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?


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 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 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.

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

    It’s Obama’s fault!

    In his first two years in office, Obama and the Democrats controlled the House, Senate, and the Presidency. Not a single Republican or Tea Party vote was required to enact any legislation. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their Democratic cohort could have reformed the tax code, cut the debt and deficit, and produced a balanced budget for the nation in any way they saw fit.

    So what did Obama and his Democratic cohort do about these critical issues during this period of absolute policy control? Absolutely Nothing.

    Sure, there were plenty of rhetorical speeches filled with blame–just like today–but nothing legitimate was accomplished. Instead, Obama and his cohort deliberately stalled and obfuscated until after the mid-term elections. Why did they do nothing? Simple. This is the outcome they wanted!

    Here’s the problem. Obama and his cohorts aren’t for the “Change” that they say they are. What would happen when they didn’t deliver on their empty promises? They’d have to explain their deceit. And, they wouldn’t be able to blame anyone else for the inconsistencies between their unfulfilled promises and the lame outcomes of their unobstructed leadership. The American people would be able to clearly see Obama, Pelosi and Reid and their Democratic cohorts for who they really are, and not who they claim to be.

    Republicans in the House and Senate repeatedly offered tax-reform, debt and deficit reduction plans–actual written-down-on-paper-with-specifics-and-everything plans. Obama, Reid, and Pelosi flatly reject each WITHOUT COMPROMISE or the suggestion of an alternative plan. The consummate demagogue, Obama has his spin machine just spew more and more factually baseless rhetoric and vitriol to a rabidly accepting media and public

    Just weeks prior to default, Mitch McConnell presents Obama, Reid, and Pelosi with a plan that would cede authority for raising the debt ceiling to Obama–averting the financial default crisis–in exchange for a specific list of the spending cuts that they would make to offset the increase to the debt ceiling. Let’s recap. Obama can raise the debt ceiling and avert the default crisis without interference from the Republicans or the Tea Baggers by specifying the spending cuts he will use to compensate for the increase in the debt ceiling.

    So, Obama raises the debt ceiling and averts the financial default crisis, right? Wrong.

    Obama refuses to commit to any spending cuts–cuts to anything he wants. He keeps the process a contentious brawl to allows him ample opportunities for blurring and bending of the truth after the fact. Once again, Obama and his Democratic cohort continue to hold America hostage to their dogma. I’m sure we can all agree that whatever diseased abortion of a creature is spawned in the midst of this deliberately planned debacle will be ugly and treacherous. But can we all also agree that there was no reason for it to turn out this way in the first place.

    Thanks, Barak!

    July 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mogan Torn

      For the members of the Tea Party, they don't want to raise the debit limit for any reason whatsoever. McConnell's ploy for Obama to raise it on his own authority is a mere political move for the President doesn't have that authority; Congress does. Obama has bent backward to accede to the requests of the Democrats, and for me to far. Now, the Republican stance is follows the musings of Ayn Rand in that the middle class and those below are nothing more than moochers on society. This is why those in the military are not considered as having real jobs because the are simply public employees, according to Ann Coulter. The same is true for all public employees, law enforcement, teachers, etc. To be sure, they put most of their money back into the economy (can't really afford to save anything), but they don't create jobs. It is only the top 2% who create the economy and they should be taxed little or not at all. That is why the Republicans refuse to call the 'rich' the 'rich' and instead calls them 'job creators.'
      I say fine, let's not pay our bills and go into default. The Tea Party Republicans don't believe anything will happen, so let's have them have their way.
      As for what should be cut out, for those who believe we are on the path of socialism (which we have been for decades), let's get rid of those problems – Medicare, Social Security, Public education including state universities – after all they are the public option to private schools, colleges and universities. No one in this country has the right to an education, just like they don't have a right to health care. Not an inherent right – correct? So, think how the economy would boom, if only parents had to pay for their children's education from K to 12 and beyond. Many people would not be able to afford and for their children, they can pick up the work that has been taken by illegal aliens. Impossible thinking? Isn't that what we are getting from Republican governors, like Maine's governor who wants to eliminate child labor laws? Not paying for education – well no more tax burden on that. Privatize the whole public educational system.

      July 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • justin

      I don't understand why no one seems to understand one simple economic reality:

      When you are in a recession, a shrinking government hurts the economy.

      The problem is that the debt was not paid down during the good times, under Reagan, Clinton and Bush. If it had been we would have plenty of money at our disposal to work our way out of this mess. If the republicans really valued fiscal conservatism they should have practiced it under Bush. It is obvious to me that the GOP is only interested in this now because they feel they can hurt the Presidents chances of reelection.

      Congratulations to the Republicans, they have made the President look like a fool, but as our economy continues to languish it will be the rest of us that pay the price.

      July 31, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Therese Therrian

    Is is not Obama's fault! When he came into office he took over the worst mess from the Bush Administration since the Great Depression. To have to take on such a disaster and at least not have us fall into another great depression took great effort to hold everything all together. Yes it would be good to cut spending. I agree with you that it has to be done but one thing they need to do is raise taxes on people who make more. It is only fair that if you make more you pay more. Aslo large corporations and the oil companies need to pay their fair share of taxes and not be stockpiling away huge profits. It is just wrong!!!!

    July 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mad Jayhawk

      Obama has been in office for over 2 years. Democrats saddled Bush with all of Clinton's problems on the first day he took office. When do Democrats make this guy man up and take just a little responsibility for what he has done to the economy. Will it be Bush's Fault for 4 years? No one is accepting this worn out excuse. I can imagine what would happen to an manager who kept blaming his predecessor for everything that was wrong in his department 2-3 years after he was hired. If I was the guy's boss, I would say fine. You knew what the problems were 2 weeks after you got here. Why haven't you fixed them or, at the least, made them better? Making excuses for a person makes the person seem to be weaker and more ineffectual. Obama definitely looks weak and ineffective. The problems he supposedly inherited are still here and they are worse.

      July 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I strongly agree with you Therese.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Allan

      Therese, I agree with you.
      The biggest problem that Bush was saddled with was a balanced budget left to him by Clinton, but he acted quickly to take care of that! An extremely expensive – and unbudgeted – war in Iraq and then tax give-aways to his rich pals.

      You don't have to look much further than that.

      July 31, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      I couldn't agree more. You always hear about how the rich pay all the taxs, we know this to be false because they
      have all the tax write-offs and all the escape goats. One thing that I do get aggravated with the Democrats is that it seems when the Republicans are in the minority and ask the Democrats to work together they almost always jump in to help (the BIG BANK BAILOUT) but when the Democrats ask them for help all the Republicans want to do is turn it into some political disaster for the Democrats and fight tooth & nail.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. philip holdredge

    raise revenues on the richest (corporations) Leave social security alone. People on fixed incomes (social security) are getting squeezed out of existance. despite what the consumer price index says, three years of no cost of living increase is criminal. Prices are going up and up, HELLO!!!!!

    July 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |

    If this nation does not separate business and state it will not survive! Business will always have its hands in the governments pockets!

    July 31, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ole Griff

    I say let it fall, no one in office will listen to someone like me or anybody else on this forum or the hundreds of forums like this one. I personally hope the stock market crashes so hard that they have to dig it out of the ground (or borrow one from china). Its not Obama's fault even though he is a horrible president who has not done anything good for us and you can't blame Bush because he is not the President anymore and hasn't been for 3 yrs. The real blame lies with the house, senate and congress, they along with all the "money holders" like our CEO's and heads of corporations that pay them off just so they can pocket a little more. It's funny to hear people complain about the President when he truly has no power, one example would be if someone could name something Bush or Obama has done by themselves with no vote. The U.S. is broke, we can't fix it with increased debt, that's actually hilarious. Yeah I can't pay my bills ahhahahahaha so can I borrow a few thousand so i can pay them, oh and then could i borrow a few more thousand so i can pay john to mow my yard and get george to wash my windows and after that i would like to borrow just a little more so i could start paying you back. That is a complete joke! That is not how it works, if you cant pay for it you lose it and it should be that way maybe then people would stop living above their means, that's a big part of the problem as well. But I'm nobody I don't have a degree, I'm not a politician I'm just a country guy that works for a living so my advice to anyone reading this is to save your posts nobody in politics will read this or care if they did, its ok to vent but to try to sway someone to believe the way you do is pointless. Which is why I say let it crash and burn I can fend for myself i don't need the stock market or a job to survive, I can provide for my wife and children we may end up living like the Amish but we will be just fine. The government officials wouldn't know what to do without big salary's. I would just sit back and laugh at them because instead of letting the business owners that don't know how to run their own business go bankrupt (the banks and the big two because ford refused the bail out money) they shot into more debt and bailed them out and for what? Two yrs later here we are raising the debt ceiling and the banks and car companies that got that money are still laying people off.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |

      'f they 'dn't rip'ff al gore'f 's right2 be the president we 'ldn't be 'n 's messed'n the first place& geogre bush'ldn't've been 'r president'n.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Voice of Reason

      I have to agree with Ole Griff. This has gone on long enough. This world in general has been in a steady decline for the longest time. Just need to let the weak, greedy and irresponsible to fail and let something stronger take its place. I don't know what will, but anything sounds better then what we're seeing and experiencing. Nothing lasts indefinitely and we can't just sit by and pretend that everything is going to be okay with one solution. A quick fix never works, and even if it's temporary, it puts us in a worse position than when we started.

      August 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Teresa Munoz

    Teresa Munoz

    I say we start getting rid of the waste in the White House! Why do these Men and Woman of the United States get to have Sunday off when the JOB is not done, Heck I would lose my job. We need to look at all the waste and get rid of it. We as voters need to look at this! I have one check book and mine is balanced every month as I'm sure alot of Americans do the same. We are asked to pay our bills all the time, So why is the White House even thinking of not paying there bills? I say do a 20% across the board tax bill for everyone, I say what we pay for to in port or export they meaning over seas pay the same! And why when we have a program out there we have to have another program out there to make sure the one we had first gets done? I say we bring home some of our Fine Americans over seas and start taking care of our own boarders! It's time to take care of waste and start saving. It does not take a Rocket Science to do this. I'll ever take my own time to help out with the BUDGET!!

    July 31, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jerry

    I find it rather amusing to see Mr. John Boehner acting so arrogant about working with the Democrats on the debt ceiling,
    but it was not long ago when I remember seeing Mr. Boehner on the news almost in tears on the house floor asking the
    Democrats for their help in the "BIG" bank bailout with no strings attached. He was crying for their help while in the minority but I have noticed that when the tables are turned the arrogance comes out in the Republicans.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jade

      Boehner is probably drinking less. Those tears were "poor me, poor me, pour me a drink tears.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Old Soldier

    Osamabinyomama: Don't you get it? Obama and the Democrats had no intention of reforming the tax code by cutting taxes, cut the debt and deficit, and producing a balanced budget. That is not what Democrats do. That is not among the goals of the Democratic Party. Just wait until November of next year. We senior citizens, the poor, liberal young people and workers, the minorities, and the compassionate wealthy will vote the Tea Party and the conservative GOP out. We will have another term for Obama, and a Congress more solidly Democratic than ever before; they will restore everything the Tea Party/GOP Conservatives have cut, repeal all their works, and raise taxes on the rich and on corporations big time to properly fund our social safety net adequately with an excess in the budget!

    July 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DNA rising

    Where are the corporations who are funding the campaigns of the republicans who are protecting their kill? It is astonishing what the republicans have done to the poor and middle class. Such an emphasis on debt and small government so that more people will lose their jobs and more corporations can control us instead of serving us. Such an emphasis on the need to subsidize the rich so they can employ millions–never mind that the corporations do everything possible to mechanize every job they can, offer no pensions, ask for more and more of their employees and give less and less in their undurable, plasticized, reduced in size products. The big carrot of corporations is that they will see our investments increase (the small dripping blood slice). Solution: stay small and local, make our towns sustainable, go for the biggest help to survival: honest cooperation. Well the bullies have won again with their pitiful values of getting their millions by lying, cheating and betrayal. But watch out–no one likes bullies.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Zach


    August 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lucinda Cross

    Without tax reform, nothing will change. Their all playing us, How can the oil company's have record earnings and pay no taxes, along with many other corps that give money to our politicians. They vote the way the corps tell them, not use. Wake up, all of them are in it for themselves. There is no right side, their all wrong!

    August 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jade

    It amazes me as to how the wealthy don't want to pay higher taxes even though they have more money. They want to put the burden on the middle and lower classes. The burden is already overwhelming. This is just the way things always are when the republicans are in office. Donald Trump is doing everything in his power to protect his money. What makes me sick is that the middle class and the poor many times fall for the tricks. How do you see fit to allow the wealthy to stay wealthy and not give more when you suffer because of it?

    August 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm | 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 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24