House, Senate leaders have debt ceiling options
July 22nd, 2011
07:56 PM ET
9 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. CutCongressional Perks

    So long as Social Security and Medicare are NOT TOUCHED! They need to cut their own spending FIRST! That would be a great way to balance the budget and tackle the debt ceiling no doubt.

    July 23, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. fayse

    I have been watching the debt ceiling crisis and, it occurs to me that the GOP does indeed have a plan. That plan is to do nothing and to force the President to take it upon himself to raise the debt ceiling. Then of course, they will jump all over that to use against him in any and every way that they can. The actually believe that this will absolve themseselves for any blame. The majority of the American people are not that stupid. The GOP has been playing politics with our lives and our future. Their express purpose is to regain the White House at any cost. We the American people mean nothing to them , other that a "vote" and then we are dispensible. I sincerely hope that in the 2012 elections, each and every one of these tea party GOP Congressmen/women will be voted out because they have not done their job. It is the job of the Congress to control the purse strings and to create budgets that are then sent to the Senate and then to the President. They have not done the job they were elected to do.

    July 23, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. Genius

    Forget about this. Obama should just raise the ceiling himself to ensure the markets don't downgrade us and send us into a death spiral. The president has emergency powers to ensure that the constitution is upheld. Now is the time to use them.

    July 23, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    $1 trillion in debt ceiling increase – that would raise the debt limit for several months.
    THINK ABOUT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Adding a TRILLION dollars to the debt ceiling EVERY SEVERAL MONTHS. The Democrats have put this country on the path to bankruptcy. The credit reporting agencies have said they will down grade the rating of US debt even if the limit is raised because there is no agreement from the Democrats to stop this madness.

    The leftists in this country ARE succeeding in destroying this country. I hope you all like living in a thrid world country. Welcome to Obama's world of social justice and "share the wealth", where there will be none to share.

    July 23, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Tom

    "McConnell/Reid is "on the shelf," t" Just what we need is to kick the can down the road again!

    I think we should just let the damned country go broke! Maybe it would end all of this squabbling like children not getting their way!

    July 23, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Garrafon

    The politicians are playing games with our future. Boehner says there is no deal in site. Obama says he lacks confidence that anyone is willing to step up to the plate to deal with the debt. WE CAN PROVE THE POLITICIANS WRONG. If we join together, we can step up to the plate and deal with the debt. The Association to Reduce the National Debt is a non-partisan charity helping to pay down the debt. The contribute money to pay down the debt. If we all join with them, if we spread the words to friends and family, and if we all donate to them, WE CAN STEP UP TO THE PLATE; we can show Washington that we are willing to act; we can show Washington how important this is; we can show the Americans unite in times of crisis; we can show our patriotic colors, and we can help pay down the debt and avoid an economic crisis. Find the Association to Reduce the National Debt on facebook or the web, like them, spread the word, and donate. TOGETHER WE ARE THE ANSWER.

    July 23, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. JB

    As long as we have a president in office that attempts to further his agenda by drawing emotion responses from American citizens, rather than cause them to thoughtfully reflect on what is best for our country, we will live in turmoil.

    July 23, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. deborah daffron

    i"am on ssi and if i dont get my check i cant paid my bills and me and my kids will be put out doors with no food and these so call adult are fooling with people so what i think all the people that is on social security we move in with them and tell there life upside down like they did with us.

    July 23, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Paul

    After paying into Social Security for over 40 years it is an entitlement? That's BS.

    July 23, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. This is all a game by politicians

    They are playing crisis games. To push through changes which they can hide under the radar. Don't underestimate that both parties are pulling in huge contributions from lobbyist and wall stree to support these "cuts". Watch for the repeal of mortgage interest from US tax payers. This allows banks to get bigger loans.

    July 23, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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