The debt ceiling battle: Where things stand on a vote
House Speaker John Boehner arrives at the Capitol Friday morning.
July 29th, 2011
09:47 PM ET

The debt ceiling battle: Where things stand on a vote

The federal government has four days left to raise the nation's current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, the Treasury Department said. A failure to do so will risk an unprecedented national default.

If the debt ceiling is not raised by Tuesday, Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems.

As the cost of borrowing rises, individual mortgages, car loans and student loans could become significantly more expensive. Some financial experts have warned of a downgrade of America's triple-A credit rating and a potential stock market crash.

Without an increase in the debt limit, the federal government will not be able to pay all of its bills next month. President Barack Obama recently indicated he can't guarantee Social Security checks will be mailed out on time. Other critical government programs could be endangered as well.

Where do things stand in the fight to raise the debt ceiling?

House

Senate Democrats on Friday blocked the latest House Republican proposal to cut spending and increase the federal debt ceiling, setting up a weekend of negotiations to seek a deal that would avoid a potential federal default next week.

Earlier Friday, House Republicans passed Speaker John Boehner's latest proposal, overcoming opposition from Democrats and tea party conservatives. But Democrats had vowed to defeat it in the Senate, where they have the majority.

Boehner's plan calls for $917 billion in savings over the next decade, while creating a special congressional committee to recommend additional savings of $1.6 trillion or more. It would allow the debt ceiling to be increased by a total of roughly $2.5 trillion through two separate votes. The $2.5 trillion total would be enough to fund the federal government through the end of 2012.

The plan originally called for a congressional vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution by the end of the year. Boehner has since reached out to disgruntled conservatives by amending the plan to require congressional passage of such an amendment as a condition for raising the debt limit by the full $2.5 trillion, according to two GOP congressmen.

The vote was scheduled to have taken place on Thursday night, but Republican leaders postponed the vote amid signs they did not have enough support to pass it.

Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan would reduce federal deficits over the next decade by at least $2.2 trillion while raising the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion. Reid has promised additional cuts will be included in the final version of his legislation - enough to meet the GOP's demand that total savings should at least equal any total debt ceiling hike.

Reid's plan would cut spending by $1.8 trillion. Roughly $1 trillion in the savings are based on the planned U.S. withdrawals from military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Reid's plan also would establish a congressional committee made up of 12 House and Senate members to consider additional options for debt reduction. The committee's proposals would be guaranteed a Senate vote with no amendments by the end of this year.

Reid said Friday morning that he "must take action" on the Senate's legislation by the end of the day.

Obama

Obama has endorsed Reid's plan and threatened a veto of Boehner's plan. The president strongly opposes any bill which doesn't raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election. Obama has promised to veto any short-term debt ceiling extension unless it paves the way for a "grand bargain" of more sweeping reforms and revenue increases.

On Friday, Obama urged Senate Democrats and Republicans to take the lead in congressional negotiations. He said the House GOP plan "has no chance of becoming law." Obama also urged Americans to keep contacting members of Congress in order "to keep the pressure on Washington."

The president made a nationally televised plea for compromise Monday night, though he also criticized Republicans for opposing any tax hikes on the wealthy.

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Filed under: Budget • Business • Economy • Finance • Politics
soundoff (748 Responses)
  1. julianpenrod

    For so many who feel themselves bounced back and forth by all the promises, threats and defeats in the "debt plan" debacle, how many began to suspect, when it dragged on for so long and began to take up inordinate amounts of "news" time, that the entire thing was a stalking horse to take public attention away from ugly things going on in the Congress? The House and Senate failed to get together on a way to handle the debt situation, but, Friday, July 29, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19 to 10 to recommend passing H.R. 1981, a bill that mandated all internet service providers to retain 12 months' worth of complete information on all users that could indicate web sites visited and content posted. New World Order quislings will quip, "If you aren;'t dong anything wrong, you shouldn't mind be surveilled everywhere you went and everything you did." At the very least, this is an affront, a theft of a privilege that the people have earned not having taken from them. And it happened while the crooks in office had a plurality if not the majority of people apparently looking the other way!

    July 30, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
    • azshawn

      Julian,

      Your comment makes sense to me. It's nice to see a reasoned comment on CNN now and then, instead of all of the usual stuff. If what you are saying were not the case, then why would Congress be "working" (in quotes, as we've been seeing more fight than work these days) on anything less important than the budget/debt crisis they so kindly got us into?

      July 30, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. WE ARE AMERICA

    "kay

    Nikita Khrushchev once said i do not have to harm you,you will destroy yourselves,we are on our way"

    I HAVE FAITH IN OUR NATION WE WILL DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE!!! AMERICA IS GREAT NOT BECAUSE OF EXTREEMS BUT BECAUSE WE WORK TOGETHER AND WE WILL DO SO NOW!!!

    July 30, 2011 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. vrim

    Shame on you Boehner, and on your mob-mentality teabaggers, too. How about the CBO looking at your "Balanced Budget" mandate and announcing whether Zeus himself could balance the budget in these times without scuttling the nation itself. You are some truly rotten and devious people you republicans. Again; SHAME ON YOU!

    July 30, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. WE ARE AMERICA

    AMERICA BELIEVE!!! WE CAN FIND OUR WAY IF WE WORK AS ONE!!!

    July 30, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Observer:)

    Isn't it time that we "restart the game of monopoly"? After all, it does not appear that America will ever pay back its debts but will only continue to fall further and further behind. There are too many factors pulling America's federal reserve system of fiat currency down. Fiat currency is for slaves, not sovereigns. We need real gold and silver money to replace or at least compete with our fiat $ at this point. It's time for America to admit that it is bankrupt and renig on some of its obligations.

    July 30, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      your ideas are imbalanced and poorly reasoned
      the debt situation is easily resolved, given reasonable politicians
      not sure why you made this comment, but I would call you a "troll" based on the available information
      please shut up or provide some common sense to support your view

      July 30, 2011 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Observer:)

    Face it America, it's time to get your grandmother and mother in law out of her cottage which social security can no longer pay for and it's time to care for her at home. The rest of the world can no longer afford your and her self-centered lifestyle!!!!!

    July 30, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      go back to your hole in the ground, troll

      July 30, 2011 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. cruiser808

    Get rid of the extremist Tea Party Ideologues and maybe the Congress can get this job done.

    July 30, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer:)

      We need an idealist to get us off the track were on which leads to a broken bridge over a canyon!
      America just cannot keep going into deeper and deeper debt !!!!

      July 30, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. WE ARE AMERICA

    vrim

    Shame on you Boehner, and on your mob-mentality teabaggers, too. How about the CBO looking at your "Balanced Budget" mandate and announcing whether Zeus himself could balance the budget in these times without scuttling the nation itself. You are some truly rotten and devious people you republicans. Again; SHAME ON YOU!

    WHY SHAME ON ANY OF US? WE ARE ALL IN THIS MESS. IT IS HIGH TIME TO CUT THE CRAP AND WORK TOGETHER. IF WE KEEP WORRYING ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG WE GO NOWHERE. YES RAISE THE LIMIT! YES CUT SPENDING! HOW IS THIS SO HARD? EACH SIDE HAS GOOD IDEAS! PUT THEM INTO PLAY!!!

    July 30, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. NoTags

    The tea party primarily funded by Charles and David Koch (Koch Industries) represent less than 1/2 of 1% of adult Americans. The tea party is nothing more than America's Taliban (terrorists).

    I pray that Americans who are not members or supporters of the tea party will Google Koch Industries Companies, print out a list and boycott their products. Hit the almighty Koch brothers right in their pocketbook.

    Also, Google the House and Senate tea party caucus and if your Representative or Senator is a member of the caucus do everything that you can to make sure they are not re-elected in 2012.

    It's time for us to TAKE BACK AMERICA.

    July 30, 2011 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. tom

    Here's an idea... no more salary or benefits for non-sitting / former senators and house reps. We should also look at limiting terms. Clearly they are more worried about themselves than the country., so lets remove that issue from the start. Apparently part of the problem is some groups not wanting to do this during an election year. Give me a freaking break... both sides STOP worrying about where YOU will be in 1 or 2 years and worry about where the COUNTRY will be. Right now... NONE OF YOU seem to be helping. It isn't like this "just happened" ALL of you WAITED on this to try an get leverage on the other. Good Greif

    July 30, 2011 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. Michael LelancBlanc

    Where is the truth CNN?

    “The Atlantic” released a story that said our nation cannot run out of money to pay our bills. I read another story from MSNBC that moved the deadline date from 2 August too 15 August. Every hour of every day citizens are pummeled with news bytes of economic doom. Is the situation really that bad? Senator Boehner and Reid seem more concerned with saving face for their party than they fear an economic meltdown. Is this show nothing more than a DC trailer released for attention? Should America be afraid CNN?

    July 30, 2011 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      regardless of whether the default time frame is 4 days or 14, the political system needs to provide a resolution asap.
      the markets are not going to wait much more for a resolution. sad to see a really great political system subverted by
      personalities and attachments to power. the usa is near to a real loss that will not be easily be compensated. shame on both houses, but especially the minority tea bags – you need to accept the consequences of your actions and we will be watching!

      July 30, 2011 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. 2bits

    America is a decaying society of 'me me's' and will breakup into multiple countries centered around it's political base.

    July 30, 2011 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. PEEJ

    The whackos of the tea party who are clueless about governing need to get out of the way and stop listening to total idiots like fox, and the hypocritical idiots palin and bachman. our country's future is at stake.

    July 30, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. Romancutza

    It's such a shame that you people who were elected to work for the country's good, are so divided that you forgot about WE THE PEOPLE. I am not republican, I am not democrat, I AM ASHAMED that I gave you my vote. It's time for you, John Boehner, to put the hate on the side and work to keep this great country the most respected in the world. It's time for you, Mr. President, to step up and remember that YOU WERE ELECTED to maintain the greatness of America, not to take it down. The world is watching you!

    July 30, 2011 at 5:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. bach

    Didn't they spend less time deciding to give away our money to the banks to avoid financial disaster? I guess the USA is not too big to fail.

    July 30, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
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