The debt ceiling battle: Where things stand
July 28th, 2011
10:32 PM ET

The debt ceiling battle: Where things stand

The federal government has five 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 August 2, 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?


There will be no vote Thursday night by the U.S. House on Speaker John Boehner's latest proposal to increase the debt ceiling and cut government spending, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said.

Earlier Thursday, House Republicans delayed a vote scheduled for 6 p.m. on Speaker John Boehner's latest debt ceiling proposal, saying it could take place later in the evening, the chamber's second-ranking Democrat said. The move indicated possible difficulty in lining up sufficient Republican support to pass the measure.

Assuming House Democrats remain united against the plan, Boehner will need the support of at least 217 of the House's 240 Republicans to pass it. All 53 Senate Democrats have promised to oppose the plan if it is passes the House.

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 also calls for a congressional vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution by the end of the year.


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.


Obama has endorsed Reid's plan and threatened a veto of Boehner's plan. The president strongly opposes any bill that 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.

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

"This is no way to run the greatest country on Earth," the president said. "The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government."

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Filed under: Budget • Economy • Politics
soundoff (1,331 Responses)
  1. ART

    If you ask me I think the tea baggers are in cahoots with the terrorist who attacked us on 9/11. They are hell bent on making sure America fails,too bad we cannot fire some of these morons.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WB

    Anyone else think it's incredibly wasteful of time to have Boehner spending all his energy to squeak a bill through the house even though there is ZERO chance it will get through the senate or the president's desk. Why bother with this political pandering?


    July 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jimmie Beck

    if d c does the right thing and cuts spending we will hate them...but it is what is needed...there is no way out of this mess other than to cut spending.... money we do not have...WITHOUT THE TEA PARTY THE ISSUE OF THE 14 TRILLION AND GROWNING DEFICIT WOULD NEVER HAVE COME TO THE FRONT..GIVE D C MORE MONEY AND D C WILL NOT ADDRESS THE DEFICIT BUT SPEND IT.. SO, D C ...NO MORE MONEY AND STOP THE SPENDING....NOT EASY CAUSE YOU ONLY KNOW TO SPEND LIKE WITH A CREDIT CARD.....SINCERELY, JIM

    July 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MMP

    Mr. Boeher we the people do not like the way you're doing business in Washington. I am fed up with you and the tea party not working for the America people who struggle in this world today. My mother is on her last dime to in this world today. Why can the republican party work together to better the United State Of America. I think all of the america people should their send their mortage and car payment to you and the republican party. How would you feel not receiving your pay check or lost your health benefits for your famillies.The childish game you are playing with america people is very dangersous in my eyes. Think about the grandparents who just getting by like the working folks out here.

    July 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. norma wilkinson Long Beach Cal.


    July 29, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. norma wilkinson Long Beach Cal.

    Thing I don't understand about the "Tea Partiers: is the progress they've made with the Republican party. They have little if any knowledge about successful workings of the government and forty years ago would have been laughed out of town...The one early thing that sticks in my mind was the sign a bedraggled senior was carrying in the park, that said:"" ""Take the government out of my Medicare:""".....Now that to me is what they are as a .group.......inarticulate,clumsy,opportunists without any real concern for our great country and certainly none for its citizens. They are so self righteous
    and SO wrong!!! Soon comes the day when they will be a forgotten issue!! !Nothing fades so sickeningly as dreams of absolute power..........absolutely!!!!..

    July 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dave

    its odd that nearly every other G7 economy with a progressive personal income tax scale have nearly all returned to pre 2008 employment numbers. . heres a funny thought, its just a thought . CUT BACK on your military after you get the hell out of iraq and afghanistan. those wars are bleeding you out. you've all but lost afghanistan . Everyone know you can't win. Its another vietnam. The only difference is that your in afghanistan . the USA spends nearly 700 billion a year just to maintain your current military. The Chinese only spend 114 billion. If the USA reduced spending on the military alone and only cut the military by 1/7th . That would save 100 billion . END tax subsidies for the huge OIL companies who already make more money than GOD. thats another 5 billion. 62.4 billion if subsidies stopped for thses company listed in this article

    farm subsidies of around 15 billion a year. Thats great lets pay farmers to grow crops no one wants. So now your up to just over 180 billion a year is cost reduction. that not even toughing social security and medicare

    Foreing aid! Swallows tons of your money

    This is totally CRAZY. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF FIRST THEN HELP OTHERS. You can't help anyone if your already dead.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |


    REAL SHOOTING IN UTOYA or NORWEGIAN "AFTERLIFE" $$ FLASH MOB !!? or REAL TEARS OR TEAR GAS AND PURE THEATER ON FACES OF MANIACS !!? OSLO POLICE or COMMUNIST/LIBERAL CRIMINALS WHO WERE PREPARING FOR ACT OF TERROR AGAINST NORWAY AND EUROPE ALMOST HALF DECADE(collecting proofs and photos) AHEAD !!? WILL THERE BE APOCALYPSE NOW(total obedience or trans in abomination) OR TOTAL RESISTANCE(civil war against multyculturalism) !!? No doubt about bombing in Oslo, but what about shooting in Utoya !!!?

    ARIZONA = UTOYA and STOLTENBERG = BREIVIK (90 minutes vs 30 and for government vehicles or police even 20 minutes the most) !!!

    August 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Debt never sleeps

    Credit card debt is very tense. It can cause not just fiscal injury but also actual harm. Men and women can be despondent and so they can easily experience impossible due to ...debt management

    February 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
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