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
Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, walked with Senator Charles Schumer, left, and Senator Patty Murray, right, on Capitol Hill on Saturday.
JULY 30, 2011: OBAMA, WHITE HOUSE RESTARTS NEGOTIATION WITH SENATE/HOUSE DEMOCRATIC & REPUBLICAN LEADERS — REID DELAYS SENATE DEBT PLAN VOTE UNTIL SUNDAY
Reid delays debt vote: Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced late Saturday that negotiations with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House had made enough progress that he would delay consideration of his own legislation to avert the debt crisis. Rather than a 1 a.m. Sunday vote, Reid said he would give the negotiators room to maneuver and set a 1 p.m. Sunday vote on his bill — which McConnell has already assured would be defeated.
“I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit. I’m confident that a final agreement that will adopt the Senate’s long-term approach, rather than the short-term Band-Aid proposed by the House of Representatives, will move forward.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
“I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interest of the American peopl. Our country is not going to default for the first time in history. We have now, I think, a level of seriousness with the right people at the table we needed…. We’re going to get a result.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky
“I just spent two hours with the president, the vice president and the agreement is not in a meaningful way. The Republicans still refuse to negotiate in good faith.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada
Speaker Boehner: Time for President Obama to Tell Us His Plan for Ending this Crisis: In a press conference with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighted the House-passed Budget Control Act – which was negotiated with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate – and said it is time for President Obama and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to outline their plan for ending this debt crisis
“Today’s vote on the House floor indicates there’s bipartisan opposition to Senator Reid’s proposal. The House yesterday sent our second bill to end this crisis to the Senate. It’s a reasonable, responsible approach that will end this crisis, get our economy moving again and get Americans back to work.
The only thing standing in the way of the House proposal over in the Senate is the president and Senator Reid. It’s time for them to tell us what they’re for, time to tell us how they’re going to get us out of the cul-de-sac that they’ve driven our country into. So we’re hoping that we’ll hear from them soon about their plan for how we end this crisis.” —
- Senate delays key debt vote until Sunday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Saturday delayed a test vote on the Democratic debt limit increase plan until 1 p.m. EDT Sunday to give negotiators more time to work out a deal.
In brief remarks on the Senate floor, Reid, a Democrat, said that negotiations between congressional leaders and the Obama administration were ongoing, but that there was “still a distance to go” before a deal might be reached…. – Reuters, 7-30-11
- Senate Delays Vote as Debt Talks Progress: The Senate will delay a crucial vote on the Democratic debt ceiling bill until 1 p.m. Sunday as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers said a potential compromise was in the works that would avert a federal default after midnight on Tuesday.
The delay averts a 1 a.m. legislative showdown Sunday morning in the Senate, and all-night wrangling that Democrats had threatened on Friday. And it suggests that the looming deadline is working to press both sides toward a last-minute agreement.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, announced just after 10 p.m. Saturday that White House officials had urged him to give more time for negotiations to continue.
“I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor before adjourning until Sunday afternoon.
The delay came as Republican lawmakers expressed optimism that talks begun on Saturday with President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and others were leading toward an agreement. And Mr. Reid said he, too, was now confident that a deal is within reach…. – NYT, 7-30-11
- Reid: Debt negotiations underway at White House: After weeks of intense partisanship, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders made a last-minute stab at compromise Saturday night to avoid a government default threatened for early next week.
“There are many elements to be finalized…there is still a distance to go,” Majority Leader Harry Reid cautioned in dramatic late-night remarks on the Senate floor.
Still, his disclosure that “talks are going on at the White House now,” coupled with his announcement that progress had been made, offered the strongest indication yet that an economy-crippling default might be averted.
White House officials had no immediate comment.
Nor was there any immediate reaction from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner, Obama’s principal Republican antagonist in a contentious era of divided government.
There were no details immediately available on what the terms might be of any compromise…. – AP, 7-30-11
- Saturday’s debt-ceiling surprise: GOP and Obama are talking again: After a rancorous day in which Republicans vented their anger at the Senate and President Obama, GOP leaders said they are in talks with the president and that ‘the country is not going to default.’
There were signs of movement toward a potential resolution of the federal government’s debt ceiling crisis after both the House and Senate met in unusual Saturday sessions notable for partisan fireworks.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada were called to the White House for a 3:30 p.m. meeting about debt-ceiling negotiations with President Obama.
At about the same time on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky gave a press conference and expressed optimism about reaching a settlement that would keep the nation from being unable to borrow enough to pay its bills.
Senator McConnell said that he had spoken to both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “in the last hour,” and that the White House was “now fully engaged” in conversations with the two Republican leaders about the debt-ceiling crisis. Speaker Boehner said he and McConnell were “both confident” they could “end this impasse.” McConnell added, “Our country is not going to default. We are going to get a result.”… CS Monitor, 7-30-11
- Last-minute debt deal still eludes Congress: In public, at least, neither Democrats nor Republicans show much inclination to work out an accord as the clock ticks toward a federal default.
Efforts to reach a last-minute deal to stave off a potentially disastrous federal default remained at an impasse Saturday as House Republicans engaged in some psychological warfare and their colleagues in the Senate seemed poised to block a key vote on a bid by Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
With just days to go until the federal government’s authority to borrow money expires, neither Democrats nor Republicans showed much inclination to bridge their differences and hammer out a deal.
Instead, the action — at least the events playing out in public view — suggested that partisan distrust remained as high as ever. The House convened only to take a purely symbolic thumbs-down vote on a debt plan crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though that plan hasn’t yet cleared the Senate…. – LAT, 7-30-11
- In Senate, bitter debate but little agreement on Democratic debt plan: With the deadline for a debt limit increase inching perilously closer, Congress remained deadlocked Saturday over how to avoid a crisis as both houses spent the day publicly mired in often tart, even defiant partisan votes and rhetoric.
Privately, the White House was talking to leaders of both parties – but those leaders had sharply different views about the outlook.
“The process has not been moved forward during this day,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, after he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with President Barack Obama for nearly 90 minutes.
But House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio told a news conference he was “confident that we’re going to be able to come to some agreement with the White House and end this impasse.”
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he spoke to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday afternoon, and added that “we are now fully engaged, the speaker and I,” with Obama.
“Our country is not going to default for the first time in history,” said McConnell, R-Kentucky. “We have now, I think, a level of seriousness with the right people at the table we needed…. We’re going to get a result.”
Reid, D-Nevada, with fellow senators huddling around him and watching intently, took to the Senate floor to dispute McConnell’s account with a harsh tone rarely used to discuss the opposition’s tactics in the genteel Senate. Reports a deal could be close are “not true,” Reid said.
With McConnell standing a few feet away, Reid charged the GOP leaders were “holding meaningless press conferences.”
And, Reid said, “I just spent two hours with the president, the vice president and the agreement is not in a meaningful way. The Republicans still refuse to negotiate in good faith.”
McConnell swung back, saying, “I think we’ve got a chance of getting there. What I think is not helpful is the process we’re going through here on the Senate floor … .”
The day began when the Republican-run House of Representatives voted 246-173 to reject a new Reid plan that would reduce deficits by more than $2.2 trillion over 10 years and raise the debt limit in three stages.
The Senate debated the plan throughout the day Saturday, and scheduled a post-midnight vote on whether to cut off debate. The vote was expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed, since 43 Republicans sent Reid a letter saying they opposed the measure…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 7-30-11
- Democrats, GOP Disagree on Whether a Debt-Limit Deal Is Near: With the nation only three days away from facing its first-ever financial default, congressional Republican and Democratic leaders couldn’t even agree on whether a deal to end the debt crisis is close.
House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that they are confident they can reach a deal with the White House to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit to allow the government to keep paying all of its bills.
At a news conference held just minutes after the GOP-led House defeated a Democratic debt-limit bill, McConnell said he had spoken with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the past hour.
“I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interest of the American people,” he said.
“Our country is not going to default for the first time in history,” McConnell said.”We now have a level of seriousness with the right people at the table. ….We’re going to get a result.”
Boehner added he’s also confident of an agreement with the White House “to end this impasse.”
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid disputed their account on the Senate floor after meeting with the president and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House.
“Republican leaders still refuse to negotiate in good faith,” Reid said, explaining that they still refuse to consider including new revenues in any deal and only want to slash entitlement programs.
Republican leaders “should know that merely saying you have an agreement in front of television cameras doesn’t make it so.”
McConnell responded that he’s more optimistic than Reid and that the only way to get to an agreement before Tuesday is through the president.
“We need to be in a position where all of us in the leadership can come back here and say that we think we reached a framework of an agreement that we can recommend to our members,” he said. “So that’s what I’m working on and I’m not interested in scoring any political points. I’m interested in getting an outcome for the American people. And the only way that can be done is with the president of the United States.”
Earlier Saturday, the House defeated Reid’s bill that would raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by $2.4 trillion while cutting spending by $2.2 trillion. But the Senate hasn’t voted on the bill yet and is planning a test vote in the wee hours of Sunday morning to break a GOP filibuster…. – Fox News, 7-30-11
- Debt deal not close, Senator Reid says: Republicans and Democrats are not close to a deal to raise the debt ceiling despite what Republican leaders may say, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Saturday.
“It’s fair to say that the engagement there is not in any meaningful way,” Reid said on the Senate floor shortly after returning from a meeting with President Barack Obama. “Republican leaders still refuse to negotiate in good faith.”… – Reuters, 7-30-11
- McConnell says he’s spoken to Obama ‘within last hour’: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Saturday afternoon that he had talked to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “within the last hour” and is “confident and optimistic” that there will be an “agreement within the very near future.” A national default “is not going to happen,” McConnell said.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also expressed optimism that an agreement is near. “In spite of our differences, we’re dealing with reasonable, responsible people,” Boehner said…. – CNN, 7-30-11
- Obama huddles with Democrats in hunt for debt deal: US President Barack Obama held an urgent White House summit with key Democratic allies Saturday as his Republican foes said fever-pitch efforts to avert a disastrous debt default would soon pay off.
“That’s not true,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, pouring cold water on the upbeat Republican message after talks with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
With three days before a midnight Tuesday deadline, Obama stayed largely out of sight but warned in his weekly address that “very little time” remains to reach a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion dollar US debt ceiling…. – AFP, 7-30-11
- Reid and Pelosi head to White House for debt meeting: A White House official says President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House at 3:30 pm to receive an update on the situation in the House and Senate…. – CNN, 7-30-11