Lawmakers say leaders must break stalemate
July 27th, 2011
07:16 PM ET
12 years ago

Lawmakers say leaders must break stalemate

Washington (CNN) - With competing Republican and Democratic legislation to lift the debt ceiling bogged down in each chamber, key lawmakers say it is more and more likely it will be up to House and Senate leaders from each party to cut a late deal to stave off default before the August 2 deadline.

"There's going to have to be a compromise," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who said the top five bipartisan congressional leaders will need to get in a room together and find agreement. "That's the end of the game; you can't have four of the five," Schumer said, referring to the top two party leaders in each chamber and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Much of the burden will fall on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, the two partisan but deal-making party leaders in the Senate who have repeatedly promised to prevent a default.

Aides say the two men talk daily but those discussions are not currently at the level of serious negotiations about exactly how to fix the two bills before them. Those talks are likely to heat up after it's known if the Republican bill can clear the House. A vote is planned Thursday.

But McConnell made clear Tuesday that he is ready to compromise.

"We are going to have to get back together to get a solution," the soft-spoken senator said as his voice rose with frustration over the stalemate. "We cannot get a perfect solution, from my point of view - controlling only the House of Representatives – so I'm prepared to accept something less than perfect because perfect is not achievable."

At a news conference Wednesday, Reid said despite the apparent deadlock, a legislative fix could come quickly.
"Magic things can happen here in Congress in a very short period of time under the right circumstances," he said.
Much of the focus in recent days has been on the two bills – one from Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and the other from Reid – that are similar in some respects but different enough that neither can become law without changes to accommodate the other party.

"If it follows the script of almost every other crisis in Congress, a lot of it will happen in private meetings where efforts will be made to reach an agreement and consensus and then bring it to the floor and sell it to the members," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. "That is usually how it works."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he hopes the Boehner bill passes the House and then, "I think we're willing to have conversations" with Democrats.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, said the Boehner bill can't pass the Senate. But he expects Reid and McConnell will get together to work out changes to the Reid bill that will satisfy Republicans.

"That's the most (likely) outcome," the veteran lawmaker said.

"I've never seen anything like this in the years I've been here," Baucus said. "But this world is still run by deadlines. Debt limits and recesses, the two of them will help us put this together."

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    If you read Articles 7, 8, and 9, the ball is in the House. It always has been. Even if a default comes to pass, then the House must decide what and who gets paid by the Treasury. In fact, those same articles seem to suggest that the House is obligated to raise revenue to pay for the budget that the House passed, or face a Constitutional Crisis like we have never seen before. At that moment, hopefully before if you ask me, the President is obligated to defend the Constitution as sworn in his oath of office. It looks like the Tea Party is going to hand the President a clean slate to do whatever he sees fit to defend the Constitution.

    July 27, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    That should be Article I, Sections 7, 8 and 9. above.

    July 27, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. The Dude

    Sen. McCain – You party and you are willing to have conversations only if they end in "Yes, Republicans, you can have everything YOU want and give absolutely NOTHING to us on this side..." If the situation were otherwise, you could have taken advantage of the conversations that have been happening for the past three weeks! Go back to Arizona you old fool.

    July 27, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. Nylaine Belcher

    Could someone please tell me why all our large low tax paying corporations, who have outsourced so many jobs to other countries, should not have to pay there fair share of taxes? Someone has to cover the deficit for the out pouring of billions of dollars in unemployment, re-education, home foreclosures, etc. etc. Are all republicans counting on corporate America to give them handouts for there re-elections? Is that why you all have to bow down & kiss there feet? Get Real at least Obama has taken your mess & is at least trying to straighten things out. And no I am not a democrat or republican, I am just an old laldy of 62 who is disabled & trying to live on $1,036.00 a month. How about you guys in the house & senate, when was the last time your went grocery shopping for your family? You guys have no idea what it is like for us, the American citizens. just trying to get by each day without one problem or another. Hey I have an idea, why don't you all vote yourself a pay decrease & dontate it to the deficit... If I had a work performance like all of you I would have been fired..Vote for it & move on..I know that the United States Government ****US THE PEOPLE!!*****are fed up with you & your take sides attitude....I am from Utah so listen up Orin!!

    July 27, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. duckbutter

    chuck you may be the biggest hack of all the senators .. new york is a mess.. dont tell america what we need to do.

    July 27, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The Dems have already compromised with their 3-1 cuts and tax increases. Now it's time for the GOBPbaggers to put on a clean pair of manpants and ask their corrupt corporatist cult leaders to share in the sacrifices the rest of us are making. :"We help the greedy, and not the needy" is not a compromise.

    July 27, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. stop spending our future

    Republicans need to remember....... THE TEA PARTY IS WATCHING.

    We don't forgive people that break there promises. We can and will replace you in the next election.

    July 27, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    There is no way that a deal will happen. The two sides are simply too polarized, and with the house controlled by the GOP, and the Senate controlled by the Dems, absolutely NOTHING will get done, until Obama leaves office.

    July 27, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  9. Sank

    Yes it is time to stlle but not the Liberal way. swe can not afford 4 more years OF SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. OR GEORGE SOROS' MAN OBAMA.

    July 27, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. hershel

    Do you want to fix the economy/? drop gas prices to 1.25 a gallon that would drop food prices put more money in poor / rich people pockets . that would move the economy /put people back to work / build more oil refinery that wouldput people towork also. there enough oil in the unit states to last over 2oo years. that gives us time to work on new energy sources for the future. stop thinking what our country can do for others but what we can do for our on country.with this we could build more houses/ put more farmers back to work here not over seas.

    July 27, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. Ron

    THere's a surprise! TIme to lead. Obama said it best "If you want to be a leader, lead!"

    July 27, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. unretired05

    All the people who say they don't want the country in debt for their grand-kids should be wanting a tax increase to pay the debt, not just the interest. I don't want my grand-kids paying my bills. If my generation ran up the debt then we should pay for it. The only way out is to raise taxes to pay the debt and eliminate the interest. Bush cut taxes saying we should keep more of our money, but what he did was the same as a credit card that has a miss a payment feature. The only thing that does is increase the interest that you have to pay and cost you more in the long run. As it has already.

    July 27, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. Steve Lyons

    There really doesn't have to be a deal. It is up to the house to to pass a budget that the Senate can either accept, reject, or modify. If it is accepted it goes to Bobo. Rejected the democrats will have called for a shut down. If modified it is up to the house to either accept, reject, or modify and only if they accept the modification does it go to Bobo. Otherwise they start all over.

    As long as they don't agree the taxpayer wins.

    July 27, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. AY

    Dear Ted Barrett:

    I am writing you quickly to attempt to provide some quick feedback that may help in identifying a prudent solution that is acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats, and most importantly, is best for America. Please consider the following (point “c)” is what will enable the big win):

    a) Keep Boener's principle to increase the spending limit by the same amount of budget cuts.

    b) Make the increase and decrease at least 1 Trillion to ensure that it is a milestone, an aggressive figure, and an easy to remember number (for the public).

    c) Identify the additional $100 Billion (to get to $1 Trillion) through closing tax loopholes and making slight increases in taxes. Insert a clause, however, that stipulates that the tax increases are a temporary measure that will expire in 5 years. This will be a good faith gesture/olive branch to the Democrats and American people that will show the Republican Party’s efforts to hunker down with prudent budget management, but not permanent bog the country down with bigger government.

    I think the above (mainly point “c),” and to a lesser extent point “b”) contains the minor tweaks that are necessary to get the Bill passed in both the House and Senate and show the American people that the Republican party is willing to stick to their guns”/principles, yet still compromise for the greater good of both America and the world (we cannot default). Because there will be a concession by the Republicans through including a tax increase, it will also make the Democratic party look just as good to America and the world.

    Please let me know your thoughts.


    July 27, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. marty

    If the lawmakers were truly American patriots with the betterment of the United States citizens as their priority, they would pass a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling and then continue working for the American people. Instead they embark on extreme and childish behavior which is embarrassing and distasteful. Who knows, maybe their actions are financially backed by some foreign government who wants to see our country default and fail. Money does a lot of things, just look at some of the Supreme Court decisions re: corporations.

    July 28, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  16. Marry

    America, America…How a small group of really dump spiteful IDIOTS, can put not only in the US but worldwide finance markets and economies in danger is almost unbelievable. If someone had made a movie on this scenario, everyone would be laughing!
    This is open warfare against the President! Nothing else!! But, it will negatively affect everyone else in the process. AH, yes, these PATRIOTS… First they throw the country into the ditch and then they drop a bomb on top of it! The Taliban can learn a thing or two from the GOP/TP!!!

    July 28, 2011 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  17. Bianca

    I am utterly disgusted by both parties. Mostly with the Republican Tea Party. This country is based on compromise if a person doesnt know how to do that then they shouldn't run for office. No one gets everything they want 100% of the time. I wish there was a 3rd party because I would vote them ALL out.

    July 28, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |