By Bonnie K. Goodman
Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.
THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS:
JULY 29, 2011: SENATE TABLES BOEHNER HOUSE DEBT BILL 59-41 — HARRY REID WILL BROKER HIS OWN PLAN TO SENATE & WHITE HOUSE
Senate tables Boehner bill: Roughly two-and-a-half hours after it was passed by the House, Senate Democrats on Friday night tabled, 59 to 41, House Speaker John Boehner’s bill to raise the debt limit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will now try to broker his own plan with Republicans and the White House before the debt ceiling expires on Aug. 2. Reid’s current bill would achieve $2.2 trillion in deficit savings over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
“I eagerly await the majority leader’s plan for preventing this crisis.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Kentucky
“This is likely our last chance to save this nation from default.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
“The president urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House – a plan the president can sign by Tuesday.” — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
“To the American people, I would say we tried our level best. We tried to do our best for our country, but some people still say no.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner
How Different Types of Republicans Voted on the Revised Debt Plan: Analysis of how different Republican blocs voted on the revised debt plan… – NYT
Interactive Graphic: House Roll Call: Boehner’s Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase — NYT
Interactive Graphic: Comparing Deficit-Reduction Plans — NYT
Statement by the Press Secretary Jay Carney: The bill passed today in the House with exclusively Republican votes would have us face another debt ceiling crisis in just a few months by demanding the Constitution be amended or America defaults. This bill has been declared dead on arrival in the Senate. Now that yet another political exercise is behind us, with time dwindling, leaders need to start working together immediately to reach a compromise that avoids default and lays the basis for balanced deficit reduction.
Senator Reid’s proposal is a basis for that compromise. It not only achieves more deficit reduction than the bill passed in the House today and puts a process in place to achieve even more savings, it also removes the uncertainty surrounding the risk of default. The President urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House – a plan the President can sign by Tuesday.
- Lawmakers’ votes open way for final debt push: Lawmakers opened the way on Friday for a last-ditch bid for a possible bipartisan compromise to avert a crippling national default just four days before the deadline to raise the country’s debt ceiling.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a Republican deficit-cutting plan and the Democratic-led Senate quickly rejected it — moves that underscored the ideological divide but also cleared a path to start negotiating a deal.
The back-to-back votes broke weeks of political inertia in efforts to lift the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt limit by Tuesday after which the world’s largest economy will be unable to pay all of its bills, the government says.
Delays and procedural hurdles will still make it all but impossible for Congress to strike a deal and send it to Obama’s desk until the 11th hour, injecting a dangerous level of uncertainty into already rattled global financial markets.
Even if a late deal can be struck, the United States risks losing its top-notch AAA credit rating…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
- Reid adds Republican “backup plan” to debt bill: Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid revised his debt-limit bill on Friday to incorporate elements of a “backup plan” first proposed by the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell.
Reid’s plan originally envisioned raising the U.S. debt limit in one step by $2.7 trillion, enough to cover the nation’s borrowing needs through the November 2012 elections.
The new version would essentially allow President Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling in three steps. Through a complex legislative process, Congress could approve these debt-ceiling hikes with only a one-third vote in each chamber…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
- Reid Revises Bill to Include McConnell 2-Step Process: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revised his debt-limit proposal to adopt a two-step procedure modeled after one proposed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that would let the president raise the ceiling in two steps unless a supermajority of Congress blocked it.
According to a summary of the new plan, the borrowing authority would be provided in two separate $1.2 trillion installments, one immediately, and one in several months, the next time the nation nears its borrowing limit.
All but the first $416 billion could be blocked through a joint resolution of Congress, though opponents would have to muster supermajorities in both chambers to override a veto…. – Bloomberg, 7-29-11
- McConnell still refusing to negotiate, Democrats say: Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate said on Friday that the top Republican in the chamber was still refusing to negotiate a debt-ceiling increase with them after they defeated a bill backed by Republicans.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told Senate Democratic leaders he would not work on a compromise after the Senate defeated a bill that had passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said at a news conference…. – Reuters, 7-29-11
- House approves debt bill; Senate rejects it: In an unforgiving display of partisanship, the House passed emergency legislation Friday night to avoid an unprecedented government default and the Senate scuttled it less than two hours later.
The final outcome — with the White House and Senate Democrats calling anew for compromise while criticizing Republicans as Tuesday’s deadline drew near — was anything but certain….
The House vote was 218-210, almost entirely along party lines, on a Republican-drafted bill to provide a quick $900 billion increase in U.S. borrowing authority — essential to allow the government to continue paying all its bills — along with $917 billion in cuts from federal spending.
At the other end of the Capitol, Senate Democrats scuttled the measure without so much as a debate on its merits. The vote was 59-41, with all Democrats, two independents and six Republicans joining in opposition…. – Businessweek, 7-29-11 — AP, 7-29-11
- Senate Quickly Kills Boehner Debt Bill: After a 24-hour delay and concessions to conservatives, the House on Friday narrowly approved a Republican fiscal plan that the Senate quickly rejected in a standoff over the federal debt ceiling that was keeping the government on a path to potential default….
Demonstrating the deep partisan divide coloring the budget fight, the House voted 218 to 210 to approve the plan endorsed by Speaker John A. Boehner to increase the federal debt ceiling in two stages. No Democrats supported the measure; 22 Republicans opposed it. The White House condemned it as a “political exercise.”…
That did not take long. Two hours after the House approved its plan, it was convincingly tabled in the Senate by a vote of 59 to 41, and Democrats took steps to move ahead with their proposal…. – NYT, 7-29-11
- Senate Kills Boehner Debt Plan 59-41: The Senate voted down a House-approved bill to raise the debt ceiling, leaving the ball in the court of Senate leadership to produce a deficit reduction bill, with just days before the Aug. 2 deadline. The vote was 59-41…. – Fox News, 7-29-11
- Senate Tables Boehner’s Debt Ceiling Bill: The United States Senate quickly dispatched the debt ceiling bill passed by the House Friday evening, tabling the Republican bill indefinitely and moving quickly to start consideration of a Democratic plan that would avoid default on Tuesday.
Less than two hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner pushed his bill through the House over the strenuous objections of nearly two dozen of his own Republican members, the Democratic leadership in the Senate followed through on their promise to kill his legislation.
But the move now sets up an uncertain 72 hours as the Congress moves ever closer to the Tuesday deadline when the Treasury Department says the country will default on its financial obligations without an increase in the debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-29-11
- Senate kills latest House debt measure: The Senate has killed the latest effort by the House to raise the government’s borrowing cap. Democrats and several Republicans killed the GOP measure by a 59-41 vote Friday night, just minutes after it arrived from the House. Democrats opposed the measure because it would require another painful debt-limit debate early next year.
The move continues a standoff over the debt limit but could set the table for negotiations this weekend on compromise legislation that could pass the Democratic Senate and the GOP-controlled House before an Aug. 2 deadline to prevent a potentially disastrous default on U.S. obligations like interest payments and Social Security checks…. – AP, 7-29-11
- Senate quickly acts to block House debt-ceiling plan: The Senate voted Friday evening to reject Speaker John A. Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan just hours after it moved through the House, setting up a dramatic weekend of negotiations as Congress works to stave off a potential federal default.
The Senate tally was 59-41 on the motion to table the House plan, including some Republican votes.
Even as leaders from both parties engage in frenetic talks on the way forward, the House will hold yet another symbolic vote. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced the chamber plans to hold a vote on legislation that closely mirrors Reid’s plan, planning to kill it even before the Senate can adopt it.
In a statement on the earlier House vote, White House press secretary Jay Carney called Reid’s plan the basis for final compromise and called for an end to “political exercise[s].”
“The president urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House – a plan the president can sign by Tuesday,” he said…. – LAT, 7-29-11
- Now, Congress down to its last strike to avoid debt-ceiling default: By rejecting the bill passed by the House Friday, the Senate essentially now has one last shot to get a debt ceiling increase through Congress before the Aug. 2 deadline.
After a night of high drama on Capitol Hill, a legislative solution to the debt crisis now shifts to the Senate, where leaders of both parties must now try to guess what will pass in the House – perhaps the worst bet in all of politics.
The situation is the result of strategic mistakes in the buildup to Friday’s debt-ceiling votes, which produced an outcome exactly the opposite of what GOP leaders had hoped. Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio had hoped to win support from House Democrats this week by scaling back the House’s earlier “cut, cap, and balance” bill. With Democratic support in the House, the bill would have had a credible shot in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Instead, his proposal alienated not only House Democrats but also the president and GOP conservatives. After an aborted attempt to hold a vote Thursday, an amended bill did at last pass the House Friday, 218 to 210, but without a single Democratic vote and without 22 Republican defectors. Later Friday, it failed in the Senate, which voted to table Mr. Boehner’s bill, 59 to 41, effectively derailing it…. – CS Monitor, 7-29-11