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. Griffith

    A disabled person:
    Don't blame Obama. Blame the idiots who won't play nicely together in the sandbox. And tell a family member to get a job and help out, for God's sake!

    July 29, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Holmes

      Griffith ! ! Your a Hypocrite, Moron, Idiot, Imbecile, Ignoramus and you NO Nothing about Government ! !

      July 29, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • hotdog 13

      Did you know 65 million Americans of tax paying age did not pay any taxes this year. If each of them paid just 8.33 a month, that would have raised 6.5 trillion dollars. It is not the rich, it is the middle to low income that need to pay just a little to help the rest of us out.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      @hotdog13 oh really?
      Would you mind linking us that BS that you just made up?

      July 29, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • snoopdoggydog

      Don't blame President Obama? He ran on change, and change we got, bigger govt bigger debt and the one thing he failed to change was the thing he preached the biggest, quit playing politics. He is the worst President since Jimmy Carter. And may surpass him. I respect the office of the President of the US. I just feel he has failed the people and our great country. He has led us to the greatest disaster this country has faced since WW II.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • hotdog13

      go to CNN, look up the report from May 2011. go to IRS and look up the stats. it is there. I quote facts that I can prove.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • hotdog13

      Here is a report on the subject: Yes, 47% of Households Owe No Taxes. Look Closer. This report is from the NY TImes. Credible???

      go to:

      July 30, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. Black Ops 4302 Gamer Nerd Alert

    Yes both parties are wretched.. We need a 3rd party primary that can remove the far left/right stranglehold that has not yet yielded the promised results. If it hasn't worked by now then it needs to change. The sound minded independents are getting tired of choosing which pile of horse dung we are going to have to smell for 4-8 years.. Flies are starting to gather.

    July 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jared Griffith

    Well, since the Tea Party was voted in on the premise that they would create jobs, and very few have materialized, I'd say that they flat out were full of sh!it, wouldn't you say? And since there are no jobs, since there isn't any revenue coming in from that route, what's the answer? What? You say that you don't have the answer besides being the wailing banshee of gloom and doom about all things conspiracy? Then you're part of the problem, aren't you? How many people do YOU employ? None? I thought so.

    July 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      Amen! The tea party is full of BS! All they want to do is further their extremist ideology and run this country to the ground! Get them out!

      July 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter pan

      Once again, you don't know jack. The tea party was swept in by the people to cut the size of govt. It was by the will of the people they gained a voice that the people want smaller govt, not bigger.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fast eddie

    First this. Boy, the first party to get a plan passed will get my vote. And whoever that is, I will do everything in my power to make sure the losing party doesn't get re-elected next year. Dems and Repubs...your jobs are on the line. 1 party or the other will be remembered for getting this done and the other will fade away. And please don't remind us again how many times the debt ceiling was raised under Reagan. We are not stupid!

    July 29, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    The Tea Party has become the U.S. political equivalent of Al Qaida. Do it our way or we'll blow the country up is their mantra.

    July 29, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Smith

      Thank God for the Tea Party! They are the only one's that can save this country!

      July 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      James, that's up there with the most short sighted posts I've ever seen on CNN. And I am not a Tea Party person.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Carlos Arroyo

    So, the money that comes in from social security is being used for what? I don't get it. I know when i worked and contributed to ss the money was used to pay the retirees. What is the story. Someone please explain and thank you.

    July 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • hotdog13

      The money you and all of us pay in the so-called SS tax goes into the general operating fund of the govt. They spend it. They never save your money for you when you retire. They use yours today and will tax someone tomorrow to pay you. Best answer is to start your own retirement plan, save and you won't have to rely on the govt when you are old. Hope this helps.

      July 30, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. ZweiStein

    Oh "cave" already and save us all the BS and dramatics.

    July 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Merlin

    Who's to blame? Well, let's see...Congress has known we have a debt problem for how long? A week? No. A month? No. A year? Wrong again. Many years, so my question is: How do we hold these folks we all elected accountable for their INACTION? The elected political geniuses harumphing and courting their special interests spent our money and apparently approved it. They had to know it was all going to stop at somebody's doorstep one day, so what do they do? Wait until the last minute, so they can point the finger at whoever "clogs up the works". No, that is unacceptable. YOU ALL GET A FAILING GRADE FOR THIS WASTE OF THE PEOPLE'S TIME AND MONEY AND WE AREN'T FOOLED BY YOUR LAST MINUTE TACTICS. Should have thought about this and done something long ago. The people should now take over and I hope you are all thrown out on your ears with NO BENEFITS.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark Reed

    The US Congress has failed to fulfill one of it's primary responsibilities. They should hear a clear message – let the US default, and the voters will oust each and every single member of Congress, regardless of party. Yes, even the ones you like or supported. The message should be clear – you were on watch when this happened,
    and now you're fired.,

    July 29, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tim Smith

    Harry Reid should be imprisoned and executed for his treasonous behavior!

    July 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • WiserThanEwe

      Harry Reid will be the savior. He is the shining light of reason amid the dark hearts of the tea party crazies.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      Yea... Reid isn't part of the crazy group of tea partiers that are holding our nation captive!!
      This could have been fixed months ago but the stupid pledges that tea partiers and republicans have made have worsened this mess and sent us into last minute turmoil. The stocks already have had their worst week since 2009! A big ___ to the tea partiers! You're ruining our country!

      July 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Am I a Democrat?

    I grew up in a democrat family and always thought I was a democrat until recently. After listening to radio talk show hosts over the years, I have realized that the lies and deceit that come from Obama, Pelosi and Reed are truly treasonous and they should be put on trial for their crimes against this country. They have attempted to destroy our country by burdening us with more debt than any other administration in history and it's time to stop this hostile takeover. FDR must be rolling over in his grave! This is not your Grandfather's democratic party!

    July 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • WiserThanEwe

      Welcome to the cult! Glad your mind was weak enough to be overpowered by the corporate brainwashing maching. Praise Rush! Praise Glen! Away, vile rationality! Begone, honor!

      July 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      You realize that all this debt was inherited from Bush's war on terror right? you are such a moron...

      July 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pickels

    I think we should let Sarah Palin decide what we should do.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    It's too bad they Republicans don't have Nixon now. He could use his "dirty tricks" to sabotage the Democrats. Oh, pardon me, I am not a crook.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike Hunt


    Also, the jerk that rags on you can't even spell, take no offense. He is also 'projecting', a term used in psychology that they probably have never heard of.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jared Griffith

    John Holmes:
    And you don't know how to spell 'know', and I have said nothing that wasn't true. Please do us all a favor and shut up.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
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