Debt Deadlock: The Road Ahead
July 30th, 2011
08:17 AM ET
10 years ago

Debt Deadlock: The Road Ahead

Washington (CNN) –- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the White House must be present if there are negotiations toward a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, according to Democratic and Republican sources familiar with the situation.

If those talks get going, Democratic officials maintain things could move quickly because a lot of the details were hashed out over nearly two months of deficit talks between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, as well as during negotiations on a grand bargain between President Obama and the congressional leadership.

A key of focus of any bipartisan compromise will be finding agreement on what policy experts call "triggers." These mechanisms would motivate both Democrats and Republicans to sit down for a second round of budget talks next year.

One of the major disagreements in the debt talks has been over the right triggers. The plans proposed by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, both proposed special congressional committees that would come up with deeper cuts down the road. Any compromise deal reached this weekend could attach triggers to motivate such a commission to come up with meaningful changes.

Democratic sources say they are open to many different triggers. But they rule out any that will force the economy into a second recession and say the health care individual mandate is off the table.

These same Democratic sources say House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, have offered assurances that they will deliver as many Democratic votes as are needed to pass an eventual compromise.

The expectation among Democrats is a compromise bill that gets through the U.S. Senate will lose a significant number of House Republicans, though Speaker Boehner would still need to marshal some GOP support for it to pass.

The White House has said it would entertain a short term extension of the debt ceiling past August 2. if there is a basic agreement, officials still insist the President will not go for anything past a few days – just to give lawmakers a little bit more time to get it through Congress.

How would an extension work? Democrats familiar with the debt situation said such an extension could start in either the House or the Senate.

It could be a simple date change because Congress could simply allow Treasury to borrow until a date past August 2.

As for the Balanced Budget Amendment which was included in the Boehner bill - which stipulates the BBA must be passed before there can be a second extension of the debt ceiling - Democrats argue it is a terrible idea for three reasons. First it's unrealistic to believe we’d be able to amend the Constitution in time to avoid a default next time around. Secondly they argue that responsible economists say that the right standard for the economy is not always a balanced budget. For example in 2008 and 2009 if you’d had such an amendment they said they believe you would have had a second Great Depression. And finally they say most economists believe the preferred standard for a deficit is 3% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

–CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this story.

Filed under: Congress • Debt • President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Fran B

    The American voter is a dumb sheep. THIS deal was worked out days ago. There will be NO default or apocalypse. It's called a CONFERENCE COMMITTEE you clueless masses. Reid and Boehner bring it to conference and come out the other side with a DEM bill. All the Dems plus Boehner's inner circle vote for it. they roll the RINOs and voila it gets done on Tuesday, just in time.

    Y'all are so gullible.

    July 30, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  2. mjw149

    The only shock of this thing is that the once-respected Wall Street Journal is ignoring economists and has also gone extremist, declaring any tax raise (like back to pre-Bush levels when the economy was working) to be unacceptable. Rupert Murdoch's greed has essentially destroyed our economy. All these loonies watch his tabloid fox news channel and repeat everything it says verbatim and have no idea about economics, but now it's trickled up to WSJ and Congress, and so we're just beholden to actual idiots. These idiots that have hurt our credit rating and increased our deficit to 'fight' the deficit. Morons.

    I'm a Conservative Christian who will never vote GOP again.

    July 30, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. wiredWeirdinSF

    Looks like Obozo may get away with stealing the money those of us who actually work and pay taxes and have assumed personal responsibility for our lives. The dope addicts, welfare frauds and corrupt unions have won and of course the will steal the next election for the most corrupt, inept, incompetentent, union toady president in history. This is what happens when you have a corrupt, lazy union like the NEA running our public education system combine with an immoral and corrupt democrat liberal party and biased media.

    July 30, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  4. Ray E. Georgia

    It's called Fiscal Responsibility, Fiscal Responsibility, Fiscal Responsibility! The Adult part of the Congress Passed a Bill. The Child part of the Congress wants to take it's marbles and go home. It is time to tell the American people that there is no more free lunch. You will have to pick up after yourself. Get off your dead *ss and take responsibility. People used to do it. Try it, you'll like it!

    July 30, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. seth

    I,m convinced the Republican Party is a "Vehicle that has allowed "A Zealot Group of Evangelical Extremists Youth Cult" led by "White collar Criminal Group, "Norquist and Corp.!!!! A Party that allows "Dead Beat Dads" to decide Americas "Fate". I,m am extremely Embarrassed for our country! Boehner,McConnel,Cantor, Walsh and the rest of this Cult "Resign" or Be Resigned by voters in 2012! Bye,Bye Republicans!!!!! Take your Taxpayer Millions,and hit the road!!!

    July 30, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Bryan

    The DEMS answer is always to increase taxes. If that was a viable solution we wouldn't be in this mess right now.

    Tax & Spend = Madness

    July 30, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Winston Blake

    The United States Senate Exchange (where Obama came from) wants QE3 so they can selectively bail out Wall Street cronies with the public debt?


    3 summers of jobless recovery and 4 trillion dollars later?

    No thanks... Keep the change, just get the hell out of the way.

    Republican plan = cut, cap, balance

    Democrat plan = lie, cheat, steal (as usual)

    July 30, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Myron8160

    Demoecrats git rid of the fat cats

    July 30, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. Larry King

    As a "Reagan" republican, I think McConnell has been a disaster. He consistently puts politics before our great country. He is an embarassment to Americans everywhere.

    July 30, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. addon

    McConnell what a wonderful sheet wearing lover of the president. Isn't it sweet the way he loves our 1st African American president? McConnell has always wish for Obama's failure, no matter what the consequences would mean to the nation, just so that all of us know how much McConnell cares for the president.

    Now McConnell will only negotiate with the president he wants to see fail. Well kiss my grits! Never knew these patriot people had such love for the president.

    Go ahead you great americans that support these republicans, tea party people, and the like, show how much you love all americans of a different ethinicities and races. Make sure to get your sheets out of the cleaners before you go to the meeting with the president; now, YA hear?

    July 30, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Hopefuly the US Senate will carve out a compromise. The US Senate is a more deliberative body with grownups, unlike the House and an ineffective Speaker Boehner who was held captive by a small minority made up primarily of Tea Party newbies.

    July 30, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. GI Joe

    Those republicans and teabaggers have become terrorists - I think it's unconstitutional - and I think someone needs to give them a swift kick in the butt. The issue needs to be addressed, but to hold the entire country's best interest hostage in order to "get what I want when I want it" is just beyond anything I've ever heard of.

    Vote them out in 2012. They are crazy. What's the term someone used? Party before Country?

    July 30, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |