150 billion less than the $1 trillion increase proposed for the debt ceiling.
    Mr. Boehner was forced to quickly retreat from the bill. Republican leaders said they would probably rework it to in a way that would reflect the decreased savings by raising the debt limit by less than $850 billion. Such a change would mean that the Obama administration would need to make another request for an increase in a matter of months, making the deal even less palatable to Democrats…. – NYT, 7-26-11
  • Boehner, Reid scramble to build support for rival debt-limit plans: Washington barreled closer to crisis Tuesday as House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid scrambled to build support for rival plans to control the national debt, but both appeared doomed without significant bipartisan modifications.
    House Republicans delayed a vote on Boehner’s bill, which had been set for Wednesday, after congressional budget analysts dealt the legislation a potentially devastating setback by saying it would save far less over the next decade than the $1.2 trillion advertised. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the spending cuts would save only about $850 billion over that period.
    The news from the CBO alarmed conservatives, who were already balking at what they considered timid spending reductions. It also meant Boehner’s bill would not meet his own demand that the cuts exceed the size of the $900 billion debt-limit increase.
    House Republicans were racing Tuesday night to rewrite portions of the measure to bring the numbers into line. The vote could now come Thursday…. – WaPo, 7-26-11
  • Analysis: Little by little, the sides are budging in debt debate: The differences are narrowing, not widening, as the U.S. government struggles to avoid a financial default that neither President Barack Obama nor the leaders of Congress say they want.
    That helps explain why day-old legislation unveiled by the House Republican leadership pulled off something of a political trifecta Tuesday before being scrapped.
    Several rank-and-file GOP conservatives in Speaker John Boehner of Ohio’s own party attacked it.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada labeled it “dead on arrival” in his Democratic-controlled chamber.
    Then the White House said that if the measure cleared Congress, “the president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto this bill.”
    Yet the legislation also represented significant movement from a bill the House passed last week, such as roughly half of its mandated spending cuts, just as Reid no longer insists on tax increases as part of any plan to cut deficits. “We have a bill that is reasonable and responsible,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said earlier…. – AP, 7-27-11
  • Republican debt plan struggles in House: Speaker John Boehner and other party leaders push into overdrive to try to rescue the measure, even as an independent analysis challenges its figures.
    A go-it-alone House Republican plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling teetered on the edge of failure late Tuesday as leaders struggled to rally reluctant lawmakers and to make last-minute changes to curry conservative support.
    Leaders postponed a planned Wednesday vote in the House, an indication of the problems besetting the effort. Even if the plan passes this week, it would face an uncertain fate in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and White House officials said they would recommend President Obama veto it.
    The uphill task, led by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), grew more difficult when an independent analysis posed a new challenge to the figures used in the plan, saying its projected savings would be less than initially estimated.
    Boehner’s challenge arrived at a pivotal moment for both the Republican Party and the country, after months of political deadlock. Just days remain before the federal government hits the $14.3-trillion limit on how much it can borrow, after which it could be unable to pay all of its bills and obligations.
    In proposing their own plan, House Republicans aimed to demonstrate that they could lead the nation away from the brink of economic disaster. But on Tuesday, they largely showed off the deep divisions that have dogged the GOP and Boehner’s leadership all year.
    GOP leaders pushed into overdrive to try to rescue the measure, using arguments, empathy, sweeteners and even a tough-guy movie clip — yes, a movie clip — to rally support.
    To push a plan through the House, Boehner must amass 217 votes. There are 240 Republicans in the House, and few, if any, Democrats are expected to support his plan. So Boehner can afford to lose no more than about 23 members of his party — a difficult task given the opposition of many conservatives to any increase in the nation’s debt limit under any circumstances…. – LAT, 7-27-11
  • Boehner plan runs into GOP rebellion CBO scoring necessitates reworking: Facing a growing revolt in their own ranks, House Republican leaders said Tuesday they are rewriting their debt-limit increase bill after the Congressional Budget Office said Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan does not save as much money as he had claimed.
    The vote had been scheduled for Wednesday, but CBO’s numbers sent the Republicans scrambling to make changes, fouling up the schedule and pushing Congress ever closer to the Aug. 2 date when the government bumps up against its borrowing limit.
    “We’re here to change Washington — no more smoke and mirrors, no more ‘phantom cuts,’ ” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement to reporters. “We promised that we will cut spending more than we increase the debt limit, with no tax hikes, and we will keep that promise.”
    The CBO said Mr. Boehner’s reductions in future spending would save only $850 billion over the next decade, which is less than the $900 billion increase in the debt ceiling he is proposing. That discrepancy meant the bill violated his pledge to have cuts exceed the dollar amount of the debt increase.
    The delay could also give the party’s leaders time to twist arms among conservative lawmakers, many of whom said Tuesday they cannot vote for the plan, and which one influential lawmaker said is short of the support needed.
    “There are not 218 Republicans in support of this plan,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, who heads the powerful conservative caucus in the House and who said he’s voting against the measure.
    Democratic leaders said Mr. Boehner was unlikely to get much support from them.
    “Very few. I don’t want to give a number on it, but I would think very few,” said the House Democrats’ chief nose counter, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.
    Whenever it occurs, the vote is shaping up as a key test of Mr. Boehner’s leadership. If successful, it would give momentum to a two-step debt increase that also would ensure votes on a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
    But if unsuccessful, it could give the edge to Senate Democrats’ plan, which immediately would raise the debt limit by $2.7 trillion, reduce future new discretionary spending by $1.2 trillion and create a commission to recommend other budget fixes…. – Washington Times, 7-26-11
  • House GOP revolts against Boehner plan: House Republicans do not have enough support to pass their debt-ceiling increase plan on their own, a top conservative said Tuesday as his party’s leaders tried to cobble together a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to put the bill over the top.
    “There are not 218 Republicans in support of this plan,” Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who heads the powerful conservative caucus in the House, told reporters Tuesday morning.
    If Mr. Jordan is right, that would mean Speaker John A. Boehner would have to rely on Democrats to pass the $1.2 trillion spending cuts plan — support Democrats’ top vote-counter said he’ll be hard-pressed to gain. Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said “very few” Democrats will vote for the Boehner plan, though he acknowledged there could be some.
    A vote in the House is expected Wednesday, and Republican leaders are trying to round up enough support to pass their version. They hope that if it can pass the House, that will pressure Senate Democrats to drop their alternative and accept the GOP’s plan.
    Mr. Boehner’s bill would reduce future discretionary spending by $1.2 trillion, grant an immediate debt increase of $1 trillion, and set up a committee to work on trillions of dollars in future deficit reduction either through more spending cuts or tax increases, which would then earn another future debt increase. It would also require both the House and Senate to hold votes on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution…. – Washington Times, 7-26-11
  • CBO: John Boehner’s debt bill comes up short: New cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office could pose a problem for Speaker John Boehner as he tries to rally conservative support for his two-step plan to raise the federal debt ceiling and avert default next week.
    The first installment of $900 billion is contingent on enacting 10 year caps on annual appropriations which the leadership had hoped would save well over $1 trillion. But CBO late Tuesday came back with a report showing the legislation would reduce deficits by $850 billion when measured against the agency’s most current projections for spending.
    At one level, Boehner is the victim of his own success, since that same baseline is $122 billion lower in direct spending because of concessions the speaker won in the April government shutdown fight. But that won’t help him much with restless conservatives and this could force him now to readjust the bill with tighter caps to meet his goals…. – Politico, 7-26-11
  • Tea Party Warns GOP: A Vote for Boehner’s Debt Plan Violates Our Pledge: The Tea Party is causing more headaches for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) over his debt proposal. A coalition of several hundred Tea Party chapters declared Tuesday that a vote for Boehner’s debt plan constitutes a violation of its pledge, which 51 Republican lawmakers have signed. The group, known as the Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition, notified its members of its position in a Tuesday memo entitled, “Clarification of the CCB Coalition Stance on the Speaker’s Proposal.”
    “The greatest concern to the Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition is the integrity of the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge that was signed by 39 House Members and 12 Senators, and whether voting for the proposed deal constitutes a Pledge violation,” reads the memo.” “We hold that is does violate the pledge, on several grounds.”… – Huff Post, 7-26-11
  • Perry: Obama debt ceiling speech was condescending: Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he thought President Barack Obama’s speech on the debt ceiling debate was condescending, saying he heard the president tell Americans they “just wouldn’t understand” the issue. The potential Republican presidential candidate spoke Tuesday at a ceremonial bill signing in Amarillo.
    Perry says he was stunned Obama “would think that Americans aren’t paying attention” to the debate. In his speech, Obama said the term “debt ceiling” is one most people outside of Washington have probably never heard of before…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • Michele Bachmann opposes House GOP debt limit plan: Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says she opposes GOP House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to increase the federal borrowing authority.
    Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, is telling Iowans that she will vote against any measure in Congress to raise the debt ceiling. The three-term House member says blocking the increase will force Congress to cut spending…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • Debt-irked voters shut down Congress’ websites, phones: President Barack Obama asked Americans to reach out to Congress to make their voices heard on the debt ceiling debate – and so they did.
    Thousands of callers flooded the Capitol switchboard Tuesday, and email traffic swamped congressional servers. The website of Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., crashed briefly, as did those of did Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Reps. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., and Frederica Wilson, D-Fla.
    “It’s been pretty busy today,” said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. “The poor interns are having a good time.”
    The Capitol, which typically handles 20,000 calls per hour, saw spikes of up to 40,000 Tuesday, rivaling the 50,000-an-hour rate of the health care debate.
    “Congress and Capitol Hill have been flooded, with emails and phones, switchboards are jammed, servers going down. So it’s clear the American people are frustrated by the lack of compromise in Washington,” said David Plouffe, the president’s senior adviser, who was clearly getting exactly the response the White House had sought when the president on Monday called Washington a town “where compromise has become a dirty word.”… – McClatchy Newspapers, 7-26-11
  • Debt-ceiling showdown: The legal battleground: President Barack Obama says he will not bypass Congress and cite an obscure part of the Constitution to prevent a government debt default, but legal experts say it would prove difficult to challenge him in court should he change his mind.
    Former President Bill Clinton argued last week that the 14th Amendment that states the “validity” of government debt “shall not be questioned” means that Obama could simply ignore the congressionally imposed debt ceiling and go on borrowing.
    Obama has indicated he considered the possibility, but on Tuesday his spokesman, Jay Carney, appeared to rule it out.
    “The Constitution makes clear that Congress has the authority, not the president, to borrow money and only Congress can increase the statutory debt ceiling. That is just a reality,” Carney told reporters.
    But if the country is about to go into default, the temptation to act to avert calamity will grow. Legal experts say if the president were tempted to act unilaterally he might escape without his actions being overturned in court.
    Regardless of how controversial a 14th Amendment maneuver might be, a legal challenge would be very hard to mount and so far, no one has stepped forward to say they would challenge him in court.
    Nor has anyone said they would sue him if he took the alternative, equally controversial, step of using his broad authorities as guardian of the constitutional order to unilaterally raise the borrowing threshold.
    Theoretically, there are aggrieved parties who might consider legal action, including Congress, individual citizens or interest groups, and investors such as foreign governments…. – Reuters, 7-26-11
  • Abolish the Debt Ceiling: James Surowiecki, in The New Yorker, has a strong article out arguing that the debt ceiling shouldn’t exist at all. He writes:

    The truth is that the United States doesn’t need, and shouldn’t have, a debt ceiling. Every other democratic country, with the exception of Denmark, does fine without one. There’s no debt limit in the Constitution. And, if Congress really wants to hold down government debt, it already has a way to do so that doesn’t risk economic chaos—namely, the annual budgeting process. The only reason we need to lift the debt ceiling, after all, is to pay for spending that Congress has already authorized. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, we’ll face an absurd scenario in which Congress will have ordered the President to execute two laws that are flatly at odds with each other. If he obeys the debt ceiling, he cannot spend the money that Congress has told him to spend, which is why most government functions will be shut down. Yet if he spends the money as Congress has authorized him to he’ll end up violating the debt ceiling.

    He adds that the ceiling is an artifact of a time when it was useful for reining in the president, because before 1974 Congress didn’t pass a comprehensive budget, and the president had much more freedom over spending. So why does it live on?

    Advocates of the ceiling like the way it turns the national debt into front-page news, focussing the minds of voters and politicians; they think it fosters accountability, straight talk, transparency. In reality, debt-ceiling votes merely perpetuate the illusion that balancing the budget is easy. That’s why politicians like the debt ceiling: it allows them to rail against borrowing more money (which voters hate) without having to vote to cut any specific programs or raise taxes (which voters also hate).

    And, Surowiecki says—and current events certainly confirm—”by turning dealmaking into a game of chicken, the debt ceiling favors fanaticism.” That is the most painful part of the present mess: that fanaticism appears to be prepared to bring down the national economy…. – Forbes, 7-26-11

  • Patricia Campion: Debt Ceiling Crisis Doubles as Countdown to Obama’s Political Armageddon: By definition, default is a failure to meet an obligation. In one week, if Obama and Congress cannot reach a debt ceiling agreement, the United States of America faces sovereign default for the first time in our history. In the event of a nuclear economic meltdown, as president, Obama knows he will be standing at ground zero.
    Economists say interest rates will skyrocket and the stock market will plummet, sending ripples through the global economy. Moody’s is threatening to lower the U.S. credit rating and, because the interest rates consumers pay are tied to what the federal government pays, interest rates for consumers will also rise. And the wheels on the bus go round and round …
    Flashback: While facing default on their $24 billion deficit in 2009, California Democrats refused to allow budget cuts to solve the state debt crisis. The Republicans wouldn’t allow tax increases. Sound familiar?
    When Obama revealed his FY2012 plan in February, it became clear he planned to tax his way out of debt. Offering only $1 trillion in spending cuts, he proposed 43 tax hikes to gouge an additional $1.5 trillion from Americans over the next decade.
    Perhaps someone should inform the fiscally naive president that California’s record tax increase of $13 billion didn’t solve that state’s economic problem.
    Obama gave another speech from the White House Monday saying that Republicans want “an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all.” He forgets that the top 10 percent already pay 70 percent of the nation’s revenue, according to The Heritage Foundation, and American businesses already pay the highest corporate taxes on the planet, per the Daily Caller…. – Associated Content, 7-26-11
  • Analysis: Debt differences narrowing, despite talk: Pitched partisan rhetoric aside, the differences are narrowing, not widening, as the divided U.S. government struggles to avert a financial default that neither President Barack Obama nor the leaders of Congress say they want.
    Which helps explain why day-old legislation unveiled by the House Republican leadership pulled off something of a political trifecta on Tuesday.
    Several rank-and-file conservatives in Speaker John Boehner’s Republican party attacked it from the right.
    From other points on the political spectrum, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid labeled it “dead on arrival” in his Democratic-controlled chamber. And moments later the White House said if the measure somehow managed to clear Congress, “the president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto this bill.”
    Yet the legislation also represents significant movement from a bill the House passed last week, roughly half of its mandated spending cuts, for example. Just as Reid no longer is insisting on having tax increases as part of any plan to cut deficits. “We have a bill that is reasonable and responsible,” said Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel.
    Clearly, not everyone sees it that way. So the crisis continues, and efforts to avoid a market-shattering default could yet falter in the run-up to an Aug. 2 deadline…. – AP, 7-26-11

JULY 26, 2011: REACTIONS TO OBAMA & BOEHNER’S DEBT PLAN ADDRESSES TO THE NATION

Americans increasingly unhappy with Washington’s effort on jobs, poll finds: More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Americans are also unhappy with congressional Republicans: 65 percent disapprove of the GOP’s handling on jobs, compared with 52 percent for the president.

“They can do far more. I do believe this plan is enough … I would ask all my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, to look a this common sense plan, this common sense way forward that will avoid default and put American fiscal house back to other.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“Republicans have offered the only proposal that attempts to get at the root of the problem — and which actually has a chance of getting to the president’s desk. That’s why we’ll continue to press for the legislation Speaker Boehner has proposed. And that’s why we’ll fight against anything that pretends to solve the problem but doesn’t. The Majority Leader proposed a plan yesterday that’s nothing more than another attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people” — Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“History is scattered with the stories of those who held fast to rigid ideologies and refused to listen to those who disagreed. But those are not the Americans we remember. We remember the Americans who put country above self, and set personal grievances aside for the greater good. We remember the Americans who held this country together during its most difficult hours; who put aside pride and party to form a more perfect union. That’s who we need to be right now. The entire world is watching.” — President Barack Obama Address to the Nation, July 25, 2011

  • Boehner presses debt plan opposed by Democrats; IMF urges raise in debt limit: With a debt-limit deadline now a week away, House Speaker John A. Boehner pressed ahead Tuesday with a two-stage deficit-reduction plan that President Obama and most congressional Democrats reject, and the International Monetary Fund warned of “serious spillovers” worldwide if the U.S. debt ceiling is not raised.
    Responding to Obama’s appeal in a speech Monday night for Americans to contact their members of Congress to urge them to adopt his “balanced approach” to deficit reduction, callers flooded Capitol telephone circuits Tuesday morning, and several lawmakers’ Web sites — including Boehner’s — reportedly crashed Monday night as huge numbers of people tried to send them messages…. – WaPo, 7-26-11
  • McConnell disses Reid plan: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined fellow Republicans critical of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to raise the debt ceiling, calling it “another attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people.”
    The Senate’s top Republican didn’t outline any specific objections to the plan, which calls for slashing $2.7 trillion over the next decade in exchange for raising the debt limit by a similar amount through the 2012 elections.
    But Republicans in both chambers have blasted a major provision in the bill which counts a $1 trillion in savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, something they dismiss as an accounting “gimmick” since those savings had already been expected.
    Instead, McConnell said Republicans will push for a rival plan by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that would raise the debt limit in two stages between now and early 2012
    “Republicans have offered the only proposal that attempts to get at the root of the problem — and which actually has a chance of getting to the president’s desk,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “That’s why we’ll continue to press for the legislation Speaker Boehner has proposed. And that’s why we’ll fight against anything that pretends to solve the problem but doesn’t. “The Majority Leader proposed a plan yesterday that’s nothing more than another attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people,” he added…. – Politico, 7-26-11
  • Boehner says his debt plan can pass House and Senate: House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, said Tuesday his two-stage deficit reduction plan could pass through the House and the Senate.
    Boehner is advancing a plan that would start with an initial $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years, but would only increase the debt limit for a few months. Senate Democrats have proposed a single-step plan to raise the debt ceiling through 2012 that would reduce the deficit by $2.7 trillion over the next decade…. – Reuters, 7-26-11
  • GOP leaders seek to build support for Boehner debt plan: House Republican leaders tried to sell their deficit reduction proposal as the only “bipartisan” plan on the table, but acknowledged they don’t yet have the votes to pass the bill through the House.
    At a morning press conference, House Speaker John Boehner said despite some push back from high-profile House conservative he’s optimistic the House will pass the plan tomorrow.
    “I do think we have some work to do to get it pass but I think we can do it,” Boehner told reporters.
    If House Democrats remain largely united against the bill – as they claim they will – Boehner will need all but roughly 20 of his GOP members. Five Democrats already voted for a stricter version of the Boehner plan.
    Asked if the plan would do enough to calm the markets, Boehner emphasized that more deficit reduction would be coming later in the year when a committee devises a plan for at least $1.8 trillion in spending reductions.
    “They can do far more,” Boehner said. “I do believe this plan is enough … I would ask all my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, to look a this common sense plan, this common sense way forward that will avoid default and put American fiscal house back to other.”… – LAT, 7-26-11
  • What was accomplished in Obama and Boehner speeches?: President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner gave televised addresses Monday night that seemed to emphasize how far Washington is from a debt-ceiling deal.
    For weeks now, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have been speaking past each other at the negotiating table – unable to find compromise on a deal to trim the deficit and raise the national debt ceiling. Monday night, they continued that trend on national television.
    In separate primetime televised speeches, Messrs. Obama and Boehner told the country what has been well known for more than a month. The president wants Republicans to pass a bill that would compel the wealthiest Americans to “share in the sacrifice” of a deal through new tax revenues. The Republicans do not.
    It is, they both agree, a fundamental difference in how each views the political world. And yet on Monday night neither Obama nor Boehner offered an inkling as to how that gap is to be bridged before the federal government runs out of money to pay all its bills on Aug. 2. If anything, their speeches gave the impression of the two entrenching more deeply…. – CS Monitor, 7-26-11
  • Does John Boehner have the leverage in debt-ceiling crisis?: With a week to go until a potentially calamitous federal default, talks that began three months ago with an overt gesture toward bipartisanship appear to have ended in a high-stakes game of chicken.
    Both President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner set their hot rods on a collision course Monday evening, with neither side showing much interest in compromise even as the clock continues to tick.
    Both men appeared to center the thrust of his appeals to the audience at home around the same set of political players, the insurgent Republicans in the House. To Obama, they represent irrationality and a failure to seek compromise for the good of the nation. To Boehner, they are a growing power base that must be courted if his plan has any hope to pass…. – LAT, 7-26-11
  • Web errors hit Hill after Obama, Boehner speeches: Shortly after President Obama’s address on the debt ceiling negotiations Monday night, problems were reported with the web pages of at least two Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
    An error message on Boehner’s site said “The web page cannot be found,” and Bachmann’s website said the “Server is too busy.”
    “There were temporary issues with sites hosted by outside vendors – many have been resolved,” a spokeswoman for House Administration Committee said. Both websites were operating normally by early Tuesday…. – CNN, 7-26-11
  • What the Obama-Boehner bond is (and isn’t): President Obama’s and House Speaker John Boehner’s best efforts to become collegial negotiators hit a roadblock Monday night, with Boehner delivering a speech that suggests all their work together in recent months has meant little to the current debate.
    Obama played a round of golf with Boehner last month, and earlier in the debt-limit talks he praised the speaker as “a good man,” but on Monday night, he appeared to have lost an ally, as the two descended on a very stiff deadline to extend the federal debt limit.
    Really, though, that’s reading too much into relationship they were supposed to have forged. And it’s also reading too much into their public posturing…. – WaPo, 7-26-11
  • Cool Obama meets hot Boehner in dueling debt ceiling speeches: President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, the two men at the center of the ongoing debate over whether to raise the debt limit, both addressed the country on the topic tonight. And that’s where the similarities between the two speeches ended.
    Obama was all cool reason — making a case for why passing the debt ceiling is necessary to keep the economy on firm footing and quoting the likes of Ronald Reagan and Thomas Jefferson to argue that compromise is part of being American.
    Boehner was all white hot passion — blasting President Obama for his “business as usual” approach to governing in Washington and repeatedly insisting that it was the president not the Congress who was standing in the way of debt limit deal.
    The wildly variant tones from the two men make clear not only the gap that remains between the two sides with just eight days remaining before the country defaults on its loans but also the differing constituencies at whom the speeches were aimed…. – WaPo, 7-26-11
  • Obama changes tone in public debate over debt ceiling: “Don’t call my bluff,” President Obama reportedly warned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) during a tough bargaining session over the debt ceiling July 13. “I’m going to the American people with this.”
    It was no empty threat. As the high-stakes negotiations with Congress to avoid financial default Aug. 2 have bogged down, Obama has taken his case directly to the public with increasing urgency. This month, he has appeared in front of reporters at the White House briefing room four times, taken the stage before a friendly crowd of 1,200 in a town hall-style event at the University of Maryland and delivered a rare televised prime-time address to the nation Monday night from the East Room.
    The gambit is aimed at winning public support that could give him an upper hand at the negotiating table, though polls suggest Americans are frustrated both with the president and his Republican rivals.
    With each appearance, Obama has not altered his message as much as his persona: He verged from poised early in the process — the “only adult in the room” strategy aimed at contrasting him against a squabbling, childish Congress — to frustrated and emotional by the end of last week, when House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) abruptly left Obama “at the altar.” He returned to a more collected and determined demeanor Monday night, as he tried to leave the public with a lasting impression with just a week left until the deadline.
    Along the way, Obama has perhaps revealed more public emotion than he has during his 2 1/2 years in office…. – WaPo, 7-26-11
  • John Boehner Debt Ceiling Plan May Still Trigger S&P Downgrade: Report: Minutes before House Speaker John Boehner delivered a prime-time address in which he framed his latest deficit-reduction deal as a silver bullet for the nation’s economic uncertainty, reports surfaced that the plan being crafted by the Ohio Republican would potentially lead to a downgrading of the AAA credit rating of the United States.
    In an address that immediately followed the president’s own, Boehner argued that if the president were to merely sign into law his latest deficit-reduction bill — which slashes more than a trillion dollars in spending before requiring a second tranche of cuts and a second vote — “the ‘crisis’ atmosphere he has created will simply disappear.”
    It was a fairly bold selling of a plan that — in terms of both the size of cuts and structural reforms — fell far short of what the Speaker had been negotiating with the White House prior to those negotiations ending this weekend. It also was delivered with an unfortunate backdrop. Just minutes before Boehner spoke, CNN’s Erin Burnett relayed word from her sources on Wall Street that the newest Republican plan would not satisfy the credit rating agencies, which have soured on the idea of a short-term solution to the debt ceiling debate. Rather, it was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s approach (padded by counting the savings from the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq) that would calm their nerves…. – Huff Post, 7-26-11
  • Washington Day Ahead: Obama, Boehner Draw Lines in Debt Debate: In separate televised remarks, President Barack Obama warned of economic danger ahead unless a compromise is reached before the Aug. 2 deadline for a possible U.S. default, while the U.S. House of Representatives’ top Republican, Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, said that he had made a “sincere effort” to work with the White House and that Republicans weren’t going to hand the president a “blank check.”
    President Barack Obama warned of a “deep economic crisis” without a compromise to avert an Aug. 2 U.S. default as he dueled Republican House Speaker John Boehner in back-to-back speeches on increasing the debt limit.
    House Speaker John Boehner often attacks the spendthrift ways of Washington. “In Washington, more spending and more debt is business as usual,” the Republican leader from Ohio said in a televised address yesterday amid debate over the U.S. debt. “I’ve got news for Washington — those days are over.” Yet the speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all voted for major drivers of the nation’s debt during the past decade: Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and Medicare prescription drug benefits. They also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that rescued financial institutions and the auto industry…. – Bloomberg, 7-26-11
  • Treasury 10-Year Note Yields Rise to Two-Week High on U.S. Debt Deadlock: Treasury 10-year note yields touched a two-week high after speeches by President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner showed they still disagree on how to raise the borrowing limit.
    Yields on two-year notes fluctuated after matching a two- week high before today’s $35 billion auction of the securities. The difference between yields on 10-year notes and inflation- linked debt reached to the widest since May on concern the U.S. credit rating may be lowered. The dollar fell to a record against the Swiss franc….
    Obama warned in a televised speech yesterday in Washington of a “deep economic crisis” unless Republicans and Democrats can agree on how to raise the $14.3 trillion federal borrowing limit and find accord on reining in future spending. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, who spoke afterwards from the U.S. Capitol, said Obama was asking for a “blank check.”
    Earlier in the day, Boehner and the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, announced competing plans to raise the debt ceiling. Reid dropped Democrats’ insistence on tax increases, a move favored by Obama.
    Treasuries with the longest maturities will have the biggest declines if the U.S. loses its top-level debt rating, said Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross, who manages the world’s biggest bond fund, in a Twitter posting…. – Bloomberg, 7-12-11
  • Obama argues debt case to nation Boehner rebuts in another speech as divide deepens, default looms: President Obama, reminding lawmakers “the whole world is watching,” exhorted them last night to break through partisan bickering and pass a comprehensive budget deal that protects Americans from the pain of a government default in one week.
    The prime-time address to the nation came hours after House and Senate leaders released dueling plans that promised to spark days of battles between the chambers and within the parties. No clear path to a resolution emerged….
    Republicans appear to be hoping that their plan will be the only viable one still standing as the deadline of Aug. 2 for a government default approaches.
    “If you get to the 11th hour and you actually have some legislation that’s doable – if there’s not a lot of time for negotiations – it really puts pressure on Obama,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University…. – Boston Globe, 7-25-11
  • Boehner introduces debt plan, says can pass Senate: House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, introduced a new plan on Monday to approve an increase in the debt ceiling based on the principles of the “cut, cap and balance” plan that can pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Boehner said it would be irresponsible for President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to veto the Republican debt plan…. – Reuters, 7-25-11
  • Challenging Obama, House GOP unveils new debt bill: In a blunt challenge to President Barack Obama, House Republicans drafted legislation Monday to avert a threatened Aug. 2 government default — but along lines the White House has already dismissed. U.S. financial markets shrugged off the uncertainty.
    “Compromise has become a dirty word,” Obama lamented as congressional leaders groped for a way out of a looming crisis.
    According to a GOP aide familiar with the emerging House bill, it would provide for an immediate $1 trillion increase in the government’s $14.3 trillion debt limit in exchange for $1.2 trillion in cuts in federal spending.
    The measure also envisions Congress approving a second round of spending cuts of $1.8 trillion or more in 2012, passage of which would trigger an additional $1.6 trillion in increased borrowing authority.
    While the bill marked a retreat from legislation that conservatives muscled through the House last week, the two-step approach runs afoul of Obama’s insistence that lawmakers solve the current crisis in a way that avoids a politically charged rerun next year in the middle of the 2012 election campaign…. – AP, 7-25-11

JULY 25, 2011: PRESIDENT OBAMA & SPEAKER BOEHNER ADDRESS NATION ON COMPETING DEBT CEILING PLANS

Obama urges Congress to reach deal on debt ceiling: President Obama said in a prime-time speech Monday night that, unless Congress agrees quickly to a long- term increase in the federal debt ceiling, “we would risk sparking a deep economic crisis, this one caused almost entirely by Washington.” He asked Americans to urge their lawmakers in Congress to strike a deal on the issue. He said he would not agree to a short-term increase, as proposed by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), saying it amounted to “kicking the can down the road.” He added: “We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare.”

Boehner: ‘The solution to this crisis is not complicated’: House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a prime-time address Monday night that he intends to continue pushing a short-term raise in the federal debt ceiling, despite President Obama’s objection that such a move does not solve the problem.
“The solution to this crisis is not complicated. … We are up to the task, and I hope President Obama will join us,” Boehner said. The speaker said that, in negotiations with Obama over a long-term debt deal, “I made a sincere effort to work with the president. … I gave it my all. Unfortunately, the president could not take yes for an answer.” He added: “The president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today,. This is not going to happen.”

President Obama Addresses the Nation on Debt Ceiling Crisis, Blames House Republicans, Suggests Raising Taxes

Speaker John Boehner’s Address to the Nation on the Republican’s (GOP) Plan for America’s Debt Crisis — Response Blames President Obama’s Inability to Agree on a Deal

  • Parties Head to Showdown as Obama Warns of a ‘Crisis’: The Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House on Monday barreled toward a showdown on competing plans to cut spending and raise the debt limit as a resolution to the intensifying crisis remained farther from sight just one week before a possible federal default.
    With President Obama trying to employ the power of the presidency to force an agreement, House and Senate leaders said votes could occur as early as Wednesday on competing proposals to slash spending in exchange for increasing federal borrowing authority that the Treasury Department says will be exhausted Aug. 2, raising the prospect that federal bills will go unpaid.
    It was a day of legislative chess moves, back-to-back party caucuses and closed-door meetings that ended with a nationally televised presidential address and a rebuttal by the House speaker, John A. Boehner. Their separate speeches reflected that the two sides are farther apart than ever — just a week ago, the two men were in private negotiations on a “grand bargain” of spending cuts and additional revenue, what Mr. Obama called “a balanced approach.”
    “The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a different approach, a cuts-only approach — an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all,” Mr. Obama said in his address. “And because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scales, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about — cuts that place a greater burden on working families.”
    Even as he sought to set Republicans up for blame for any crisis, Mr. Obama offered assurance that a crisis would be averted. He called on Americans to contact their lawmakers in support of a compromise. “We would risk sparking a deep economic crisis — this one caused almost entirely by Washington,” he said. “Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate.
    In response to Mr. Obama, Mr. Boehner said: “The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today. That is just not going to happen.”
    Mr. Boehner urged the president to sign a Republican plan to raise the debt limit. “If the president signs it,” he said, “the ‘crisis’ atmosphere he has created will simply disappear. The debt limit will be raised.”… – NYT, 7-25-11
  • Obama urges GOP to break ‘stalemate’ over debt talks: President Obama on Monday used a nationally televised address to urge House Republicans to stop standing in the way of a deal to tame the nation’s debt and raise the federal limit on borrowing, making his most direct appeal to the American people in the confrontation over the debt.
    Obama said failure to raise the debt ceiling within the next week “would risk sparking a deep economic crisis.” He said he would not be able to pay all of the government’s bills, including Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits.
    The president endorsed a Senate Democratic plan unveiled Monday that would save $2.7 trillion in spending over 10 years in exchange for raising the federal debt ceiling through 2012. He rejected a competing House Republican plan that could save up to $3 trillion while raising the debt ceiling in two stages — the first lasting six months.
    Obama reserved his harshest words for House Republicans as he called on them to join him in breaking a “stalemate” and forging a compromise that balances cuts in government spending with new tax revenues from the wealthy and corporations.
    “The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach – an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House.In a response following the president’s statement, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans had fought to rein in the national debt, but that Obama had refused to compromise.
    “I want you to know I made a sincere effort to work with the president to identify a path forward,” Boehner said. “Unfortunately, the president would not take yes for an answer. Even when we thought we might be close on an agreement, the president’s demands changed.” “The president has often said we need a ‘balanced’ approach — which in Washington means: we spend more. . .you pay more,” the speaker said. “Having run a small business, I know those tax increases will destroy jobs.” “The United States cannot default on its debt obligations,” Boehner said.
    “The solution to this crisis is not complicated: If you’re spending more money than you’re taking in, you need to spend less of it,” he said. “I’ve always believed, the bigger [the] government, the smaller the people.”… – WaPo, 7-25-11
  • Debt ceiling speeches given by Obama, Boehner: President Barack Obama used a rare prime-time address Monday to rally support behind the Democratic plan for raising the debt limit, a high-stakes bid to isolate Republicans with only a week left to avert a government default.
    In a 15-minute speech from the White House, Obama made the case for compromise between Democrats and Republicans, saying it is the only way to prevent default that could be catastrophic to the economy.
    “Unfortunately, for the past several weeks, Republican House members have essentially said that the only way they’ll vote to prevent America’s first-ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep, spending cuts-only approach,” Obama said. “If that happens, and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills — bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.”
    Obama called for unity, on one hand, but he also bashed Republicans, arguing that their tactics “risk sparking a deep economic crisis — one caused almost entirely by Washington.”
    “Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate,” Obama said. “And Republican leaders say that they agree we must avoid default. But the new approach that Speaker Boehner unveiled today, which would temporarily extend the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, would force us to once again face the threat of default just six months from now. In other words, it doesn’t solve the problem.”
    In an extraordinary contrast, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a response only minutes later from the Capitol. The back-to-back speeches underscored the deep divide that remains between the two central figures in the debt-limit drama.
    “The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today,” Boehner said. “That is just not going to happen.”
    Obama decided to deliver the prime-time address after three days of little progress…. – Politico, 7-25-11
  • Obama Warns ‘World Is Watching’ as Boehner Says GOP’s Efforts on Debt Have Been Rejected: President Obama on Monday night urged a “balanced approach” in crafting a deal to raise the debt ceiling, saying a Republican proposal to temporarily extend the debt limit would lead the country back to the same arguments on spending and taxes in six months from now.
    “That is no way to run the greatest country on Earth. It is a dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now. … We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare,” the president said in a televised address to the nation.
    Instead, Obama said he wants tax increases paired with spending reductions that will put the U.S. debate past the next election and keep the country from defaulting on its loans to creditors, set to come due on Aug. 2.
    “The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth,” Obama said. “The debate right now isn’t about whether we need to make tough choices. Democrats and Republicans agree on the amount of deficit reduction we need. The debate is about how it should be done.”
    House Speaker John Boehner, delivering the Republican response after Obama spoke — the first such live response aside from the State of the Union in nearly four years — said Obama was looking for a “blank check” to fund his administration’s “spending binge.” He accused Obama of not negotiating in good faith…. – Fox News, 7-25-11
  • Obama urges Americans to back ‘balanced’ debt plan: President Obama asked Americans tonight to pressure congressional Republicans to accept a “balanced plan” to reduce the federal debt through taxes as well as budget cuts in order to stave off a government default that will kill jobs and slow the economy.
    “The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” Obama said during a prime-time speech at the White House.
    House Speaker John Boehner — who is promoting an alternative debt plan with no tax increases — said in a responding speech that Obama’s definition of balance means “we spend more and you pay more.”… – USA Today, 7-25-11
  • Obama, Boehner present conflicting debt-crisis solutions to America: President Barack Obama used his televised speech to the nation Monday night to paint a lurid picture of U.S. debt default if the GOP doesn’t raise the debt ceiling enough to continue the administration’s spending until after the president completes his 2012 campaign.
    Obama did not threaten to veto a short-term measure, but presented an alarming vision of a default, urged a tax increase, and then called on Americans to press their legislators to pass a debt ceiling deal that would be large enough to cover spending until 2013. That $2.4 trillion debt-plan has been developed by Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, and is large enough to pay for spending until 2013, but it does not include a tax increase.
    “We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington political warfare … I want you all to make your voice heard,” by reaching out to Congress, he said, without repeating his earlier demands for tax increases, his earlier objections to budget cuts, or his earlier opposition to a stopgap measure.
    Moments later, House Speaker John Boehner pushed back hard, saying it is time “to end the spending binge in Washington.” Boehner briefly outlined his own two-step plan to raise the debt limit and set similar cuts, finishing by saying “we’re up to the task, and I hope President Obama will join us in that work.”
    Obama’s eleventh-hour appeal to voters is a gamble because his political credibility will be damaged if Americans fail to pressure their elected legislators enough to win a debt ceiling deal worth $2.4 trillion.
    But it is also a partial defeat, because he and his political allies have abandoned their earlier demands for tax increases…. – Daily Caller, 7-25-11
  • Obama takes debt case to American people: With just eight days left before a possible economic catastrophe, President Obama on Monday took his argument for a “balanced” debt limit agreement to the American people, arguing in a prime time address that voters should call their members of Congress in support of a deal that “asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much.”
    Speaking from the White House, the president lambasted Republicans for what he cast as a refusal to compromise, arguing that the nation faces a possible “deep economic crisis- one caused almost entirely by Washington.”
    “Republican House members have essentially said that the only way they’ll vote to prevent America’s first-ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep, spending cuts-only approach,” Mr. Obama said. “If that happens, and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.”
    “It is a dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now,” he warned. “People are fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word.”
    Mr. Obama continued to ask Republicans to accept revenue increases for the wealthiest Americans, saying they and large corporations should “give up some of their tax breaks and special deductions.”
    Arguing that Republican leaders were acting outside of the interests of their constituents, Mr. Obama called on voters to “make your voice heard.”
    “The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” he said. “So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your Member of Congress know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message.”… – CBS News, 7-25-11
  • Obama Speaks to Nation as Debt Talks Intensify; Boehner to Give GOP Response: President Obama, in a nationally televised address to the nation Monday, urged a “balanced approach” in crafting a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the federal deficit ahead of the Treasury’s Aug. 2 deadline, when the country is said to risk default on its debt.
    “The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth,” Obama said. “Not just because we can still keep our word and meet our obligations, but because we can still come together as one nation,”
    He said that, although some Democrats are reluctant to make deep cuts to domestic programs, “enough are willing to accept them if the burden is fairly shared,” rather than the “cuts-only” approach of the Republicans that Obama said would “place a greater burden on working families.”
    House Speaker John Boehner was scheduled to deliver the Republican response after Obama speaks.
    Republicans and Democrats outlined separate deficit-reduction proposals Monday afternoon, pushing ahead with bills that have a questionable chance of passing as the showdown over the debt ceiling intensified…. – Fox News, 7-25-11
  • A ‘Unique Opportunity’ on the Debt Ceiling, Lost: Leaders of both parties have said for months that the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit offered a “unique opportunity” for a bipartisan deal that would constrain the mounting federal debt. Instead, it is shaping up to be a lost opportunity.
    Whatever deal Congress and President Obama devise in this final week to allow the government to keep paying its bills after Aug. 2 and avert an economy-rattling default, it almost certainly will fall short of the compromise that Mr. Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, nearly struck last week — before details of the negotiations leaked, opponents in both parties protested and Mr. Boehner left the table.
    The difference between that attempted “grand bargain” and what Congress is coming up with is not just a matter of dollars. Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner did tentatively agree to more than $3 trillion in savings over 10 years — at least hundreds of billions more than is called for in the fallback plans now bandied about in Congress to clear the way for a vote to increase the $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling by next Tuesday.
    But the more significant difference is in where the savings would come from. The Congressional proposals mainly seek caps on annual spending for domestic and military programs and no additional revenues…. – NYT, 7-25-11

JULY 25, 2011: REID & BOEHNER UNVEIL DEBT PLANS — WHITE HOUSE SUPPORT REID PLAN — PRESIDENT OBAMA TO ADDRESS NATION AT 9PM

Obama to address nation on debt at 9 p.m. ET: President Obama will address the nation on the “stalemate over avoiding default and the best approach to cutting deficits” Monday at 9 p.m. ET, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced via Twitter.

White House: Obama backs a proposal by Sen. Harry Reid to cut spending by $2.7 trillion, raise debt limit through 2012.

House Leaders Call for Short-Term Rise in Debt Ceiling: House Republicans intend to push for a vote this week on a two-step plan that would allow the federal debt limit to immediately rise by about $1 trillion and tie a second increase next year to the ability of a new joint Congressional committee to produce more deficit reduction.
Top Republicans were to try to sell the proposal to their rank-and file in a crucial meeting Monday afternoon as House Republicans and Senate Democrats readied competing plans in an effort avoid a federal default next week.
The proposal would cut current spending and put legal limits on future spending, saving what Republicans estimate to be about $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The plan calls for no new revenue.

“We’re about to go over a cliff here.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV

“Speaker Boehner’s plan, no matter how he tries to dress it up, is simply a short-term plan, and is, therefore, a non-starter in the Senate and with the president.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“Republicans are more interested in trying to embarrass the president than trying to do what’s right for the country.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“Does anyone think it would be a good idea to do this all over again in six months? … This is an offer that Republicans can’t refuse.” Sen. Charles Schumer

“Senator Reid’s plan is a reasonable approach that should receive the support of both parties, and we hope the House Republicans will agree to this plan so that America can avoid defaulting on our obligations for the first time in our history. The ball is in their court.” — Press Secretary Jay Carney

“I know the president’s worried about his next election. But my God, shouldn’t we be worried about the country?” John Boehner on “Fox News Sunday”

Eric Cantor: The House plan will responsibly prevent default and meets the President’s request for a debt limit increase over time. The President’s reason for opposing this plan is to avoid an election year fight on spending and taxes.

Mitch McConnell: “Congressional leaders of both parties have shown they are willing to work in good faith. I would suggest that the President reconsider their offer rather than veto the country into default.”

Press Secretary Jay Carney’s Statement that the Obama White House Supports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Debt Plan

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Statement that Obama Should Reconsider the Bipartisan Debt Proposal to Prevent Default

  • Two proposals, but no clear path toward debt ceiling deal: The Republican leader in the House and Democratic leader of the Senate issued dueling proposals Monday to allow the federal debt ceiling to be raised – both with steep spending cuts, but neither with a clear route to ending the standoff over the government’s ability to pay its bills.
    Both plans will face key tests on Wednesday, when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) each plan to bring their proposals to the floors of their respective chambers.
    In the House, the issue will be whether conservative Republicans will remain united behind Boehner even though his plan received mixed reviews from conservatives, with some influential Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers and groups denouncing it as too weak. In the Senate, the question will be whether Reid can attract the seven Republican votes he would need to cut off a threatened filibuster and claim bipartisan backing for his plan.
    President Obama was scheduled to address the nation at 6:30 Pacific about the importance of quickly resolving the impasse as the threat to the economy was imminent. Boehner will deliver the Republican response shortly after…. – LAT, 7-25-11
  • White House backs Reid debt plan: The White House on Monday endorsed a deficit reduction plan put forward by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, saying it would remove the cloud of a possible default from the U.S. economy through 2012.
    “Senator Reid’s plan is a reasonable approach that should receive the support of both parties, and we hope the House Republicans will agree to this plan,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “The ball is in their court.”…. – Reuters, 7-25-11
  • Senate and House Still Far Apart on Debt in 2 New Plans: The Democratic Senate and Republican House put themselves on a legislative collision course Monday as they moved forward with significantly different plans on how to raise the debt limit and avert a possible federal default next week.
    House Republican leaders pushed for a vote Wednesday on a two-step plan that would allow the federal debt limit to immediately be raised by about $1 trillion and tie a second increase next year to the ability of a new joint Congressional committee to produce more deficit reduction.
    But top Senate Democrats called the proposal a “non-starter” and said they would advance their own plan to reduce the deficit by $2.7 trillion and raise the debt ceiling until after next year’s elections, saying it met the conditions that Republicans had laid down during the ongoing debt fight….
    Hoping to beat the Senate to the punch, the House Republican leadership was trying to sell its plan to the party membership in the hopes of forcing it through the House by Wednesday…. – NYT, 7-25-11
  • Democrats offer debt plan they say GOP “can’t refuse”: Senate Democrats unveiled a plan to raise the debt ceiling Monday that abandoned President Obama’s call for revenue increases as part of a deal, putting forth a plan they said would cut spending by $2.7 trillion.
    The plan would include a $1.2 trillion reduction in both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. It also counts $1 trillion in spending cuts from winding down the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, something critics say should not count in the total savings.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, joined by Sen. Charles Schumer, unveiled the plan Monday afternoon in a combative news conference in which they ruled out a rival plan from Senate Republicans that would create a two-step process for a debt limit increase…. – CBS News, 7-25-11
  • House, Senate leaders unveil dueling debt-limit plans: House and Senate leaders formally unveiled dueling backup plans Monday afternoon to raise the federal debt limit after a weekend of intense negotiations failed Sunday to break a partisan impasse that threatens to throw the government into default next week.
    The White House promptly threw its support behind a Democratic plan advanced by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and heaped criticism on House Republicans, accusing them of intransigence in trying to balance the budget “on the backs of seniors and the middle class.”
    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) proposed a two-step plan to cut spending by nearly $3 trillion, laying out the details to his rank-and-file Republicans in a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement. Shortly afterward,Reid outlined a plan to slash $2.7 trillion.
    Rather than heading toward a compromise to meet the Aug. 2 deadline, however, the two leaders publicly dug in for a fight. Neither of their rival strategies appeared sure to win approval in their respective chambers, as opposition remained high in some quarters. The result was to leave Congress locked in bitter and messy legislative warfare, even as financial markets reopened Monday for the first time since Boehner abruptly abandoned debt-limit talks with the White House on Friday…. – WaPo, 7-25-11
  • John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan pushes even deeper spending cuts: Speaker John Boehner’s two-step plan to raise the debt ceiling by upwards of $2.5 trillion would require the White House to accept much deeper spending cuts than he was negotiating only last week with President Barack Obama.
    Unveiled Monday, the proposal appears to take back Boehner’s prior offers to allow an $800 billion increase in tax revenues but his new spending demands are significant in themselves and could amount to $600 billion more over 10 years when compared with the White House talks.
    Two installments on the debt increase are anticipated, according to a summary document released prior to a House Republican conference on the proposal…. – Politico, 7-25-11
  • Last-ditch GOP debt plan emerges: With skittish markets preparing for the possibility of economic catastrophe, lawmakers worked behind closed doors Monday to craft dueling plans that they hope could somehow, someway get a polarized Washington to pass an increase in the debt limit.
    House Speaker John Boehner, who walked out of negotiations with the White House Friday, planned to present his caucus Monday afternoon with a nearly $3 trillion package that broke the process into two parts.
    Senior GOP aides familiar with the negotiations said the deal would mandate immediate cuts and caps in discretionary spending, potentially saving $1.2 trillion over a decade. (The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has yet to score the proposal.) In exchange, the debt ceiling would be raised by less than $1 trillion, enough to last the nation through the end of the year. The as-yet-unspecified spending caps would trigger automatic across-the-board spending cuts if not met…. – CBS News, 7-25-11
  • GOP whip holds firm to balanced budget amendment: The man charged with rounding up Republican votes in the House said he expects that whatever debt-ceiling plan initially makes its way through that chamber will include some kind of balanced budget amendment — or a plan to implement one soon.
    “I think it will have some form,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.”
    “Maybe it has a balanced budget amendment right now, maybe it has some vote in the near future,” McCarthy added.
    The House majority whip said that Friday’s 51-46 party-line Senate vote to not move forward on the House-approved “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill doesn’t mean it’s over for that approach right now. “It did not get rejected; it got tabled,” he said…. – MSNBC, 7-25-11
  • Treasurys dip as debt ceiling debate continues: Treasury bond prices are edging lower as Washington continues to debate plans to raise the nation’s debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline.
    A failure to raise the debt ceiling could lead the U.S. government to default on its bond payments. Treasury bonds are considered the safest and most liquid investments in the world…. – AP, 7-25-11
  • Obama still pushing deficit deal with tax revenue: President Barack Obama is reiterating his call for a deficit-cutting plan that cuts spending and that also increases tax revenue by making the wealthy and corporations pay more to help stabilize the long-term debt. The president made his comments to the National Council of La Raza on Monday as congressional leaders struggled against time to come up with a plan to meet an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Obama said the wealthy and big corporations have to “pay their fair share, too.” And he alluded to the difficulty of cutting a deal, saying “compromise is becoming a dirty word.” – AP, 7-25-11
  • Analysis: The politics behind Boehner’s two-step debt hike: So many Americans are so sick of political acrimony over raising the U.S. debt limit that it might seem unfathomable to have to do it all over again early next year. But that is exactly what the top U.S. Republican, John Boehner, is proposing for some practical political reasons.
    If Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, prevails, President Barack Obama will sign legislation by August 2 to raise U.S. borrowing authority by about $1 trillion, or just enough to carry the government through March.
    That would set up a second tortured debt limit debate to avert default just as the U.S. presidential campaign heats up…. – Reuters, 7-25-11
  • Dueling debt-ceiling plans: Can either pass Congress?: House Republicans and Senate Democrats introduced their plans to resolve the debt-ceiling impasse before Aug. 2. But bipartisan hopes appear thin.With eight days before the US loses its authority to borrow funds, House and Senate leaders launched dueling plans to resolve the crisis.
    Both deliberately avoid calls to raise taxes – a nonstarter for Republicans that derailed previous bids at a solution. But neither plan can yet claim a clear or even likely path to a bipartisan majority.
    “What they have in common is that neither one is likely to pass – even its own house,” says Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. “Here’s a case where you really do need a bipartisan agreement, and there’s no bipartisanship left…. – CS Monitor, 7-25-11
  • Ezra Klein: Obvious compromise between Reid and Boehner debt plans: When it comes to cutting the national deficit, the plans proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner are much more similar than they are different. It’s on the issue of raising the debt ceiling that the consensus cracks.
    Both plans call for $1.2 trillion in reductions to discretionary spending. Both envision the formation of a bipartisan “supercommittee,” which would try to find consensus on a larger deficit-reduction package that, if it won a majority on the panel, would be immune to amendments and filibusters and be fast-tracked for an up-or-down vote in the House and the Senate…. – WaPo, 7-25-11
  • Emily Miller: Congress agrees: Keep spending Democratic and Republican leaders preserve status quo on Capitol Hill: Congressional Democrats and Republicans waged a war of words on Monday over their debt-ceiling plans, but their agendas amount to pretty much the same thing. Washington just can’t kick its spending habit.
    Both the blueprints cooked up by House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, claim 10-year domestic spending reductions equivalent to a bit over $1 trillion with the creation of new committees to find more spending reforms. Neither leader will provide hard numbers for budget reductions in 2012, the only enforceable year. That means borrowing is immediate and spending cuts delayed. Neither plan raises taxes. The primary distinction between them is that Mr. Boehner seeks a smaller debt-ceiling increase, forcing President Obama to come back hat-in-hand in 2012 for more borrowing authority…. – Washington Times, 7-25-11
  • Congress Can Learn From 1995-96 Debt-Ceiling Debate: Failure to raise the Federal debt ceiling limit could “roil the financial markets and cause severe economic problems,” “cause profound damage to our country,” and have “dire consequences.” So wrote the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and New York Times. But the year was 1995, not 2011.
    Other ills predicted during that contentious debate were rising unemployment, reduced GDP growth, and soaring interest rates. That was at a time when President Clinton and Democrats were fighting off attempts by Republicans to link cutting the deficit to the increase in the debt ceiling.
    Then as now, there was a widespread misperception that failure to increase the debt ceiling would produce a default: “congressional Republicans are threatening to provoke the nation’s first-ever default” (Washington Times). The Los Angeles Times reported: “the first real risk of a government default could occur November 15 [1995].” Even the then Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, warned that congressional Republicans should drop their efforts, declaring: “To default for the first time in the history of this nation is not something anyone should take in any tranquil manner.” … – Fox News, 7-25-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Fact Sheet on the Details of the Bipartisan Debt Deal

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline

Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline
  • Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain;
  • Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students;
  • Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform;
  • Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs;
  • Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks.
Mechanics of the Debt Deal
  • Immediately enacted 10-year discretionary spending caps generating nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction; balanced between defense and non-defense spending.
  • President authorized to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until 2013.
  • Bipartisan committee process tasked with identifying an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, including from entitlement and tax reform. Committee is required to report legislation by November 23, 2011, which receives fast-track protections. Congress is required to vote on Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011.
  • Enforcement mechanism established to force all parties – Republican and Democrat – to agree to balanced deficit reduction. If Committee fails, enforcement mechanism will trigger spending reductions beginning in 2013 – split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending. Enforcement protects Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries, and low-income programs from any cuts.
1. REMOVING UNCERTAINTY TO SUPPORT THE AMERICAN ECONOMY
  • Deal Removes Cloud of Uncertainty Until 2013, Eliminating Key Headwind on the Economy: Independent analysts, economists, and ratings agencies have all made clear that a short-term debt limit increase would create unacceptable economic uncertainty by risking default again within only a matter of months and as S&P stated, increase the chance of a downgrade. By ensuring a debt limit increase of at least $2.1 trillion, this deal removes the specter of default, providing important certainty to our economy at a fragile moment.
  • Mechanism to Ensure Further Deficit Reduction is Designed to Phase-In Beginning in 2013 to Avoid Harming the Recovery: The deal includes a mechanism to ensure additional deficit reduction, consistent with the economic recovery. The enforcement mechanism would not be made effective until 2013, avoiding any immediate contraction that could harm the recovery. And savings from the down payment will be enacted over 10 years, consistent with supporting the economic recovery.
2. A DOWNPAYMENT ON DEFICIT REDUCTION BY LOCKING IN HISTORIC SPENDING DISCIPLINE – BALANCED BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND PENTAGON SPENDING
  • More than $900 Billion in Savings over 10 Years By Capping Discretionary Spending: The deal includes caps on discretionary spending that will produce more than $900 billion in savings over the next 10 years compared to the CBO March baseline, even as it protects core investments from deep and economically damaging cuts.
  • Includes Savings of $350 Billion from the Base Defense Budget – the First Defense Cut Since the 1990s: The deal puts us on track to cut $350 billion from the defense budget over 10 years. These reductions will be implemented based on the outcome of a review of our missions, roles, and capabilities that will reflect the President’s commitment to protecting our national security.
  • Reduces Domestic Discretionary Spending to the Lowest Level Since Eisenhower: These discretionary caps will put us on track to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was President.
  • Includes Funding to Protect the President’s Historic Investment in Pell Grants: Since taking office, the President has increased the maximum Pell award by $819 to a maximum award $5,550, helping over 9 million students pay for college tuition bills. The deal provides specific protection in the discretionary budget to ensure that the there will be sufficient funding for the President’s historic investment in Pell Grants without undermining other critical investments.
3. ESTABLISHING A BIPARTISAN PROCESS TO ACHIEVE $1.5 TRILLION IN ADDITIONAL BALANCED DEFICIT REDUCTION BY THE END OF 2011
  • The Deal Locks in a Process to Enact $1.5 Trillion in Additional Deficit Reduction Through a Bipartisan, Bicameral Congressional Committee: The deal creates a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Committee that is charged with enacting $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction by the end of the year. This Committee will work without the looming specter of default, ensuring time to carefully consider essential reforms without the disruption and brinksmanship of the past few months.
  • This Committee is Empowered Beyond Previous Bipartisan Attempts at Deficit Reduction: Any recommendation of the Committee would be given fast-track privilege in the House and Senate, assuring it of an up or down vote and preventing some from using procedural gimmicks to block action.
  • To Meet This Target, the Committee Will Consider Responsible Entitlement and Tax Reform. This means putting all the priorities of both parties on the table – including both entitlement reform and revenue-raising tax reform.
4. A STRONG ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM TO MAKE ALL SIDES COME TOGETHER
  • The Deal Includes An Automatic Sequester to Ensure That At Least $1.2 Trillion in Deficit Reduction Is Achieved By 2013 Beyond the Discretionary Caps: The deal includes an automatic sequester on certain spending programs to ensure that—between the Committee and the trigger—we at least put in place an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by 2013.
  • Consistent With Past Practice, Sequester Would Be Divided Equally Between Defense and Non-Defense Programs and Exempt Social Security, Medicaid, and Low-Income Programs: Consistent with the bipartisan precedents established in the 1980s and 1990s, the sequester would be divided equally between defense and non-defense program, and it would exempt Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement. Likewise, any cuts to Medicare would be capped and limited to the provider side.
  • Sequester Would Provide a Strong Incentive for Both Sides to Come to the Table:  If the fiscal committee took no action, the deal would automatically add nearly $500 billion in defense cuts on top of cuts already made, and, at the same time, it would cut critical programs like infrastructure or education.  That outcome would be unacceptable to many Republicans and Democrats alike – creating pressure for a bipartisan agreement without requiring the threat of a default with unthinkable consequences for our economy.
5. A BALANCED DEAL CONSISTENT WITH THE PRESIDENT’S COMMITMENT TO SHARED SACRIFICE
  • The Deal Sets the Stage for Balanced Deficit Reduction, Consistent with the President’s Values: The deal is designed to achieve balanced deficit reduction, consistent with the values the President articulated in his April Fiscal Framework. The discretionary savings are spread between both domestic and defense spending. And the President will demand that the Committee pursue a balanced deficit reduction package, where any entitlement reforms are coupled with revenue-raising tax reform that asks for the most fortunate Americans to sacrifice.
  • The Enforcement Mechanism Complements the Forcing Event Already In Law – the Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts – To Create Pressure for a Balanced Deal: The Bush tax cuts expire as of 1/1/2013, the same date that the spending sequester would go into effect. These two events together will force balanced deficit reduction. Absent a balanced deal, it would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts.
  • In Securing this Bipartisan Deal, the President Rejected Proposals that Would Have Placed the Sole Burden of Deficit Reduction on Low-Income or Middle-Class Families: The President stood firmly against proposals that would have placed the sole burden of deficit reduction on lower-income and middle-class families. This includes not only proposals in the House Republican Budget that would have undermined the core commitments of Medicare to our seniors and forced tens of millions of low-income Americans to go without health insurance, but also enforcement mechanisms that would have forced automatic cuts to low-income programs. The enforcement mechanism in the deal exempts Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare benefits, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement.

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: President Obama’s Statement to the Nation — Announces Reaching a Bipartisan Debt Deal with Congress

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

President Obama speaks in support of the bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit and raise the debt limit

Source: WH, 7-31-11

President Barack Obama makes a statement announcing a deal in the ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to the debt limit and deficit reduction

President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House announcing a deal in the ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to the debt limit and deficit reduction, July 31, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Tonight, President Obama spoke in support of a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation’s deficit and avoid default. It extends the debt limit to 2013, removing the cloud of uncertainty over our economy and ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of default now or in only a few months for political gain. The bipartisan compromise assures that the United States meets its obligations – including monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.

In order to receive the support from both parties — as the President has consistently stressed — the agreement has a few important elements:

  • A down payment on deficit reduction with historic long-term spending restraint: Nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts — done in a way to not harm the economic recovery, are balanced between domestic and pentagon spending, and protects critical initiatives like aid for college students;
  • Expedited process for balanced deficit reduction: Puts in place a longer term process for additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction through a committee structure that will put everything on the table, including tax and entitlement reform. To prevent either side from using procedural tricks to prevent Congress from acting, the committee’s recommendations will receive fast track authority, which means they can’t be amended or filibustered.
  • Sets the stage for a balanced package, including revenues: The American people and a growing number of Republicans agree that any deficit reduction package must be balanced and included revenue.
    • If the Committee does not succeed in meaningful balanced deficit reduction with revenue-raising tax reform on the most well-off by the end of 2012, the President can use his veto pen to raise nearly $1 trillion from the most well-off by vetoing any extension of the Bush high income tax cuts.
  • A proven enforcement mechanism: An enforcement mechanism that will compel painful enough cuts to both sides that it will force congress to act. Enforcement mechanisms by their very nature should include measures that neither side supports so as to ensure action.
    • If Congress fails to act, beginning in 2013 there will be $1.2 trillion in spending cuts through 2021 – 50 percent from domestic spending and 50 percent from defense spending.  Low income programs, including Medicaid, and Social Security and Medicare benefits would be exempted.  Medicare cuts would be capped, limited to the provider side.
  • Does not accept entitlement reforms without equal consideration of revenue raising tax reform, and ensures that low-income and middle class families are not forced to bear a disproportionate share of the burden from deficit reduction.

This fact sheet provides and even more comprehensive overview of the deal.

Here are President Obama’s full remarks:

Remarks by the President

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

8:40 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening.  There are still some very important votes to be taken by members of Congress, but I want to announce that the leaders of both parties, in both chambers, have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default — a default that would have had a devastating effect on our economy.

The first part of this agreement will cut about $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years — cuts that both parties had agreed to early on in this process.  The result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was President — but at a level that still allows us to make job-creating investments in things like education and research.  We also made sure that these cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on a fragile economy.

Now, I’ve said from the beginning that the ultimate solution to our deficit problem must be balanced.  Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions.  Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations.

That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important.  It establishes a bipartisan committee of Congress to report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit, which will then be put before the entire Congress for an up or down vote.  In this stage, everything will be on the table. To hold us all accountable for making these reforms, tough cuts that both parties would find objectionable would automatically go into effect if we don’t act.  And over the next few months, I’ll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers about why I believe a balanced approach is necessary to finish the job.

Now, is this the deal I would have preferred?  No.  I believe that we could have made the tough choices required — on entitlement reform and tax reform — right now, rather than through a special congressional committee process.  But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need, and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year.

Most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America.  It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months, or eight months, or 12 months.  And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.

Now, this process has been messy; it’s taken far too long.  I’ve been concerned about the impact that it has had on business confidence and consumer confidence and the economy as a whole over the last month.  Nevertheless, ultimately, the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise.  And I want to thank them for that.

Most of all, I want to thank the American people.  It’s been your voices — your letters, your emails, your tweets, your phone calls — that have compelled Washington to act in the final days. And the American people’s voice is a very, very powerful thing.

We’re not done yet.  I want to urge members of both parties to do the right thing and support this deal with your votes over the next few days.  It will allow us to avoid default.  It will allow us to pay our bills.  It will allow us to start reducing our deficit in a responsible way.  And it will allow us to turn to the very important business of doing everything we can to create jobs, boost wages, and grow this economy faster than it’s currently growing.

That’s what the American people sent us here to do, and that’s what we should be devoting all of our time to accomplishing in the months ahead.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END
8:44 P.M. EDT

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: President Obama & Republican, Democratic Congressional Leaders Reach Debt Deal — House & Senate Votes Monday

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Time for Compromise

President Obama speaks in support of a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation’s deficit and avoid default.

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press

White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/31/11

JULY 31, 2011: PRESIDENT OBAMA & REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS REACH DEBT DEAL

  • President Obama Announces Debt Deal: Rundown of the Debt Debate 9:25 p.m. ET | President Obama announced Sunday evening that he had reached an agreement with party leaders in Congress that will cut the deficit, raise the debt ceiling and create a bipartisan, bicameral committee of members of Congress to identify further deficit cuts.
    The deal will cut $1 trillion from the deficit over ten years and allow President Obama to raise the debt ceiling in a series of steps that Congress could then vote against, but they would need a likely unattainable two-thirds majority in both chambers to reject the debt limit increase.
    The deficit reduction committee must identify a way to cut at least an additional $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years and then send that proposal to Congress by the end of the year. If it does not pass, there will be a series of automatic cuts in Medicare and defense and non-defense domestic spending. This measure is meant to force the committee to reach a workable agreement.
    “Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could’ve made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now, rather than through a special Congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year,” President Obama said. “Most importantly it would allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis in six months, or eight months or 12 months.”
    President Obama urged members of Congress to support the deal, but that support is not guaranteed. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, held a conference call Sunday evening to sell the deal to House Republicans. He used this slide show to make his case.
    The Senate will also have to vote to pass the plan, but the math is more uncertain in the House, where Democratic votes will be needed to pass a bill that some conservative Republicans will likely reject. The deal must be passed in both chambers before 12 a.m. Wednesday in order to avoid a default on the debt and an overnight reduction of 40 percent of government spending…. – PBS Newshour, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Congress reach a debt deal: Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama announced agreement Sunday night with Republican congressional leaders on a compromise to avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.
    Default “would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial markets around the world. He thanked the leaders of both parties.
    House Speaker John Boehner telephoned Obama at mid-evening to say the agreement had been struck, officials said.
    No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday at the earliest, to give rank-and-file lawmakers time to review the package. But leaders in both parties were already beginning the work of rounding up votes…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • It’s a deal: Obama, Congress will avert default: Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced historic agreement Sunday night on emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.
    The dramatic resolution lifted a cloud that had threatened the still-fragile economic recovery at home – and it instantly powered a rise in financial markets overseas.
    The agreement would slice at least $2.4 trillion from federal spending over a decade, a steep price for many Democrats, too little for many Republicans. The Treasury’s authority to borrow would be extended beyond the 2012 elections, a key objective for Obama, though the president had to give up his insistence on raising taxes on wealthy Americans to reduce deficits… – AP, 7-31-11
  • Obama announces deal reached to end debt crisis: President Barack Obama announced on Sunday that Democrats and Republicans leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default. Obama said the agreement will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Obama announces debt deal to end U.S. debt crisis: President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Democrat and Republican leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default, but it was not clear if the spending cuts were deep enough to stave off a credit rating downgrade.
    Obama said the agreement will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years and cuts would not happen so quickly that they would drag on the fragile U.S. economy. Another $1.2 trillion would be cut if a joint committee fails to find at least that much in budget savings.
    The deal would still have to be passed in the House and the Senate.
    U.S. S&P 500 stock futures bounced 1.4 percent and U.S. Treasuries futures slid on news of the deal. Gold and then yen also fell.
    Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating agencies indicated earlier that deficit-cutting measures of around $4 trillion would be enough for the U.S. to avoid losing its prized AAA rating…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Leaders Report Accord on Debt Limit Increase: 9:05 p.m. | Updated Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress announced Sunday night that they have reached a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avert a default.
    President Obama spoke moments later at the White House, telling reporters that “the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid a default.”
    “My message to the world tonight is that this nation and this Congress are moving forward and we are moving forward together,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said from the floor of the Senate.
    Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader said “there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington’s spending.”
    The announcement came even as House Speaker John A. Boehner was holding conference call with Republican House members.
    In the Senate, Mr. Reid called the deal a “historic bipartisan compromise” and said it is “remarkable” for what it does and for what it prevents: a “first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States.”
    “Sometimes it seems, our two sides disagree on almost everything,” he said. “But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt.”
    “This is an important moment for our country,” Mr. McConnell said, adding later that “I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending. And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations.”… – NYT, 7-31-11
  • White House, congressional leaders reach debt deal: Two days before the deadline for a possible U.S. government default, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached agreement Sunday on a legislative package that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps.
    The proposed $3 trillion deal, which still requires congressional approval, brought some immediate relief to global markets closely watching the situation play out and a nation filled with anger and frustration over partisan political wrangling that threatened further economic harm to an already struggling recovery…. – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Leaders agree on framework of a deal to end the debt crisis: President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties said late Sunday that they had agreed to a framework for a budget deal that would cut trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade and clear the way for an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.
    With the health of the fragile economy hanging in the balance and financial markets watching closely, the leaders said they would present the compromise to their caucuses Monday morning in hopes of narrowly averting a default before a Tuesday deadline.
    Obama spoke from the White House on Sunday night, telling reporters that “the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid a default.”
    Just before Obama spoke on TV, the two Senate leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, took the floor to endorse the pact as well.
    “I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff,” said Reid, the majority leader.
    The agreement came after a day of wrangling over Pentagon cuts and must still be sold to the Senate and the House, with the House providing a particular challenge.
    As conversations flowed between the White House and Capitol Hill, Reid, the majority leader, publicly embraced the compromise that would tie deep spending cuts to a debt increase, though
    his plans to bring it to a vote as early as Sunday were put off as was a tentative meeting of Senate Democrats to review it…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Congress Reach Debt Deal: President Barack Obama on Sunday said that leaders of both parties have reached an agreement to lift the U.S. debt ceiling, reduce the federal deficit and avoid a U.S. credit default, an announcement welcomed in early trading on the Asia financial markets.
    Both the U.S. House and Senate were expected to meet Monday to discuss the details of the plan, which calls for increasing the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion through the end of 2012 along with $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction.
    “It will allow us to avoid default,” said Mr. Obama, who spoke at the White House … WSJ, 7-31-11
  • Parties agree to debt-ceiling deal, pending votes in Congress: Senate Majority Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Sunday night that they had come to an agreement on a deal that would raise the federal debt limit and reduce the deficit.
    In back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor, Reid (D-Nev.) called the compact an “historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff,” while McConnell (R-Ky.) said there was now a framework in place to “ensure significant cuts in Washington spending.”
    “Sometimes it seems our two sides disagree on almost everything. But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt, risking a United States financial collapse and a worldwide depression,” Reid said.
    Speaking from the White House, President Obama acknowledged that the “messy” fight over the nation’s debt and deficits has “taken far too long,” but he thanked leaders for finding “their way toward compromise” and urged Americans to continue putting pressure on lawmakers until the deal is voted out of Congress.
    The agreement “will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy,” Obama said.
    As the Senate leaders announced the accord, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) addressed his members on a conference call – briefing them on the outline of the plan.
    “There’s no agreement until we’ve talked to you,” Boehner told the members, according to excerpts of the conversation released by his office.
    All sides planned to meet Monday morning to go over details…. – LAT, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Boehner Announce Agreement to Raise Debt Ceiling, Avoid Default: It took the threat of economic collapse and a long, contentious negotiation — and there will still be votes in Congress before it’s truly done — but lawmakers from both parties and the White House have reached a deal to raise the nation’s credit limit — the debt ceiling — by $2.4 trillion, likely through 2012.
    President Obama made a hastily arranged address from the White House at 8:40 p.m. at the same time House Speaker John Boehner was pitching the deal to House Republicans on a conference call.
    “This will allow us to avoid default, allow us to pay our bills,” the president said.
    On the senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared alongside Majority Leader Harry Reid and seemed confident that the deal would gain enough support to pass through Congress.
    “We can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations,” he said.
    Boehner told House Republicans, according to an account released by his office, that the framework he and the president have agreed upon is true to the principles of small government because it relies entirely on spending cuts, although it includes promises of entitlement and tax reform in the future…. – ABC News, 7-31-11
  • Obama Says Congressional Leaders Approve Debt-Limit Increase: President Barack Obama said tonight that leaders of both parties in the U.S. House and Senate had approved an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and cut the federal deficit that must now be sold to Congress.
    “The leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default,” Obama said at the White House. “This compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit-reduction we need. Most importantly it will allow us to avoid default.”
    Congressional leaders are sifting through the details of the tentative bipartisan agreement to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion, sufficient to serve the nation’s needs into 2013. They are preparing to sell to members the deal to cut $917 billion in spending over a decade, raising the debt limit initially by $900 billion, and to charge a special committee with finding another $1.5 trillion in deficit savings by the year’s end. They confront an Aug. 2 deadline for approval…. – Bloomberg, 7-31-11
  • Obama Announces Debt-Reduction Deal Approved by Senate, House Leaders: President Obama announced Sunday night that leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement on a debt-reduction deal that will “lift the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.”
    According to the president, the deal means an immediate cut of $1 trillion over a 10-year period, followed by the creation of a committee to come up with additional cuts worth $1.5 trillion to be voted on by the end of the year.
    Each chamber will nominate lawmakers to the committee to report back in the fall. Tax hikes are not part of the package and a pledge for a Balanced Budget Amendment vote is.
    Obama said everything will be on the table and both parties will find some of the cuts objectionable.
    The Senate adjourned Sunday night without a vote on a debt reduction deal, but Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that the parties are going to have to give ground and compromise so the country doesn’t default.
    “I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff. The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents: a first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States,” Reid said.
    Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will both present the agreement to their caucuses on Monday morning. Several objections are expected, including from Republican defense hawks who don’t want the military gutted and from the Congressional Black Caucus, which called the deal a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich.”
    House Speaker John Boehner told his Republican caucus on a Sunday night conference call that the deal isn’t done yet.
    “The press has been filled with reports all day about an agreement. There’s no agreement until we’ve talked to you,” he said.
    But Boehner of Ohio said the deal does not violate GOP principles. “We got 98 percent of what we wanted,” he said adding gthat the framework cuts more spending than it raises the debt limit. It also caps future spending to limits in the growth of government.
    “It would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment, while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of a BBA to support it,” Boehner said…. – Fox News, 7-31-11
  • Debt deal: Obama, Hill leaders break through: Facing the imminent prospect of default, the White House and congressional leaders reached a debt ceiling deal that gives President Barack Obama greater certainty in managing the Treasury’s borrowing needs while making a joint commitment to major deficit reduction without any explicit concessions by the GOP on new tax revenues.
    Obama announced the deal at 8:40 p.m. on live TV in the White House briefing room as Speaker John Boehner was simultaneously briefing his own Republican conference on the deal.
    “Is this the deal I would have preferred?” No,” Obama said. “We could have made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now rather than through a special congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need … and ensures also that will we not face this same kind of crisis in six months or eight months or twelve months.”
    “Both parties gave more than they wanted,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in making the announcement on the Senate floor. “But that’s the essence of compromise.”
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a central player together with Vice President Joe Biden in the final talks, had been confident all of Sunday that a resolution was possible. But Boehner’s silence had remained a concern for the administration, having twice seen the Ohio Republican walk away from negotiations with the president.
    It was not until the evening that Boehner announced an 8:30 p.m. conference call with his members, and even then his staff said there had no agreement yet on a stubborn dispute over 2012 defense funding. But that issue was resolved finally when it appears the administration agreed to use a broader definition of security spending that also includes funding for Homeland Security, the State Department and foreign aid…. – Politico, 7-31-11
  • President Obama: Deal reached on debt crisis: President Barack Obama announced that an agreement with Republicans has been struck to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years.
    Mr. Obama said the deal will result in the lowest level of domestic spending since the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s, but still allow the U.S. to create jobs.
    Still clinging to his idea of a balanced approach, Obama said “we have to ask wealthiest Americans to give up tax breaks,” as well as make modest adjustments to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
    The second part of the agreement reached was a previously mentioned bipartisan Congressional committee, which will report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit. Their proposals will then be put in front of congress for up or down vote…. – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • Obama: Deal raises debt ceiling and reduces deficits: President Barack Obama announced Sunday an agreement with congressional leaders would extend the federal debt ceiling and reduce deficits.
    He said that, under the debt agreement reached by congressional leaders from both parties, which must still must be approved by lawmakers, a bipartisan commission would report back by November with suggested cuts and potentially revenue increases to address the nation’s budget deficit.
    “At this stage, everything will be on the table,” Obama said of this second round of cuts, which are in addition to an agreed-upon $1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.
    Obama said the debt reduction plan that’s been backed by congressional leaders – but that still must be approved by the House and Senate – “ensures that we will not face this kind of crisis in six months, in eight months, or in 12 months.”… – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Harry Reid Supports Debt Ceiling Compromise; Defense Cuts a Sticking Point: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman says the majority leader has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement “pending caucus approval,” but there’s nothing yet from Republicans.
    So, what’s the delay? There’s one last bone of contention.
    Republicans are objecting to the amount of defense spending cuts in the first year of the deal. This has nothing to do with the trigger — if further spending cuts are not enacted by Congress next year, the deal would mandate they occur. This disagreement has to do with how much of next year’s cuts will apply to defense.
    Reid is trying to put pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to give in on this last point by saying that everybody is now on board –- except for the Speaker…. – ABC News, 7-31-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Senate Minority Mitch McConnell’s Statement that Republicans Agreed on a Debt Deal with White House & Democrats

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

McConnell: Framework Now Exists to Prevent Default, Cut Washington Spending

Source: McConnell Senate, 7-31-11

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate floor Sunday on a proposed framework to prevent default and reduce Washington spending:

“This is an important moment for our country. I appreciate the Majority Leader’s comments and want to say a few words to our colleagues who have been so patient over the past several days, and whose ideas and encouragement have been so helpful in getting us to this point.

“First of all, let me reiterate that before any agreement is reached, Republicans will meet to discuss the framework that the White House and the congressional leaders in both parties think would meet our stated efforts to cut spending more than the President’s requested debt ceiling increase, prevent a national default, and protect the economy from tax increases. And to that end, I would like to say to my Republican colleagues that we’ll be holding a conference meeting in the morning to discuss this framework and give everyone a chance to weigh in.

“But at this point I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending. And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations.”

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Backs Debt Deal — Senate Vote Sunday Evening

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to reporters as he leaves after meeting with House Democratic leadership on the debt ceiling crises on Capitol Hill in Washington July 31, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

JULY 31, 2011: HARRY REID BACKS DEBT DEAL, SENATE VOTE SUNDAY EVENING

“Senator Reid has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval.” — Harry Reid Spokesman Adam Jentleson

“I’ve had, for the information of senators, a number of conversations in the last hour with people downtown – and the arrangement that is being worked on with the Republican leader and the administration and others is not there yet…. We’re hopeful and confident it can be done. As soon as it is done, I’ll let my caucus know.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Reid says hopes to hold Senate debt vote tonight: Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday he hopes to hold a Senate vote tonight on an emerging deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
Asked if the Senate would vote tonight on the plan, Reid said “we hope to” as he left a meeting with other congressional Democratic leaders… – Reuters, 7-31-11

 

  • Reid says he has signed onto a debt ceiling deal: The Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday that he has signed onto a debt ceiling deal with President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, pending approval of his caucus.
    The statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was the first confirmation of a pending deal after legislative leaders dropped hints all day that an agreement was close… – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Reid Backs Debt Deal and Hopes for Sunday Night Debt Vote: 5:29 p.m. | Updated A spokesman for Senator Harry Reid said the Senate majority leader has “signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval.”
    Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, also raised the possibility that his chamber might vote as early as Sunday night on a yet-to-be-announced debt ceiling compromise designed to avert a potential economic crisis this week. When he emerged from a two-hour meeting with other Democratic lawmakers and was asked whether the Senate would vote on a deal Sunday.
    “I hope so,” he told a swarm of reporters.
    A Sunday vote seemed unlikely just a few hours earlier as top lawmakers and the White House continued to work behind closed doors to finalize a debt agreement that would cut spending by more than $2.5 trillion and raise the debt ceiling into 2013…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Amid New Talks, Some Optimism on Debt Crisis: New budget talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama made progress late Saturday, suddenly stirring optimism that a last-minute deal could be reached to avert a potential federal default that threatened significant economic and political consequences.
    After a tense day of Congressional floor fights and angry exchanges, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, called off a planned showdown vote set for after midnight, but said he would convene the Senate at noon on Sunday for a vote an hour later. He said he wanted to give the new negotiations a chance to produce a plan to raise the federal debt limit in exchange for spending cuts and the creation of a new Congressional committee that would try to assemble a long-range deficit-cutting proposal.
    “There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed,” said Mr. Reid, who just a few hours earlier had played down talk of any agreement. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    Mr. Reid’s announcement set off an almost audible sigh of relief on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and their aides had been bracing for an overnight clash over the debt following a day that had seen a heated House vote and lawmakers trudging from office to office in search of an answer to the impasse…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • White House, GOP race toward debt compromise: Just two days before the federal government’s Aug. 2 deadline to avoid economic default, lawmakers and White House negotiators are scrambling to hammer out an agreement for raising the debt ceiling – but despite talk of an impending deal, leading Democrats say they’re “not there yet.”
    Just minutes after Senate Republicans voted to block Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democratic bill to raise the nation’s borrowing limit on Sunday, lawmakers turned their focus to ongoing negotiations between President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who are working on a deal that would extend the debt limit through 2012 and cut up to $3 trillion in spending during the next 10 years.
    That deal proposes $3 trillion in cuts that would come in two waves. The first wave would include $1 trillion in reductions. A bipartisan “super congressional committee” would then need to determine the second round of cuts by Thanksgiving of 2011. If Congress failed to agree on that second round of cuts, automatic “trigger” cuts would be made.
    McConnell said Sunday afternoon that negotiators were “really, really close to an agreement,” but leading Democrats maintain that the deal is “not there yet.”… – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • ‘Really close’ to debt deal as deadline nears: Racing to avoid a government default, President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached urgently for a compromise Sunday to permit vital borrowing by the Treasury in exchange for more than $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the two sides were “really, really close” to a deal after months of partisan fighting. Yet he and others stressed that no compromise had been sealed, just two days before a deadline to raise the federal debt limit and enable the government to keep paying its bills.
    As contemplated under a deal that McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden were negotiating, the federal debt limit would rise in two stages by at least $2.2 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • Political left and right decry debt-ceiling deal: Signs are emerging that a possible compromise to raise the debt ceiling doesn’t pass muster with those on the political left or right…. – USA Today, 7-31-11
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