Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 26, 2011: Boehner Delays Debt Plan Vote to Thursday — Rewriting Debt Plan to Gain Support of Opposing Conservative Republicans & Meet Congressional Budget Office Standards


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.


House Speaker John Boehner, (right) Ohio Republican, and Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (center), Texas Republican, listen as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, speaks July 26, 2011, during a news conference at the Republican National Committee on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

House Speaker John Boehner, (right) Ohio Republican, and Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (center), Texas Republican, listen as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, speaks July 26, 2011, during a news conference at the Republican National Committee on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)


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
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