House, Senate leaders have debt ceiling options
July 22nd, 2011
07:56 PM ET
2 years ago

House, Senate leaders have debt ceiling options

WASHINGTON (CNN) – To meet the president's demand that bipartisan House and Senate leaders come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling through the next election, a Democratic Senate leadership aide expects there will be bipartisan negotiations among those leaders "on a plan modeled on the Senate fallback proposal."

That fallback proposal is known as McConnell/Reid, a procedurally complicated measure - worked out by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - to raise the debt ceiling in stages between now and the end of next year.

However, a Senate GOP leadership aide said Friday that Republicans first might want to try to reach a deal on something other than McConnell/Reid, in part because the proposal is not terribly popular with Republicans since it doesn't mandate spending cuts.

McConnell/Reid is "on the shelf," the aide said, and available as a last-ditch way to avoid default.

The GOP aide said his party doesn't rule out pushing for a short-term bill - something along the lines of $1 trillion in spending cuts in return for $1 trillion in debt ceiling increase - that would raise the debt limit for several months.

If congressional leaders were to move such a plan, Republicans feel that the president would be unlikely to veto it even though he said at his press conference he wants the debt limit raised through the next election.

The McConnell/Reid plan would authorize the president to request of Congress debt ceiling increases in three increments before the end of next year. The first would boost the debt limit by $700 billion and the next two by $900 billion each.

Along with the each request, the president would be required to submit a list of recommended spending cuts in an amount higher than the debt ceiling increase request, but those cuts would not need to be enacted for the debt limit to go up.

Congress would then vote on, and likely pass, "resolutions of disapproval" of those requests. The president then would be expected veto those resolutions. Unless Congress overrode those vetoes, which is unlikely, the debt ceiling would increase.

McConnell/Reid includes a provision that automatically boosts the debt ceiling by $100 billion the moment the president submits his request to Congress. This way the debt ceiling negotiations could run right up to the August 2 deadline and the debt limit could be instantly increased, assuming, of course, the president signed the measure into law.

The two Senate leaders have also discussed adding $1 trillion or more in spending cuts to the plan. And they are discussing the creation of a special commission that could recommend to Congress ways to reduce the nation's long-term debt and force Congress to vote on those recommendations.


Filed under: Debt • Deficit • House • Senate
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Get rid of cry baby Boehner, he's not leading and is a total disaster to be called a leader.

    July 22, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. Anthony

    Next year, when Republicans want to open negotiation on extending the Bush tax cuts, Democrats should just walk away. Let's see if Republicans can renew the Bush tax cuts on their own. Two can play this game.

    July 22, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. KF

    Recall all theses buggers – seems like a country club in WA – most of them are a lot better off than the average citizen

    July 22, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Mikey

    The Dems should now insist on $1 of tax increases on corporations and the top 1% for every $2 of spending cuts. That's not as good a deal as the President offered, but they walked away from the table AGAIN. They now own this problem and its consequences. It has been the responsibility of Congress all along, not the President. If this effort fails, it is primarily Boehner's failure. Nancy Pelosi got things done as Speaker. Boehner is worthless.

    July 22, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. Chipster

    Great idea! Let's spend MORE money on a Commission to play Nanny to a bunch of overpaid, over-ego-ed, overly-spoiled brats who want to have their way and make Social Security recipients pay for their party favors! If this is "my way or the highway" leadership, I suggest the highway for the whole lot of them.

    July 22, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Deidra Lamb

    Mr. Boehner? you are a disgrace. who is lining your pockets?
    Mr. President? you have not the guts to get our country out of this abyss.
    My forefathers are rolling in their graves. My parents raised us to be hardworking, honest, law-abiding citizens of a free and great nation. You have made us a mockery. And I am ashamed. ASHAMED!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you hear me?

    July 22, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. TEG

    Why don't ya trot Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson out to head up that Commision forcing Congress to vote on Debt Reduction Ideas? Can you answer that Mr. McConnell and Mr. Reid?

    July 22, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  8. Jane

    Come on 2012 so we can get rid of the do nothing repubs in congress

    July 22, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  9. FedUp

    I just wish they would get these negotiations over with. That way, all the hot air that is coming out of Washington DC will stop and we can enjoy a warm summer instead of the outrageous heat wave they are throwing all over the country.

    July 22, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. GOP has a tea problem, not a party?

    Speaker Boehner is unless. He has no control over the house. He can only pass messages. Nancy Pelosi put him to shame as Speaker of The House. Speaker Boehner has been reduce to a knuckle dragger.

    July 23, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  11. Frank

    Leave our Social Security ALONE, you corporate PIGS.

    July 23, 2011 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  12. ANTI REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT

    This is by far the most inept leadership the world has ever known. We are absolutely the biggest laughing stock in the world. PATHETIC!!!!!!

    July 23, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  13. Fed uo

    Obama looks like a crybaby. He doesn't get along with anyone. what an embarrassment to America. Didn't he run on transperancy?

    July 23, 2011 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  14. Bud

    Baby Bush ruined the economy. Now the Republicans want to finish the job Baby Bush started. How long til the voters realize this ? People, please think before you vote next time.

    July 23, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  15. Ray

    So why are we even bothering with these negotiations? Obama should go straight to the McConnell/Reid!!

    July 23, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  16. Polymath

    IF they do ANYTHING other than the full pull – debt reduction and no tax increase – heads will roll on both sides of the aisle come election time ... if "we the people" get mad enough, there may even be a tax revolt ... this will get much, much, much, much uglier before it is over ... the shame of it is that they could cut less and implement the Fair Tax program (retroactive for this year) and not only satisfy both sides of the aisle but also give the economy a gigantic shot in the arm by putting money in the hands of the average consumer – where it belongs!

    July 23, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  17. Anonymous

    At a time when the country is facing huge challenge in ending wars in Afganistan, Iraq. Take control of situation of Libya. Progress in middle-east peace. The leaders of this great nation are not able to plan to settle the raising the debt limit. Shame of them. Everybody agrees spending is a big problem but at the same time if the wealthly are taxed a little bit higher begning 2013 things are not going to fall or stop growth.

    July 23, 2011 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  18. Geo

    Really, who are these Tea Party people after all? They seem to be unconcerned, if not flippant, about the probable economic meltdown if our country defaults. Don't they have investments or businesses, jobs or social security benefits? Their indifference suggests they have no commitment to the economic well being of our society. Any rational person would have concerns, would negotiate and compromise to avoid a general calamity.

    July 23, 2011 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  19. bruce

    The president offered almost 4 Billion in cuts, and staggered any tax increase. The repubs don't really want debt reduction or a deal. They want to "Make this president fail". They don't care if they make the nation panic or fail.

    EVERY SINGLE DAY this goes on errodes our standing in the world. The 'last minute' deal won't matter, the damage in our credit is already being done and played out in the media world wide.

    Both parties get credit for making our congress look like a 'ship of fools'.

    July 23, 2011 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  20. wg

    anything win an election
    1992 all over again

    July 23, 2011 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  21. D

    I know the solution to all this but you people wouldn't wanna hear it

    July 23, 2011 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  22. pattyo

    I am disgusted with the lack of leadership in our elected officials. I feel President Obama has tried to meet the republicans more than half way but they are behaving like spoiled brats refusing to do any reasonable negotion

    July 23, 2011 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  23. Russell Kuykendall

    Mr. Presidend "INVOKE THE 14th." This is A matter of "NATIONAL SECURITY" Stand up to these Republicans "ONCE AND FOR ALL"

    July 23, 2011 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  24. 007

    Finally, something that looks workable and does not raise taxes.....the"advance and clawback plan"

    July 23, 2011 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  25. 007

    Sen McConnell gets an A+ for this plan and Obama, for trying to raise taxes in a depression, gets an F- ! And Boehner, for standing up to Obama's insanity and the intense pressure associated with it, likewise gets an A+, so far. Let's hope no one craters.

    July 23, 2011 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
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