Washington (CNN) - The high stakes negotiations underway over raising the nation's debt ceiling are more important than the budget talks earlier this month that prevented a government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday. That's because the "full faith and credit" of the United States would be damaged for "generations to come" if the U.S. defaults on its debts, he said.
For that reason, the Democrat from Nevada said he is not "drawing any lines in the sand" about what must be included in a deal to raise the debt ceiling except to say it must "prove that we're willing to do something" about the ever-growing debt.
Most Republicans and many Democrats on Capitol Hill have vowed not to raise the borrowing limit unless it is tied to strict reforms to rein in spending and shrink the deficit.
Reid said he supports a "deficit cap" similar to one the White House recently proposed. It would trigger spending cuts "if by 2014, budget projections do not show that the debt-to-GDP ratio has stabilized and is declining in the second half of the decade," according to a White House summary.
Those spending cuts would not apply to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, something many Republicans might oppose.
Reid said the bipartisan Gang of Six senators negotiating debt issues is considering similar "triggering mechanisms" to ensure debt reductions.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Reid said the Senate will consider soon the controversial House-passed 2012 budget, which includes deep spending cuts and major changes to Medicare. Reid, who opposes the bill, says he wants to find out if Republicans in the Senate "are really supportive" of the House proposal.
Reid also said he would take up legislation shortly to remove federal tax breaks for major oil and gas companies at a time many are reporting high profits.
Yes both parties are to blame for this mess. Both parties need to work together to fix the mess. Republicans nearly doubled the Defense budget since Bush took office alone. The Dem's also need to stop trying to appease their base and get a little more creative with budget cuts. Ultimately we need to STOP all the Bush policies that led to this disaster in the 1st place. End the Iraq and Afganistan Wars already! , cut Defense back to pre 9/11 spending levels, eliminate the fraudulent Bush tax cuts (ALL of them) and stop the Partisan games.
As a 53 year old woman that had to break into her savings and retirement plan to keep 2 of my children in college and a roof over our head....if Dems give anything up that will secure my future....I HAVE HAD IT!!!
as rodeny king said .." cant we all just get along"....plus work together for the people...
Yes, both parties are responsible because some of the same representatives in Washington voted yes to Bush's bills which weren't paid for and are partially responsible for the deficit.
imagine if all this birther energy had gone in to fighting for more electric cars on our roads and breaking our cycle of dependence on foreign oil....
A return to the "Pay as you Go" policy that the Bushies ignored would be a good start.
Sure, now that the Republicans have the House Majority, let's all work together, but when the Diwits had all 3 branches, then most decisions were made behind closed doors! And all those folks protesting, making calls to their reps, etc, well those were just "astroturf"! Libs are always the biggest hypocrits!
No line in the sand either on the fact that We THe People are coming for you.
Uh-oh, this is code for "cave to the republicans again". I can feel it coming. I do hope I am wrong. I am 100% with Proud Member of "Global Zero" on this issue.
By "lines in the sand" Reid was referring to the GOP stance of putting everything on the table EXCEPT tax cuts for the rich. W started this avalanche with huge tax cuts without corresponding spending cuts. Now they want the democrats to make the hard choices and take the political heat.
Considering the overall success rate of the W administration, you could make a good argument for simply taking almost every major decision of that time and reversing it. The tax cuts, the drug plan, Iraq (Afghanistan was a correct call), and the doubling of the defense budget.