Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Debt Negotiation between Republicans & the Obama White House Progresssing — Mitch McConnell Announces they are Very Close to a Deal

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

McConnell: 'We're very close' to a deal

 

JULY 31, 2011: PROMISING DEBT PLAN NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN REPUBLICAN LEADERS & OBAMA WHITE HOUSE — SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL ANNOUNCES BEING CLOSE TO A DEAL

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says Congress, White House “very close” to deal: With the default deadline two days away, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday morning that Congress and the White House were “very close” to a framework for a deal that he could recommend his members support.
The deal would contain $3 trillion in spending cuts and no tax increases.
“We’ll avoid default,” McConnell said. “We’re not going to have default.”

“You’ll see that this is a process that could get him (President Obama) past the election. We’re working on the combinations that will get us there. I’m particularly appreciative that we’re now back talking to the only person in America who can sign something into law and that’s the president of the United States.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on CNN’s State of the Union

“If there’s a word that would right here that would sum up the mood, it would be relief. … default is far less of a possibility now than it was a day ago.” — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

“There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed. But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work…. I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    • McConnell: ‘We’re very close’ to a deal: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that a deal to raise the debt ceiling is “very close.” Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Kentucky senator said Republicans and Democrats “made dramatic progress” Saturday over a $3 trillion package of spending cuts that would not include tax increases.
      McConnell said he is “very very close to being able … to recommend to my members that this is something that they ought to support.”… – CNN, 7-31-11
    • McConnell says U.S. deficit deal is “very close”: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday that U.S. deficit negotiations are “very close” to a $3 trillion deal to raise the federal debt limit.
      McConnell told CNN he hoped the deal would come soon and was confident that it would not raise taxes but set the stage for further deficit reductions down the road.
      He said he expected a deal that he could recommend would win “a significant percentage” of Republican support…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
    • Senate To Hold Afternoon Vote On Possible Debt Solution: Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. appear to be making progress on a solution to the nation’s debt crisis as Tuesday’s deadline draws closer.
      Officials close to the talks say the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are nearing a last-minute agreement to avoid the first U.S. default in history.
      The plan under discussion would raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by about $2.4 trillion and enact spending cuts of a slightly larger amount in two stages.
      The deal would also require Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but not require its approval.
      At the request of the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed off a test vote on his debt limit bill from 1 a.m. until this afternoon.
      The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has already voted against the measure.
      Senator Charles Schumer reportedly warned that there is still much discussion to be done, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say a deal appears to be in sight…. – NY1 News, 7-31-11
    • McConnell Sees Deal “Very Close”; Focus Is on Triggers for Cuts: Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said Sunday morning that he is “very close” to recommending to his members that they sign on to a debt deal with President Obama and the Democrats.
      Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. McConnell said the deal includes as much as $3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years, with much of that decided later this year by a joint congressional committee.
      “What conservatives want to do is cut spending,” he said. “We’ve come a long way. This agreement is likely to encompass up to $3 trillion is spending cuts.”
      In addition, Mr. McConnell said the agreement would allow votes in Congress on a balanced budget amendment.
      Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a top Democrat in the Senate, cautioned that “there is no final agreement. No one has signed off on a final agreement.”… – NYT, 7-31-11
    • Obama aide, GOP leader say they are close to debt deal: President Obama and congressional Republicans are close to nailing down a debt ceiling deal just two days before a possible government default, negotiators said today.
      White House adviser David Plouffe told NBC’s Meet The Press that “we don’t have deal,” but there has been progress and “today is a critical day.”
      Over on CNN’s State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said “we’re very close” and “had a very good day yesterday.”
      With details still to be worked, the proposed agreement in general includes a short-term increase in the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling; a second debt limit hike would depend on a debt reduction plans to be recommended by a special congressional committee.
      Plouffe said the committee would look at “our entire deficit reduction problem,” including tax reform and new government revenues…. – USA Today, 7-31-11
    • Debt deal negotiators getting close: The White House and Republican leaders are closing in on a debt ceiling deal giving President Barack Obama greater certainty in managing the Treasury’s borrowing needs while making a joint commitment to major deficit reductions without any explicit concessions by the GOP on new tax revenues.
      Both sides stress that nothing is yet final, but the contours suggest a more practical approach by Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to achieve many of the party’s goals without pushing Obama and the nation into default.
      Quoting a figure of $3 trillion though declining to provide details, McConnell confirmed Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union” that both sides were close to a deal. “We’ve made dramatic progress in that direction,” he told Gloria Borger.
      Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking on the same CNN show, also said a deal was close, “If there’s a word that would right here that would sum up the mood, it would be relief. … default is far less of a possibility now than it was a day ago.”… – Politico, 7-31-11
    • McConnell says very close to deal on debt ceiling: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says negotiators are “very close” to nailing down an agreement that would avert a default of the nation’s debt obligations.
      McConnell tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that lawmakers are looking at a $3 trillion package that would raise the debt ceiling in two stages through the elections next year.
      McConnell says he is hopeful he will soon have a deal that he can recommend to his fellow Republicans.
      On the Democratic side, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York cautions that “there is no final agreement” and that much remains to be discussed…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • U.S. lawmakers ‘very close’ to debt deal, Senate Republican leader says: The top Republican in the Senate said Congress and the White House were very close to a deal on raising the limit on U.S. borrowing that would avert an unprecedented default on America’s debt, ending one of the nastiest partisan fights in recent memory.
      Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell said he was very close to being able to recommend the tentative agreement to Republicans in the upper chamber. It would, he said, likely extend U.S. borrowing authority, which expires on Tuesday, beyond the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, a fundamental demand of President Barack Obama.
      At the same time, the agreement would include none of tax increases Mr. Obama has sought and Republicans had steadfastly rejected. It also includes, he said, the requirement that both houses of Congress vote on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. That outcome of that vote, however, would have no effect on raising the debt limit…. – AP, 7-31-11

Senate debt vote delayed in quest for elusive compromise: The Senate’s top Democrat sounds a newly optimistic tone as a key test vote is delayed to midday Sunday, but is Congress now too partisan to settle on any middle ground?… – LAT, 7-30-11

  • Senate debt vote delay is sign of hope: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is in active negotiation with the White House on a debt ceiling deal, and Democrats agreed late Saturday night to postpone a partisan-tinged cloture vote to give time for both sides to find a compromise.
    “There are many elements to be finalized, and there is still a distance to go before any arrangement can be completed,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    “I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit.”
    Just hours before Reid had sparred on the floor with McConnell over the seriousness of his efforts, and Reid’s change of tone — and tactics — suggested that real progress had been made. “We’re getting close,” said one GOP leadership aide, with knowledge of the discussions.
    “In the category of getting serious, I have spoken to both the president and the vice president within the last hour,” McConnell had told reporters earlier in day in a joint appearance with Speaker John Boehner. “We are now fully engaged, the speaker and I, with the one person in America out of 307 million people who can sign a bill into law. 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 interests of the American people.”
    Boehner echoed McConnell’s statement, saying he believed that “we are going to be able to come to some sort of agreement.” But the speaker appears to have had no contact himself with President Barack Obama Saturday, while McConnell spoke to the president and reached out to Biden, after which the two men engaged in at least four back-and-forth phone calls through the day…. – Politico, 7-30-11
  • Optimism starting to creep into debt crisis: New budget talks between top congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama made progress late Saturday, suddenly stirring optimism that a last-minute deal could be reached to avert a potential federal default that threatened significant economic and political consequences.
    After a tense day of congressional floor fights and angry exchanges, Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, called off a planned showdown vote set for after midnight but said he would convene the Senate at noon Sunday for a vote an hour later. He said he wanted to give the new negotiations a chance to produce a plan to raise the federal debt limit in exchange for spending cuts and the creation of a new congressional committee that would try to assemble a long-range deficit-cutting proposal.
    “There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed,” said Reid, who just a few hours earlier had played down talk of any agreement. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    Reid’s announcement set off an almost audible sigh of relief on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and their aides had been bracing for an overnight clash over the debt following a day that had seen a heated House vote and lawmakers trudging from office to office in search of an answer to the impasse…. – NYT, 7-31-11
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