House, Senate leaders have debt ceiling options
July 22nd, 2011
07:56 PM ET
3 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. John Symank

    What the Members of congress are doing to the American People is a disgrace!

    I just sent the following to each of my congress members – YOU should send a similar message to yours – regardless of party!

    I am of the opinion that every sitting member of Congress and the Senate have seriously FAILED the American people! In any other job with performanc­e this poor, you would be canned – yet we still have to endure your ineptness. What our country is facing with the debt and budget situation is a disgrace, it should never have came to this had you been doing your job.
    You MR --– and every other sitting member of the Congress regardless of party should be fired!

    "Vote the Bums Out" is my new party!
    I will also adopt the philosophy of W C Fields who said " I never vote for, I vote agains

    July 23, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  2. jon

    It's time Obama and the Democrats hold steadfast in their opposition to the GOP/Tea Party's sucking up to the rich. The enormous tax breaks of Corporate America have not translated into more jobs or a stronger economy instead it has put more profit and bonuses in the pockets of CEOs/CFOs, etc. Let the country default and let the average american see what the GOP has done to this nation. The veil name calling, the paranoid accusations of the Right and the ignorance of their spokepeople, ie: Bachman, Perry, Limbaugh, etc. will lead us down the path of financial and social collapse.

    July 23, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  3. Russ

    Makes sense to me, but they should do it in one stage, not three.

    July 23, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  4. POD

    What? Get through the Next Election.......This should be called the 'Cover Your Butt and Get Re-Elected Plan'. This way the current crop of legislative losers can go back home and tell the voters.....'Look, See.....Everything is All Better....so vote for me again'

    July 23, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. DENNA

    President Obama has given all that he can give. He is willing, I am sorry to say, to cut benefits for SS and Medicare to appease the Republicans, to get a job done. All he asks is that the Repigs allow revenue increases to help with the budget. But no, the Repigs don't want to increase taxes on the upper class in America. They want the middle class and poor to take the entire hit. What is wrong with this picture?

    I saw another article on the ticker regarding Latino voters. You really don't have a chance. In case you have not noticed, it is the Repigs who are trying to build borders to keep you out and are devising other ways to make your lives miserable. You, like middle class Americans who are trying to survive, don't really have a choice. It is the Democrats or chaos, also known as the Republican party.

    July 23, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  6. Jonathan

    Tell congress we have options too! And we are cleaning house at the next election! I am so embarrassed to be an American. Even more embarrassed to be a Republican.

    July 23, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. vicki willis

    How stupid! Do these guys not see what happened in norway and not know how many crazies we have in this country? I would not want to be in their shoes! Just go to any va hospital and look in the faces of the vets. They fight wars for conggress and this is their reward, va benefits stopped. God help our country because the congress and senate will not!

    July 23, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  8. Bill

    If the country defaults, I wonder who is going to hurt worst? Most of us have no stocks or savings, the other side have both.
    When the shit hits the fan who would lose the most?

    July 23, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. no bo n 12

    Once again Odumbo plays games with our future. Sick

    July 23, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  10. bruce

    I'm going to fund Obamas campaign again to the full 2500. I was on the fence, but after watching repub intractability and the apparent desire of INSANE Tea Party people to damage our entire economic system, I'm going with the Democrats.

    Democrats have publicly announced that they would cut social security and medicare to get a dea. Announcing that is political suicide for them, so hats off to them. WHAT SACRIFICE do we see out of the Repubs for our country. ZERO... NADA... NOTHING.

    July 23, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  11. bruce

    I'm going to fund Obamas campaign again to the full 2500. I was on the fence, but after watching republican intractability and the desire of Tea Partiers todamage our economy, I'm go with the democrats.

    July 23, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. rhonda a pickett

    dear god this bad cnn news why let happen i kown what this man has said to me please help rhonda a pickett put a stop to mr.ray r bozeman call the evansville ind police on him ray has same problems please help stop the sick mailman he his used my name for last time ?call rhonda asap before i go to the would news on a usps worker

    July 23, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  13. Gaddffly

    Raising the debit limit in steps is still raising it !! The net effect is the same so why is it a "compromise" ?? This plan still smells more like pork barrel politics than an attempt to cut spending. This is just another example of congressional and Presidents double dealing and double talk !!

    July 23, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  14. JeffS

    Another Commission? Obama created one, the made recommendations and everybody ignored them. Another commission is unnecessary. Every member of Congress and the President needs to be voted out and we need to enact term limits on Congress. It's the only way to stop this nonsense.

    July 23, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  15. Jeff

    As far as I can tell, the Republican fall back plan is defaulting on our debt and collapsing the world economy if they don't get THEIR way!

    July 23, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. Mark In Kansas

    My confidence in the ability of either party has nearly vanished, but the GOPers whe were elected as Tea Party repressenatives are doing what the people that elected them want – for the good or bad I'm not sure. The jury is out on what the Dems and Obama repressent besides themselves.

    July 23, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  17. Kevin

    "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." WHAT???????? In other words, they aren't giving ANYTHING!!!!! Republicans are also very much at fault for this debt crisis (the wars are a HUGE reason we are in this mess) and they need to offer something of substance to solve the problem. The debt ceiling MUST be raised. That cannot be a concession from either party; that's a given. Each side now must give something to make this happen. The Dems have offered three trillion in spending cuts. That leaves one trillion more (to meet the minimum 4 trillion needed) and the Republicans need to do their part. They are playing childish games with the safety and future of America. Absolutely unbelievable that after all this negotiating, they are not offering one single penny. The tea party will be the death of us all.

    July 23, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  18. BobPlanet

    As the article states, the Congressional leaders are only negotiating because Obama has "demanded" that they do so. Otherwise they'd be partying and doing nothing.

    July 23, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  19. Larry from Tn.

    My wife and I live on SS disability. ìf social security is cut out, most of the disabled and elderly will lose everything, have no access to health insurance, etc. LET CONGRESS HAVE THEIR INCOME RIPPED AWAY FROM THEM! Our tax dollars pay their salaries to help ALL Americans, not just the wealthy. They say the cost of living has not risen so no cost of living increase for two yrs. Prices are increasing daily?? I SAY COME TO MY WORLD, WALK IN MY SHOES AND EXPERIENCE HOW IT FEELS!

    July 23, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  20. Joan Adams

    I my self do not want to have to colect disabalty and the last few years we have not reckved an cost of living raise. So if you cut any more we will be will be walking on egg shells. Please leave SSI. and SSDI alone on the tax cuts. Not to mention if Mass Health and Medacade is cut we will be in lots of health problems. Please find things not as badly neaded to cut.

    July 23, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  21. William Jefferson

    At least turtle head seems to understand that default, the conservative tea bagger wet dream, relegates the US to the status of fallen empire. It also means global Depression. A depression that would make the 1930s seem like never ending lavish playboy mansion party.

    July 23, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. disgrace to america

    obama is simply looking for any deal that allows him to spend taxpayers money and go back on vacation...its the job of the american people to fix their mistake and remove obama from office....

    July 23, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  23. rob

    Its been obvious from the start that president Obama is interested in posturing only not leading us toward real budget reform. He came late to the debate and he's had a terrible 3 weeks. He has never gone public with a specific plan, he only speaks about vague willingness to compromise while demanding tax increases from Republicans that he was never able to get from a Democrat dominated Congress. Remember last wek when he gave Congress 24 to 36 hours to come up with a plan? Everybody ignored him. When the "Gang of Six" came out with their blueprint, Obama immediately got behind it as what he wanted but it was shot down by both sides just as fast. Now, apparently he and Speaker Boehner's talks have broken down again because he caved in to his liberal base. The liberal media may be running interference for him, but ultimately it is President Obama who has taken ownership of this negotiation and it is he who has the most to loose if they can't come to a solution.

    July 23, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  24. Dan Green

    Who puts the wheels in motion to invoke the 14th Amendment?

    July 23, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. charls

    It is too late. A default will happen and the Republicans will have caused it. The Republicans want a default because the T-baggers want one. I see where some Republican governors are now discovering that when a default happens, there states will also be dragged down too. Amazing!!! The only real affect of the default is to cause the interest payments on the nation debt to increase by about $70 billion a year. What a waste.

    July 23, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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