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. Donald Durant

    We wouldn't have this problem if America had used common sense and seen the Tea Party for what it really is: an extremist wing of the very far right that is inexperienced and incapable of providing effective governing. This is the American people's fault. We were on a path out of recession, and voting all these neo-cons into the house and senate is exactly why we are having problems now. So blame yourselves.

    July 23, 2011 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  2. 007

    One more thing to consider for after Aug 2 iand that s to repeal a job killer tax recently imposed on the American people by Obama and Pelosi........Obamacare!, with its employer mandate. Maybe then we would see job creation, increased revenues from people having jobs and the improved economy that goes with it and a reduction in the debt ceiling, not an increase!

    July 23, 2011 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  3. 007

    And for the ultimate solution to the debt crisis in America......repealing Obama himself in 2K12!

    July 23, 2011 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  4. Rich

    Nothing can pass both Houses. NOTHING

    July 23, 2011 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  5. Marygonia @yahoo.com

    It would be said that there not thinking of school , health care cutting it food for kids straving everyone on ssi

    July 23, 2011 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  6. Coloradan

    Here is the essence of McConnell/Reid. Hey Democrats, we have backed ourselves into a corner with our overheated rhetoric. If we vote to increase the debt limit the wacky tea party may run primary opponents against us next year, if we vote against it, Independent voters will hammer us for obstructionism. How about Obama taking all of the responsibility for it, we do it in three increments, condemning him each time. We throw out possible future discussions about "tax reform" leading some to think they will actually get more revenue (of course we will say no then as well). Sound good?

    July 23, 2011 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  7. power4things

    Try asking your bank to "raise your debt ceiling". I have not seen one proposal yet that just didn't try to make this "someone else's problem" and not give a solution instead of a stay of execution. Every plan just involves creatively-worded, Wall-Street-ese for "borrowing more money"...

    July 23, 2011 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  8. Jack

    Complicated is just the way they like it so that they can hide all sorts of stuff for their reelection projects.

    July 23, 2011 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  9. "Deficits Don't Matter" Chaney

    If the Republicans can't cut spending in the course of everyday Congressional business, in order to balance the books, and won't raise taxes in a time of war for the first time in US history, then betraying the solvency of the Republic to partisan ideology is no different than refusing to declare war on Japan after Pearl Harbor because the US would have to borrow the money to win.

    If the credit rating of the USA is downgraded because of this tea party treason, and it costs the US more in the long run because of it, the odds of Republicans winning anything in next years election are likely less than Robert E. Lee's chances of defeating U.S. Grant in 1865.

    On the other hand, it seems there are probably not a few tea party folks who would have chosen military defeat at the hands of the Japanese Empire over deficit spending, and defeat under Lee rather than victory under any "liberal" Union.

    July 23, 2011 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Quote: " To meet the president's demand that bipartisan House and Senate leaders come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling....: So why do we need a president for?????

    July 23, 2011 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  11. el gordo

    America's biggest problem is Conservatism.

    July 23, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  12. Tim

    Our government is a failure. Congress, the President and his adminstration, Republicans and Democrats alike. They all have failed our country. Now, we can look forward to another recession as if the first one ever really ended. Our country just doesn't work anymore. We are in decline and anyone with any sense knows it.

    July 23, 2011 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  13. rhonda

    yes ask ray r bozeman to not use my to stay and do bad things to the gov & white house letter carriers have to much time on there hangs god bless

    July 23, 2011 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  14. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    Whatever the plan is, you can be sure that Obama will cave.

    I'm not sure why people ever thought he was born in Kenya. As easily as this man surrenders, he's obviously French.

    July 23, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. Name

    yes ask ray r bozeman to not use my) name )to stay and do bad things to the gov & white house letter carriers have to much time on there hangs god bless

    July 23, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  16. fiskenmann

    I contacted our elected officials here in South Dakota and they are in hiding afraid to answer key questions on Medicare, Social Security and if their salaries will be cut as well but, yes, you guessed it, no response. I'm sure it's the same in other states. "Screw the people who elected me"!!!

    July 23, 2011 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  17. taylor

    two dollars in cut for every one dollar in revenue, that is more then fair, 2012 is coming pubs, its coming
    for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  18. mike_t

    It's all baloney. First, no one's ever challenged the Balanced Budget amendment in court. Like most of the 50,000 Federal laws, they're PRESUMED to be Constitutional until the courts weigh in. Maybe it's not.

    Second, it's an artificial "Crisis." The debt is just future tax revenue the government owes itself. Just abolish the debt – like Paraguay or Uraguay did and Galbraith said we should do 40 years ago.

    July 23, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  19. regertz

    A cute plan to stick the debt problem onto the President but since there may be no options until every TPer is boot-kicked out of Congress and replaced with sensible, responsible reps, it may have to fly. I would wonder though if there's a legal way the President can declare it a matter of national security to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling by his own authority. That way we don't get three sessions of shrieking GOP stooges trying to fix 2008 and all woes on the President while further damaging the credit of the United States.

    July 23, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  20. Kidloose

    I feel that we're where we're at due to these Senators making a career out of a position that should be held only for a term maybe two. Noone wants to cut back on their pork. They're all trying to pass something temporary until election time comes then try to look like a hero then instead of now. They're playing russian roulette with our country's future. Not wanting the rich to pay a little more and having the debt paid on the poor's back like Reagan did in the 80's. Let's demand that all Senators resign and put in some fresh faces with fresh ideas that have not been influence by lobbyists. Let's get American back in the hands of it's people not the current terrorist that is holding our future hostage!!!

    July 23, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  21. mrdale

    i see this is between the rich and poor.iam willing to bend to help the poor.its time to fight for whats right.

    July 23, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  22. susan austin

    what is McConnell thinking? this is an unacceptable plan to conservatives! does he even know how conservatives think-dems or r's?????

    July 23, 2011 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  23. enough already!

    All of us are having to cut back; the government needs to quit wasting our tax dollars and cut spending. The Dems first answer is always raise taxes.

    July 23, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  24. carly

    President Obama has the constitutional power to raise the debt ceiling. The 14th Amendment states that “the validity of the US public debt shall not be questioned.” If the Republicans hold out, he should invoke that clause.

    It is time to get on with the business of JOBS and move on. The Republicans have wasted enought of the nations's time with their obstruction.

    July 23, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. hih

    We should of put a spending lesh on congress long ago.

    July 23, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
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