Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell & 43 Senate Republicans ALL Signed a Letter to Harry Reid & Senate Democrats Vowing to Vote Their Debt Ceiling Bill



43 Senators Sign Letter Opposing The Reid Bill

The following letter is signed by 43 Republican Senators. In it they encourage the Majority Leader ‘to abandon this reckless proposal and instead pursue a more responsible course of action.

The full text of the letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid is below. Click HERE to view the pdf.

July 29, 2011

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-221 Capitol Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0001

Dear Leader Reid:

We are writing to let you know that we will not vote for your $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment which, if enacted, would result in the single largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States.  In addition to this unprecedented increase in borrowing authority, your amendment completely fails to address our current fiscal imbalance and lacks any serious effort to ensure that any subsequent spending cuts are enacted.

The plan you have proposed would not alter the spending trajectory that is putting our economy and national security at risk.  In return for an unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, your amendment reduces spending by less than $1 trillion over the next decade.  Setting aside the $200 billion shortfall between the CBO scored savings and the $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, identified by the Congressional Budget Office, most of the proposal’s alleged savings are based on a false claim of credit for reductions in war-related spending that were already scheduled to occur.  This amendment proposes no change to our military posture and, for that reason, these savings are the sort of widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism about our ability to tackle our fiscal challenges.  The only possible justification for a $2.4 trillion increase in borrowing authority is to allow the President to avoid any accountability for these issues before his 2012 election.  It is by constantly putting off these tough decisions that we have found ourselves with a national debt nearly equal to the size of our gross domestic product.  The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we accumulate another $2.4 trillion in debt.

For all of these reasons, we must oppose your unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment.  Given the nation’s enormous future spending challenges, it would be irresponsible to give the President this unprecedented additional borrowing authority without requiring the enactment of significant spending reductions and reforms.  We urge you to abandon this reckless proposal and instead pursue a more responsible course of action that would rein in spending, reassure the financial markets, and help promote private sector job growth.


Republican Leader Mitch McConnell                 Republican Whip Jon Kyl
Senator Lamar Alexander                                  Senator Kelly Ayotte
Senator John Barrasso                                       Senator Roy Blunt
Senator John Boozman                                      Senator Richard Burr
Senator Saxby Chambliss                                  Senator Daniel Coats
Senator Tom Coburn                                         Senator Thad Cochran
Senator Bob Corker                                          Senator John Cornyn
Senator Mike Crapo                                          Senator Jim DeMint
Senator Michael Enzi                                         Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Chuck Grassley                                    Senator Orrin Hatch
Senator Dean Heller                                          Senator John Hoeven
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison                           Senator James Inhofe
Senator Johnny Isakson                                     Senator Mike Johanns
Senator Ron Johnson                                        Senator Mark Kirk
Senator Mike Lee                                             Senator Richard Lugar
Senator John McCain                                        Senator Jerry Moran
Senator Rand Paul                                             Senator Robert Portman
Senator James Risch                                          Senator Pat Roberts
Senator Marco Rubio                                         Senator Jeff Sessions
Senator Richard Shelby                                      Senator John Thune
Senator Patrick Toomey                                     Senator David Vitter
Senator Roger Wicker

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Calls for Vote on Harry Reid Flawed Debt Ceiling Bill



McConnell Calls for Vote Today on Flawed Reid Bill

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate floor Saturday in which he called for a vote today on the Democrats’ flawed debt limit increase proposal:

“I don’t blame anybody for being confused about what’s been going on in Congress this week. But I’d like to take a moment to explain what’s going on right now.

“Last night, the Democrats who control the Senate proposed a bill that would lead to the largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States, and which completely ignores the roots of this crisis.

“This bill has one goal: to get the President through his next election without having to have another national debate about the consequences of his policies.

“The President wants to make sure this kind of debate doesn’t happen again — even as he gets Democrats in Congress to give him permission to add trillions more to the debt.

“That’s what the Reid bill does.

“It isn’t going anywhere.

“Senate Republicans refuse to go along with this transparently political and deeply irresponsible ploy to give the President cover to make our debt crisis even worse than it already is.

“And 43 of us have now signed a letter to the Majority Leader pledging that “we will not vote for your $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment which, if enacted, would result in the single largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States”.

“Moreover, we will soon know with certainty that this bill can’t pass the House of Representatives.

They’ll be voting on this proposal this afternoon.

“And I’m certain it will fail there as well.

“So, since there is no possibility that this bill will be enacted into law, I’ve suggested to the Majority Leader that he hold the vote on it here right now.

“Let’s not waste another minute of the nation’s time on this reckless piece of legislation that we know won’t pass.

“Earlier this week, the Majority Leader told the Speaker of the House he was wasting the nation’s time by proceeding with a bill that Senate Democrats had pledged to block…a bill that the Majority Leader himself helped put together, but which he decided to oppose after the President said he didn’t like it.

“So the question now is this: why would the Majority Leader waste the nation’s time by refusing to vote on his own bill, which we also know will fail? Why wouldn’t he take his own advice and get it over with?

“Well, the answer is obvious: Democrats are running out the clock. They want to delay the hard work of negotiation until the August 2 deadline they’ve been warning us about all summer.

“The Democrat’s entire strategy this week has been to run out the clock so the nation focuses more on the August 2 deadline than on their own failure to do something about the underlying problem.

“Republicans have now passed two pieces of legislation that would put us on the path to fiscal sanity.

Democrats have spent the last few weeks time figuring out how to avoid it

“Democrats have spent their time talking about the Tea Party instead of talking about a solution. They have done absolutely nothing but stand in the way of a meaningful solution to this crisis … and criticize Republicans for having the audacity to suggest that we balance the books.

“So now we’re reduced to this: they won’t even allow a vote on their own bill.

“They’re delaying the inevitable so they can avoid doing anything responsible.

“And it’s indefensible.

“So once again, I would ask the Majority Leader to let us vote on his legislation.

“Let’s get this irresponsible bill that we know will fail come up for a vote.

“So we can get down to the real work of negotiating a solution to this crisis.

“With the President.

“The lesson from last weekend is that anything the two parties agree to here doesn’t mean a thing if the President decides he doesn’t like it; that Democrats will abandon their own agreements if the President doesn’t support them.

“We don’t have time for that to happen again.

“Republicans have proposed solution and after solution to this crisis. It’s time Democrats propose one of their own.”

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Statement on Senate Floor on the Necessity for Republicans & Democrats to Cooperate on a Debt Deal before Deadline



Harry Reid: Republicans Must Work With Democrats On The Only Option Left To Avert Default, Save Our Economy

Source: Reid.Senate.gov, 7-30-11

July 30, 2011

Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the only viable debt ceiling compromise to avert a default. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Republicans leaders in the House of Representatives wasted this week pursuing a right-wing proposal they knew from the start could not pass the Senate.

From the very beginning the Speaker’s Band-Aid approach was fatally flawed – it would have put us back in this incredible position, fighting the clock to prevent financial collapse, in just a few weeks.

It was a concession to Tea Party extremists, yet it barely passed the House yesterday with only Republican votes. And it failed on a bipartisan basis last night in the Senate.

But knowing all along that this radical legislation – which was neither balanced nor bipartisan – would not and could not pass in our chamber, Democrats have been working on a true compromise in the Senate.

We have solicited ideas from our Republican friends and colleagues. Let it never be said that Democrats in the Senate were afraid to compromise. We welcome it.

As recently as yesterday morning I asked my friend, the Senate Minority Leader, to help make this Senate compromise more palatable to Republicans. Yet we have heard nothing from the Republican leader.

My friend, Sen. McConnell, did not answer the call to negotiate yesterday or any other day this week. He did not come to the table on behalf of his caucus with ideas to improve a proposal already cut from Republican cloth.

But Democrats are still willing to sit down and negotiate. My door is still open.

I appreciate that several of my Republican colleagues have reached out to me over the last few hours, hoping to reach a compromise. Senate Democrats welcome their input and look forward to working with them on a path forward.

But my friend, the Republican leader of the Senate, must come forward as well.

The two parties must work together to forge an agreement that preserves this nation’s economy. We will need the help of reasonable Republicans – including Sen. McConnell – to get this done.

But unbelievably, another filibuster stands in our path.

The Republican filibuster has become routine. From the smallest measure to the greatest matter of national importance, they stall and delay and use every procedural trick in the book to keep this body from doing its job.

But a filibuster at this late hour, and when so much is at risk, is irresponsible. It puts our economy at risk.

A majority vote was good enough for the Speaker’s proposal in the House of Representatives yesterday, but Republicans believe it isn’t good enough for the Senate today.

Rather than filibuster, I ask that my Republican colleagues work with Democrats to make our proposal better.

We have offered a reasonable, rational way for Republicans to help us avert default. Let me tell you about it.

This amendment was written by Democrats with both parties’ principles in mind. It would:

•    Avert default while cutting about $2.4 trillion from the deficit over a decade.  It includes no revenues, a concession to House Republicans.
•    It establishes a Joint Congressional Committee to find additional savings this year, and guarantees that committee’s recommendations will see an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
•    And literally every single spending cut in it has been voted for or endorsed by Republicans in both houses of Congress.

We have made several changes to make this proposition amenable to our Republican colleagues. We have:

•    Improved the program integrity language to allow more savings by combating government waste and fraud.
•    Removed a measure that would have raised revenue by selling spectrum, which would have caused a Blue Slip process in the House.
•    Added a process conceived of by my friend, Sen. McConnell, to allow two additional votes over the next year and a half – two motions of disapproval – before the President may raise the debt ceiling.

This proposal also protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. But as you can see, this amendment was designed to appeal to our Republican colleagues as well as to Democrats.

As I said, we are willing to listen to ideas from the other side to make this proposal better. But time is short.

Already the economy has gone from bad to worse. Stocks continued a weeklong slide yesterday.

I know my Republican colleagues love this country. I believe they want to do what is best for our economy.

That is why together we must avert a default that would jeopardize veterans’ benefits, seniors’ Social Security payments and checks for troops on the front lines. It would also effectively raise taxes on every American family and business, increasing the cost of everything from groceries to the mortgage.

And so I urge them to join me to move forward the only true compromise plan left – in fact, the only option left at all – to save this country from default.”

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Senator Jon Kyl Gives Republican Weekly Address — Discusses Debt Ceiling Crisis



Weekly Remarks by Sen. Jon Kyl — As Provided by Republican Party Leadership

Good morning.  I am Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona.

By now, most Americans know that lawmakers in Washington are engaged in a difficult debate about the nation’s ‘debt ceiling,’ the legal limit to the amount of money the federal government can borrow.

The debt ceiling is currently set at a little more than 14 trillion dollars, and if Congress and the president don’t reach an agreement to raise it by this coming Tuesday, the Treasury secretary tells us America will no longer be able to pay all its bills.

The consequences of missing this deadline could be severe, precisely because Washington….

…borrows so much money — more than 40 cents out of every dollar it spends. So, spending would have to shrink by 40% very quickly.

What’s more, markets would likely respond, dropping in value and hurting the retirement savings of millions of Americans.

Republicans have tried to work with Democrats to avoid this result and put our country on a better path, but we need them to work with us.

We start from the understanding that the reason the debt ceiling is a problem is because of runaway Washington spending. So, Republicans have been united in the belief that raising the debt ceiling without making significant spending reductions would be irresponsible. Arizona republican senator Jon Kyl

With debt crises rolling across Europe, we know it is only a matter of time before people start to question whether America can sustain its huge and growing debt.

If we don’t do something about our spending problem now, the scenes we’ve seen playing out all across Europe could happen in America.

If we don’t change the way Washington operates, we will not get control of our government, or our future.

In short, we hoped that the need to increase the debt ceiling could be an opportunity to make some very hard decisions to reduce government spending.

Unfortunately, after weeks of negotiations, it became clear that Democrats in Washington did not view this crisis as an opportunity to rein in spending. Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to impose huge tax increases on American families and small businesses.

President Obama is simply too committed to the European-style of big government that his policies have set in motion. To Democrats in Washington, the answer isn’t to cut spending, but to raise taxes and keep on spending.

Democrats claim they would only target the privileged few. But behind the scenes they argue for much broader tax increases.

The simple fact is, in order to afford the kind of government this president wants, taxes would have to be increased dramatically — and for middle-income Americans, not just on the wealthy.

Job-killing tax increases are the wrong medicine for our struggling economy. Back in 2009, President Obama admitted that you don’t raise taxes in the middle of a recession. This advice is just as true today.

At the moment, more than 14 million Americans are looking for work and can’t find it. According to economists, a healthy economy is one in which unemployment is around 5%. The unemployment rate today is 9.2%.

And we got more bad news yesterday: Our economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.3% in the second quarter and the first-quarter growth was downgraded to just four tenths of one percent. Raising taxes will only make this worse. And prolonging the debt crisis will only add to the ongoing economic uncertainty.

Republicans believe we must solve our debt crisis — and we believe we can solve it if Democrats will work with us.  No one will get everything they want, and we can’t solve all of our problems at once, but surely we can reach an agreement that will increase the debt ceiling, impose accountability, and begin reducing the size of our federal government.

That may not be what some in Washington really want. But it’s what Americans, and the American economy, really need.

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: President Obama’s Weekly Address — Wants Bipartisan Compromise Debt Deal



President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 7/29/11

Weekly Address: Compromise on Behalf of the American People

Source: WH, 7-30-11

President Obama urges both Republicans and Democrats to take action to avoid defaulting for the first time in our nation’s history.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Acting Responsibly on Behalf of the American People

WASHINGTON—In this week’s address, President Obama urged both Republicans and Democrats to take action to avoid defaulting for the first time in our nation’s history.  While the two parties are not far apart in their goals, they must resolve their differences quickly so that the United States can continue paying its Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and contracts with thousands of American businesses.  The time has come to stop endangering the Triple A bond rating of the United States, put aside partisan politics, and behave responsibly to ensure a balanced approach to reducing our nation’s deficit.

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, July 30, 2011 Washington, DC

Today, I’d like to speak with you about the ongoing and urgent efforts to avoid a first-ever default and get our fiscal house in order.

Republicans in the House of Representatives just spent precious days trying to pass a plan that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate had already said they wouldn’t vote for.  It’s a plan that wouldn’t solve our fiscal problems, but would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months.  It would hold our economy captive to Washington politics once again.  If anything, the past few weeks have demonstrated that’s unacceptable.

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 of one party.  There are multiple ways to resolve this problem.  Congress must find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House.  And it’s got to be a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.

Look, the parties are not that far apart here.  We’re in rough agreement on how much spending we need to cut to reduce our deficit.  We agree on a process to tackle tax reform and entitlement reform.  There are plenty of ways out of this mess.  But there is very little time.

We need to reach a compromise by Tuesday so that our country will have the ability to pay its bills on time – bills like Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and contracts we’ve signed with thousands of American businesses.  If we don’t, for the first time ever, we could lose our country’s Triple A credit rating.  Not because we didn’t have the capacity to pay our bills – we do – but because we didn’t have a Triple A political system to match it.  And make no mistake – for those who reflexively oppose tax increases on anyone, a lower credit rating would be a tax increase on everyone – we’d pay higher interest rates on mortgages, car loans, and credit cards.

That would be inexcusable, and entirely self-inflicted by Washington.  The power to solve this is in our hands.  All that’s needed is a simple vote that Democrats and Republicans have taken for decades, including all of the leaders in Congress today.  It was done 18 times under President Reagan.  7 times under George W. Bush.  And it must be done again now.  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 Congress has already racked up.  It gives the United States of America the ability to keep its word.  And it will let businesses and our economy breathe a sigh of relief.

On Monday night, I asked you to make your voice heard in this debate.  And the response was overwhelming.  One of the emails we received was from a woman named Kelly Smith, who wanted to send this message to Washington:

“I keep my home clean, work hard at a full time job, give my parents any monies I can so they can afford their medications, I pay my bills and by all appearances I am a responsible person.  All I’m asking is that you be responsible.  I have my house in order and all I’m asking is that you get yours the same way.”

Here in Washington, we need to get our house in order.  And I have to say, Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been listening and have shown themselves willing to make compromises to solve this crisis.  Now all of us – including Republicans in the House of Representatives – need to demonstrate the same kind of responsibility that the American people show every day.  The time for putting party first is over.  The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now.  Thank you.

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 29, 2011: Senate Tables Boehner House Debt Bill 59-41 — Harry Reid Brokers his own Debt Plan to Senate & White House — Plans for Early Sunday Senate Vote


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.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interactive Graphic: Comparing Deficit-Reduction Plans — NYT

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

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

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 29, 2011: Budget Control Act of 2011 — Republican Debt Ceiling Bill Passed in the House 218-210





Latest Title: Faster FOIA Act of 2011
Sponsor: Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] (introduced 3/17/2011)      Cosponsors (3)
Related Bills: H.RES.375H.RES.383H.R.1564
Latest Major Action: 7/29/2011 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On passage Passed by recorded vote: 218 – 210 (Roll no. 677).
Latest Action: 7/29/2011 Motion by Senator Reid to refer to Senate Committee on the Budget the House message to accompany the bill (S. 627) to report back forthwith with amendment SA 591 made in Senate.
Note: The bill is the House vehicle to raise the debt ceiling, make budget deficit reductions, and require a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

All Information (except text) Text of Legislation CRS Summary Major Congressional Actions

All Congressional Actions

All Congressional Actions with Amendments
With links to Congressional Record pages, votes,reports

Titles Cosponsors (3) Committees
Related Bills Amendments Related Committee Documents
CBO Cost Estimates Subjects


There are 5 versions of Bill Number S.627 for the 112th Congress. Usually, the last item is the most recent.

1 . Faster FOIA Act of 2011 (Introduced in Senate – IS)[S.627.IS][PDF]
2 . Faster FOIA Act of 2011 (Reported in Senate – RS)[S.627.RS][PDF]
3 . Faster FOIA Act of 2011 (Engrossed in Senate [Passed Senate] – ES)[S.627.ES][PDF]
4 . Faster FOIA Act of 2011 (Referred in House – RFH)[S.627.RFH][PDF]
5 . Budget Control Act of 2011 (Engrossed Amendment House – EAH)[S.627.EAH][PDF]

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 29, 2011: Speaker of the House John Boehner’s Op-ed on the Debt Ceiling Bill in the National Review Online — “End This Crisis”



John Boehner: End This Crisis

Source: National Review Online, 7-29-11

At moments like this, the arrogance of Washington is most evident not in its actions, but in its inaction.

These are challenging days for our country and its people.

Americans are worried about jobs. They’re worried about our economy. And they’re worried about our debt. The debt-limit crisis, thrust upon our citizens this summer, has intensified these anxieties.

The U.S. House of Representatives has now sent to the Senate not one, but two bills that would bring the crisis to an immediate end.

Reflecting the will of the people, both bills passed by the House would cut trillions of dollars in spending, advance the cause of a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance its budget, and impose caps on future spending to stop the expansion of government while we give our economy a chance to grow and create jobs.

Both bills also raise the debt ceiling for President Obama past the end of this year, averting the possibility of a damaging national default.

At moments like this, the arrogance of Washington is most evident not in its actions, but in its inaction.

In the face of a debt explosion that threatens the future of our country, the Senate has not passed a budget in more than 800 days. The House passed a historic one in April.

In the face of a government shutdown this past spring, the Senate produced no solution and initiated no bill. The House did.

And to date, faced with the possibility of a national default that could destabilize our already shaky economy, the Senate has sent the House nothing, while the new majority in the House has acted twice.

The House demonstrated not arrogance, but leadership last week when a bipartisan majority — including many who came to Washington opposed to raising the debt ceiling under any circumstance — passed the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act for the greater good.

The House demonstrated not arrogance, but leadership today by passing the Budget Control Act, bowing not just to the will of the American people and their desire for a timely and responsible end to this crisis, but also to the Constitution, which gave us the reality of a bicameral legislature.

The legislation passed by the House this evening is not perfect, but it is a positive step forward in the effort to cut spending, clamp down on the growth of government, and reduce our debt.

The bill was constructed on a commonsense framework that was pre-negotiated last weekend with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate, in an honest and sincere effort to bring the crisis to an end. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats walked away from that framework over the course of this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a good man. His character is not in question. But the fate of this legislation, and possibly our economy, hinges on his ability to reason with the president, and with his caucus.

The people’s House has spoken — not once, but twice — presenting the other chamber with legislation certified by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as cutting trillions of dollars in spending over the next decade while providing an immediate increase in the national debt limit.

In contrast, in the six months since President Obama formally requested that the debt ceiling be raised, the Senate has passed nothing.

Time is now of the essence. The quickest way for Congress to eliminate the possibility of default and ease the growing turmoil in our economy is for the Senate to take up the House-passed bill and send it to the president today. As Senate Democrats themselves noted today, a House bill that has been sent to the Senate and then tabled is “still pending” — meaning it can be taken up and passed at any time.

Both parties have been entrusted with power in Congress. Neither party has been authorized to take risks with the full faith and credit of the United States.

For the sake of our country, and the sake of our economy, the House has passed a responsible bill that can pass the Senate. Now it’s time for our colleagues in the Senate to pass it, send it to the president, and bring this crisis to an end.

— John Boehner is speaker of the House.

Nancy Clarke: White House Florist’s Tales of Six First Ladies Rosalynn Carter to Michelle Obama in “My First Ladies”


History Buzz

When Hillary Clinton Ran Naked Through the White House

Former first lady Hillary Clinton dashed naked from her White House bathroom to the bedroom. Laura Bush would drive staffers crazy directing where each Christmas ornament should be placed on the presidential tree. Barbara Bush was such a fan of Keds tennis shoes, her husband bought her 20 pairs in different colors and designs. And Nancy Reagan once called, distressed that two roses in a vase in her dressing room had drooped. Former White House chief florist Nancy Clarke has a closet full of such insider tales from her 31 years with six first ladies from Rosalynn Carter (favored barbecue dinners) to Michelle Obama (prefers gala apples over flowers). And now, two years after leaving the White House, she’s written a rare behind-the-scenes book, My First Ladies, due out in September.

“I truly believe I had the ultimate job any floral designer could ever dream of,” says Clarke. While every first family brings in a chief social secretary to handle East Wing affairs, Clarke was there for six administrations, serving as a de facto deputy social secretary. Hers is the first such look at the quirks and traits of her bosses.

Consider Clinton, described as a mix of dignity and schoolgirl. When the Monica Lewinsky affair broke, Clinton didn’t show her feelings to staff and, Clarke says, never engaged in the kinds of fighting with her husband that was described in the media. Once, Clarke took the elevator to the presidential residence and saw Clinton dash naked from her bathroom to the bedroom. “We looked at each other and we both screamed,” Clarke writes. Clinton joked about it later. “She said it was like living in her sorority house again.”

Reagan, Clarke says, was the most elegant and romantic of the six. Dispelling rumors that the Reagan marriage was an act, the Gipper once spotted mistletoe hanging in a foyer, then pulled his wife over for a big hug and smooch.

Laura Bush, obsessed with Christmas, was also very down to earth, driving her hubby’s Ford pickup at their Texas ranch and even climbing into a refrigerated truck to view the flowers to be used at her daughter’s wedding.

Mother-in-law Barbara was considerate, so much so that she mistakenly gave Camp David staffers pricey Steiff teddy bears used in Christmas centerpieces that were supposed to be returned to storage.

Having survived six first ladies, Clarke is too diplomatic to pick a favorite. “I loved working for every single one. They were all different. They all had different personalities. And I really did, I loved my job.”

Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR.

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