Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 29, 2011: House Votes & Passes Speaker John Boehner’s Revised Debt Ceiling Bill 218-210 — Still Retains Opposition from Senate, Obama & White House

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:

Speaker John Boehner speaks on the House floor before a vote on his debt-ceiling plan July 29, 2011.

Speaker John Boehner speaks on the House floor before a vote on his debt-ceiling plan July 29, 2011. (C-SPAN)

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
Advertisements

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 29, 2011: President Obama Addresses the Nation on Debt Crisis — Asks for White House Followers to #Compromise on Twitter

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS:

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/29/11

Time for Compromise

The President urges Democrats and Republicans to reach a bipartisan solution to avoid default and calls on the American people to make their voices heard in the ongoing debate on our national debt.

President Obama Calls on the American People to Make their Voices Heard

Source: WH, 7-29-11

This morning, President Obama spoke on the status of the debt ceiling negotiations from the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House. The President urged Republicans and Democrats in Congress to find a bipartisan solution to avoid default that he can sign by Tuesday. Though we are almost out of time, the President made it clear that there are multiple ways to resolve this problem:

Now, keep in mind, this is not a situation where the two parties are miles apart.  We’re in rough agreement about how much spending can be cut responsibly as a first step toward reducing our deficit.  We agree on a process where the next step is a debate in the coming months on tax reform and entitlement reform –- and I’m ready and willing to have that debate.  And if we need to put in place some kind of enforcement mechanism to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, I’ll support that too if it’s done in a smart and balanced way.

So there are plenty of ways out of this mess.  But we are almost out of time.  We need to reach a compromise by Tuesday so that our country will have the ability to pay its bills on time, as we always have — bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.  Keep in mind, if we don’t do that, if we don’t come to an agreement, we could lose our country’s AAA credit rating, not because we didn’t have the capacity to pay our bills — we do — but because we didn’t have a AAA political system to match our AAA credit rating.

And make no mistake -– for those who say they oppose tax increases on anyone, a lower credit rating would result potentially in a tax increase on everyone in the form of higher interest rates on their mortgages, their car loans, their credit cards.  And that’s inexcusable.

President Obama reiterated that the power to reach a balanced solution is in our hands:

There are a lot of crises in the world that we can’t always predict or avoid -– hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks.  This isn’t one of those crises.  The power to solve this is in our hands.  And on a day when we’ve been reminded how fragile the economy already is, this is one burden we can lift ourselves.   We can end it with a simple vote –- a vote that Democrats and Republicans have been taking for decades, a vote that the leaders in Congress have taken for decades.

It’s not a vote that allows Congress to spend more money.  Raising the debt ceiling simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.  I want to emphasize that.  The debt ceiling does not determine how much more money we can spend, it simply authorizes us to pay the bills we already have racked up.  It gives the United States of America the ability to keep its word.

Finally, the President called on the American people to continue to make their voices heard in this debate:

Now, on Monday night, I asked the American people to make their voice heard in this debate, and the response was overwhelming.  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.  Make a phone call.  Send an email.  Tweet.  Keep the pressure on Washington, and we can get past this.

And for my part, our administration will be continuing to work with Democrats and Republicans all weekend long until we find a solution.  The time for putting party first is over.  The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now.  And I am confident that we can solve this problem.  I’m confident that we will solve this problem.  For all the intrigue and all the drama that’s taking place on Capitol Hill right now, I’m confident that common sense and cooler heads will prevail.

But as I said earlier, we are now running out of time.  It’s important for everybody to step up and show the leadership that the American people expect.

 

The Time for #Compromise is Now

Source: WH, 7-29-11

“The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now,” said President Obama during a statement on debt negotiations this morning. On Twitter, people are using the hashtag #compromise in response to his speech. Here @whitehouse, we’ve been using Twitter all week for our new White House Office Hours series, where senior staff have been answering your questions on the debt debate and the economy in 140 characters or less.

Here are a some ways you can stay engaged in the conversation on Twitter:

  • Use the hashtag #compromise on Twitter to respond to the President’s remarks
  • Keep on using the hashtag #WHChat to ask White House staff question during Office Hours
  • Retweet or reply to our live tweeting of the President’s remarks (below)
Loading Storify…

Judge Orders Release of Nixon’s Watergate Testimony

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Judge: Time to unseal Nixon’s Watergate testimony

Source: AP, 7-29-11

Nixon Resignation, Aug. 9, 1974

In this Aug. 9, 1974 black-and-white file photo, President Richard M. Nixon and his wife Pat Nixon are shown standing together in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Thirty-six years after Nixon testified secretly to a grand jury investigating Watergate, a federal judge orders the first public release of the transcript. (AP Photo/Charlie Harrity, File)

Thirty-six years after Richard Nixon testified to a grand jury about the Watergate break-in that drove him from office, a federal judge on Friday ordered the secret transcript made public. But the 297 pages of testimony won’t be available immediately, because the government gets time to decide whether to appeal.

The Obama administration opposed the transcript’s release, chiefly to protect the privacy of people discussed during the ex-president’s testimony who are still alive. Nevertheless, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth agreed with historians who sued for release of the documents that the historical significance outweighs arguments for secrecy, because the investigations are long over and Nixon has been dead 17 years…

At the time of his testimony, Nixon could not be prosecuted for conduct related to Watergate because he had been pardoned by President Gerald Ford. Ten days after Nixon testified, the grand jury was dismissed without making any indictments based on what he told them.

The historians say the testimony could address ongoing debate over Nixon’s knowledge of the break-in at Democratic party headquarters at the Watergate complex and his role in the cover-up.

“Nixon knew when you testified before a grand jury you exposed yourself to perjury, so I’m betting he told the truth,” said University of Wisconsin Professor Stanley Kutler, who filed the lawsuit along with four historians’ organizations. Kutler, author of “Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes,” previously successfully sued to force the release of audio recordings Nixon secretly made in the Oval Office. “Now, what did he tell the truth about? I don’t know.”…READ MORE

Scholar Craig Shirley: Reagan Would Have Handled Debt Crisis Differently Than Obama

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: US News, 7-29-11

President Ronald Reagan would have handled the current debt ceiling crisis much differently than President Obama, according to Reagan scholar and author Craig Shirley. “First of all, Reagan would’ve had a plan,” he says. “We haven’t had a plan from Obama in 800 days, haven’t seen a budget in 800 days. Reagan would’ve had a budget and a plan.”

Obama and Congress have failed to negotiate a way to prevent the government from being unable to pay all of its bills, which the Treasury Department says will occur on Tuesday. The president’s critics have accused him of lacking leadership on the issue.

Shirley, a conservative operative who was recently named the first ever Reagan scholar at Reagan’s alma mater, Eureka College in Illinois, also criticized Obama’s spending priorities. “Obama’s priorities are high speed rail. Reagan’s was to win the Cold War,” he says. Reagan’s “priorities were far more important, far more consequential, because we did have thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads pointed at our grandchildren’s and our children’s heads.”

Reagan did raise the debt ceiling during his tenure at the White House, Shirley admits, adding, “but he did so because we had a larger national mission than green energy projects.”

Clement A. Price: Obama names New Jersey historian Professor to federal advisory post

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Will serve as vice chair of Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Source: NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM, 7-29-11

priceclement

Renown Rutgers-Newark History Prof. Clement A. Price on Friday was named vice chairman of the president’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation by President Obama.

Price is Rutgers’ Board of Governors Distinguished Service professor of history and the founder and director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers-Newark. The professor is involved in many historic and cultural institutions in New Jersey. He currently serves as the chairman of the Save Ellis Island Foundation and the Newark Education Trust, and is a member of the state Historical Commission, the state Council on the Arts, and the Newark Black Film Festival. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history at the University of Bridgeport and his doctorate in history from Rutgers.

Price was one of five people appointed to federal posts and advisory positions by Obama.

“The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people,” the president said. “I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Obama also appointed, the former president of the University of South Florida to the William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She received her bachelor’s degree from Rowan University in Glassboro.

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 29, 2011: Obama Addresses Nation; “Bipartisan” Debt Plan Only Option — Harry Reid Moves Toward Senate Vote — John Boehner has House Votes — Sunday Showdown on Debt Crisis

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

Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the U.S. debt ceiling talks, from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington on Friday.

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

“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

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 29, 2011: President Obama Addresses the Nation on Debt Crisis — Asks for Bipartisan Compromise Debt Ceiling Deal

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS:

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/29/11

President Obama delivers a statement on the debt ceiling talks, from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, July 29, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

Remarks by the President on the Status of Debt Ceiling Negotiations

Source: WH, 7-29-11

Diplomatic Reception Room

10:36 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I want to speak about the ongoing and increasingly urgent efforts to avoid default and reduce our deficit.

Right now, the House of Representatives is still trying to pass a bill that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already said they won’t vote for.  It’s a plan that would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months, holding our economy captive to Washington politics once again.  In other words, it does not solve the problem, and it has no chance of becoming law.

What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan.  It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people -– not just one faction.  It will have to have the support of both the House and the Senate.  And there are multiple ways to resolve this problem.  Senator Reid, a Democrat, has introduced a plan in the Senate that contains cuts agreed upon by both parties.  Senator McConnell, a Republican, offered a solution that could get us through this.  There are plenty of modifications we can make to either of these plans in order to get them passed through both the House and the Senate and would allow me to sign them into law.  And today I urge Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support — that can get support from both parties in the House –- a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.

Now, keep in mind, this is not a situation where the two parties are miles apart.  We’re in rough agreement about how much spending can be cut responsibly as a first step toward reducing our deficit.  We agree on a process where the next step is a debate in the coming months on tax reform and entitlement reform –- and I’m ready and willing to have that debate.  And if we need to put in place some kind of enforcement mechanism to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, I’ll support that too if it’s done in a smart and balanced way.

So there are plenty of ways out of this mess.  But we are almost out of time.  We need to reach a compromise by Tuesday so that our country will have the ability to pay its bills on time, as we always have — bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.  Keep in mind, if we don’t do that, if we don’t come to an agreement, we could lose our country’s AAA credit rating, not because we didn’t have the capacity to pay our bills — we do — but because we didn’t have a AAA political system to match our AAA credit rating.

And make no mistake -– for those who say they oppose tax increases on anyone, a lower credit rating would result potentially in a tax increase on everyone in the form of higher interest rates on their mortgages, their car loans, their credit cards.  And that’s inexcusable.

There are a lot of crises in the world that we can’t always predict or avoid -– hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks.  This isn’t one of those crises.  The power to solve this is in our hands.  And on a day when we’ve been reminded how fragile the economy already is, this is one burden we can lift ourselves.   We can end it with a simple vote –- a vote that Democrats and Republicans have been taking for decades, a vote that the leaders in Congress have taken for decades.

It’s not a vote that allows Congress to spend more money.  Raising the debt ceiling simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.  I want to emphasize that.  The debt ceiling does not determine how much more money we can spend, it simply authorizes us to pay the bills we already have racked up.  It gives the United States of America the ability to keep its word.

Now, on Monday night, I asked the American people to make their voice heard in this debate, and the response was overwhelming.  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.  Make a phone call.  Send an email.  Tweet.  Keep the pressure on Washington, and we can get past this.

And for my part, our administration will be continuing to work with Democrats and Republicans all weekend long until we find a solution.  The time for putting party first is over.  The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now.  And I am confident that we can solve this problem.  I’m confident that we will solve this problem.  For all the intrigue and all the drama that’s taking place on Capitol Hill right now, I’m confident that common sense and cooler heads will prevail.

But as I said earlier, we are now running out of time.  It’s important for everybody to step up and show the leadership that the American people expect.

Thank you.

END
10:42 A.M. EDT

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 29, 2011: Harry Reid’s Statement on the Senate Floor on Debt Plan Vote to Avert Crisis

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: Senate Will Act to Avert Default, Keep the Economy Alive

Chuck Schumer, left, and Harry Reid give a press conference on Thursday. | AP Photo
July 29, 2011

Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding a path forward to avert a default crisis. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Although the House of Representatives has not yet voted on Speaker Boehner’s plan, that plan is flawed.

That is why they have struggled for days to pass this inadequate legislation without a single Democrat. They have plowed forward, looking only to Republicans.

But as with the battle to pass a Continuing Resolution and keep our government open for business a few months ago, the Republican leadership was unable to get the votes with only Republicans. Speaker Boehner had to look to Democrats.

That’s how it’s supposed to work – Democrats and Republicans working together.

A Band-Aid approach to a world crisis is an embarrassment to Congress, to this country and to the world.

United Senate Democrats – all 53 of us – have informed the Speaker that his legislation was doomed in the Senate, because we would not vote for a short-term extension of the debt ceiling. It would put our great nation on the path to another default extravaganza in a few weeks.

Virtually every expert – every economist, every rating agency, every market analyst – has said the kind of short-term plan the Speaker proposed was no answer to the crisis Republicans have created. If we are trying to avert the kind of financial calamity default would bring, the Republicans’ plan is not was not a solution.

As the experts say, all too soon we would be back in the midst of partisan wrangling, with our economy once again held prisoner by extremist Tea Party Republicans.

Our economy cannot bear this kind of uncertainty any longer.

Congress and the White House are on lockdown, and the business of the country is not being conducted.

I say no, not again will we fight another battled like the one in which we are now engaged.

But default is not an option, either. And we cannot wait for the House any longer.

It is time for Republicans to stop the political games and embrace compromise.

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.

The legislation in point would cut $2.4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade and avert a default on our national debt. It would protect Social Security and Medicare without raising a penny of revenue.

The question is – will today’s Republicans break away from the shrill voice of the Tea Party and return to the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan?

This is likely our last chance to save this nation from default.

I have invited Sen. McConnell to sit down with me, and to negotiate in good faith knowing the clock is running down. I hope will accept my offer.

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.

John McCain, the Republican senior senator from Arizona and President Obama’s opponent in the last presidential election, has asked his party to compromise.

It ‘is not fair to the American people, to hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit,’ he said. He called the radical Republican approach ‘unfair’ and ‘bizarro.’

‘It’s time we listened to the markets,’ he said. ‘It’s time we listened to the American people and sit down and seriously negotiate.’

And former Senator Fred Thompson, a Republican, asked members of his own party to come to their senses.

‘I respectfully suggest that you rake in your chips [and] stuff them in your pockets,’ Thompson urged Republicans.

I hope my friend, Sen. McConnell, will come to me by the end of the day and indicate what constructive ideas he has to move the process along.

My door is open. 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.

The vote on this compromise will determine whether we enter the frightening world of default.

A vote for the Senate compromise will be a vote to honor the financial obligations of this great nation – to pay the bills.

A vote against this compromise will be a vote to default on the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

There will be no time left to vote on another bill or consider another option here in the Senate. None.

This is our last, best chance to preserve the character and credit of this great nation.”

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 28-29, 2011: After Vote Delay on House Debt Plan, Boehner Hopes to Have Necessary Votes for Friday Vote — Obama will Address Nation This Morning on Debt Crisis

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

 

John Boehner and Eric Cantor

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
%d bloggers like this: