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.

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

    I agree, Chumlee. Our President is the only sane person in the lot. The problem is that he is a community organizer acting as one at the time when we need a skilled politician. He has the wrong skill-sets to deal with the situation today.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnnyOh

      If he was sane he wouldn't want to raise taxes during a downturn. The last time we did that was during the great depression. He is an idea log. No common sense.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • beans65

      how is it raising taxes if you are getting rid of tax have it backward. My question is this: If taxes really affect corporations like repubs say they do then why arent jobs being created...why are jobs being sent to china and india. If i remember right tax rates are at an all time low for companies in America, so one would think that they would be hiring like mad oh but wait theye arent but, you know what companies are doing JohnnyOh, they are making insane profits right now and they are paying someone in india 3 bucks an hour to do the job they should be paying an American to do for 10 bucks an hour but that cuts profits and the share holder wont go for that...why are you ok with paying your tax dollars to bail these companies out and then in turn they say hey thanks for the money to pay the indian kid...get a clue taxes are not hurting any of these major corps.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • fed up with the lot

      The entire hosue and senate are bumbling, incompetant, selfish and stubborn fools. We pay their salaries and allow access to lobbyists to pad their campaign funds. They collectively hae had 2 years to find a solutin and where are we, waiting cobble a bogus plan together that would only lead to another 11th hour posturing session with no real solution. If these people really worked for a living and got paid for results they would all be unemployed and looking for the federal government to extend their unemployment.

      Impeach them all and give others a chance to work together to find a long term lasting solution and prove to the rest of the world that we can elect effectie leaders.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bermille

      As I always say for those who say liberals should pay for Medicare and Medicaid, Republicans should pay for all the tax cuts and oil subsidies.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • MindField

      fed up with the lot
      right on....

      July 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Beans65. The UNSKILLED labor jobs are being sent overseas, because the US is not a manufacturing country any longer. Americans need to get educated and actually get a skill that business requires in this new reality. If they think they are going to get rich working low-tech assembly jobs, they are fooling themselves. Would you pay $20 for a toy built by unskilled Amrican workers when you can buy the same toy made in India for $2? Of course not.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sheldon Collins

    Gsmummer, You're quiet right...It's your war not mine...I've fought mine.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Simple

    This is just a plan. To meet the deadline, just come up with some damn numbers. You can revise these at a later date or justify the variances at a later date.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ScrewthePOORNOW

    The poor think stealing from those who earn it is the way to prosperity. TRY WORKING>

    July 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheldon Collins

      I've been on this planet a while now and never met anyone wealthy who acquired that wealth by paying a living wage.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnnyOh

      Really Sheldon? You must live in the Ghetto. Your telling me that say your local emergency room surgeon didn't deserve any wealth? Just cause you are a loser and didn't take any chances due to your lack of stones and intelligence doesn't mean other have to follow your meager path.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaston

      We are also talking about the Middle Class we all work... We are your Nurses, Garbage person, Mail person, Dentists... Just a FYI in case you did not know!!!!

      July 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crack

      JohnnyOh is drinking the Koolaid and truly believes he, like Joe The Plumber, is going to be rich one day. Mmmkaaay

      July 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaston

      @ Crack I understand he is dazzed and confused... GOT IT

      July 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bermille

      Once you pay for all the oil subsidies, tax cuts for the rich, tax shelters for multinational corporations, i will happily pay my share of helping the poor.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ScrewthePOORNOW

      Then sheldon start a business and show us how it is done. I ran one for 25 years took maybe three vacations during this time went 3 years with out a pay check to start it. I have the belief that you pay the best get the best and expect the best. I am now comfortably retired and YOU expect ME to GIVE this to people who will NOT put forth the effort needed to take care of themselves. SORRY nada gonna happen.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sheldon Collins

    I'm still waiting for the real patriots to commit to purchasing a deficit bond for their grandchildren...Be the change you believe it. Put your money where your mouth is.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill Richmond

    Nut jobs were right, we are heading for the Owe-pacalypse in 2012!

    July 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JohnnyOh

    CNN is a piece of fecal material. The people that work at this place, especially the management might as well work for a communist propaganda machine. The article about "tea party Debtors" is total bashing. Look at it this way editard and chief, being some of them have debt problems, maybe they know a little more than your rich foreign investors controlling your content. What is it like to totally go 180 from what you thought you were going to do in college? I hope your proud of selling out. I have as much respect for a CNN reporter as someone who works with the Taliban.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheldon Collins

      JohnnyOh, I won't belabor the point but the modern-day Tea Party does have something in common with the one of the past. Those original Tea Party individuals dressed up like my ancestors because they didn't have the courage to show their faces. I don't blame the first Tea Partiers so much because their deeds were fairly dangerous but this Tea Party should just have the courage (since they don't have to wear an mask to show their true motives...They believe the president to the United States should always be white because they know their god is.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. charles johnson

    Hello, screwthepoornow!!!Have you heard of the working poor? We have jobs that pay us almost nothing. We have mortgages just like the rich. We are already struggling and now some people may not get their social security. They may not be able to eat or pay for prescriptions. THEY ALSO WILL VOTE IN THE NEXT ELECTION!!!

    July 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnnyOh

      I have some sympathy but it isn't our fault you didn't put in the extra effort at school is it? Why should I be penalized when I worked my rear off and losers did nothing in school. That is how life works. You get what you put in it. I am talking in general, there are situations that put some people in a working poor predicament like health issues etc. so don't bash just trying to make a point.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • SerenityNow!

      Agreed Charles. I work in an environment of working poor with Masters degrees...Social Workers. They work very hard for others, have advanced degrees and make less than 35k per year. I love how the rich think their fancy educations and jobs make them better than others.

      July 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gaston

    For those who think it is all Obama's fault look at

    July 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Get the Facts Now

    Read the April 11 issue of Business Week which lists five of a number of strategies that you can use to pay NO TAXES !! The catch is that the laws have been written to prevent any middle class riff raff from using them. Its only for the wealthy. AND, the top tax on capital gains is only 15 per cent. How can the Republicans defend this??? The wealthy and those who make money off of stocks should pay the same rate of taxes as those who work for salaries.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaston

      I agree!!!!

      July 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. R U Serious

    In November 2004, it was reported that Osama bin Laden's goal was to force America into bankruptcy. His actions of 9/11 put the wheels in motion for US financial ruin.

    Our elected officials in Washington have now fulfilled his objective.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    USA Today has the facts on previous debt ceiling. Since 1960 the debt ceiling has been raised 49 times by Republicans and 29 times by Dems. This isn't something new. Raise it on a "clean" bill (Republicans are tying pet amendments to it) and then work together on a long term solution. Why is this a crisis? Oh, I forgot, Obama is in the White House and the Republicans will make everything a crisis to take the attention off of them. Just pay attention over the next year and watch and listen to all the "crises" that the Republicans create.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    Lets Go with a balance budget ammendment and if Obama won;t sigh it on debt ceiling increase

    July 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaston

      @ Bob ok I see your rich then that is why you show such hate to Obama?????

      July 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wyominguy

    @ Dean and others....I agree.. re Iraq yet here we are spending huge sums in Libya supporting a rebel group that fires off ammo in celebration faster than anyone can provide it to them. I guess every President has to have his war....and Congress should STOP IT now. Here they talk of cutting Medicare and Medicaid and yet they think nothing of supporting the Libyan nonsense. In my view our "government" is totally dysfunctional and we need strict Term Limits to clean it up.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Big Al

    Start your community movements, NOW! Vote each individual out of their offices. Offices held by our officials just want you to pay money so they can make more money. We need new people that can make decisions for our people not against our people. Raise the ceiling, cut taxes, cut govt, put the money into programs. Fire them all.

    July 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Richmond

      and add a clause, elected officials responsible for putting us in debt should NOT be eligible for re-election!

      July 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaston

      Good point about re-election but this started so many years ago some of them are dead....
      Look at
      Those who agree to borrow from social security should be obligated to pay some back... Those old congressmen are still in office...
      Need a law to get congress out of office after 5 years and no health insurance as it is with us when we loose or quit a job......

      July 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
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