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. tmsanst

    I am sick and tired of watching my government spend money like it's water. I am being asked to tighten my belt and cut down on my spending yet our government doesn't do the same. I look at it this way. We are a young adult who has spent all the money on our credit card and now we can't pay the bills. We call up the credit card company and say I would like to extend my credit limit. They will look and see that we haven't done anything to curb our spending or pay down the debt we owe so they will deny us a credit limit increase. If we start making changes to that and we actually spend down some of our debt then maybe we can get that increase. This is what both sides of our government needs to look at. We may need to increase taxes a bit, but at the same point in time we can't continue spending like this otherwise we will be doing this all over again in a few years. I will leave with this.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein

    July 30, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnMaynardKeynes

      Sir, what you do in a recession and what a government should do are two entirely different things. During recessionary times, you want your government to spend to help smooth the economy. Where your country blew it was by not continuing to run surpluses during the good times. During boom years, governments should save to pay for previous recessions or to prepare for the next one. Instead, the U.S. cut taxes and started wars and ran deficits. This approach is incorrect. I am beginning to feel that your conservative party members in the U.S. have no understanding of economics and that is troubling.

      July 30, 2011 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest comment

      I am so tired of people talking about "my creditcard" and Government spending. What we as citizens have to do/act can't be "transferred" to how Governmenet should act.

      Yeah, we all agree that public spending has to come down sooner rather than later, but Government actually should spend more money in dire times. Even if it has to borrow it. That however does not necessarily mean that Government as to grow, as money should be "put into" the economy and preferably for infrastructure investments like roads, etc.

      Anyway, please stop weining about "why do I have to pay my bill when Government doesn't". There is no comparison!!!

      July 30, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Milrod

    Government must be like the rest of within your means. All Americans should pay some tax to have a "stake" in the game, not just 50% of us.

    July 30, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. southside

    @milrod..."the gov't must be like the rest of us and live within your means", really. Have you read any statistic in the last 20 years that says most of us live within our means? The US average savings rate was negative (spend more than we earn) for the longest time and only within the last couple of years is that number now 0-2%. No wonder they can't control spending or keep handing out unfunded tax cuts, which both have the same net effect on the country's balance sheet. The guys in Washington are just a microcosm of the majority.

    July 30, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. nc

    they dont care,they dont worry about where there next meal will come from,people who are disabled depend on those checks,and there s.s.,this is stupid

    July 30, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • stork

      The point is THEY do care. If the conservatives do not STOP the insane spending these people in need of help will not have anything. You cannot BORROW 40+ cents of every dollar you spend and not destroy AMERICA. If you want things to stay the same, the poor will have nothing in a few years and our grandchildren will be slaves to the Chinese. YOUR grandchildren will say "Why did YOU destroy OUR future?????!!!"

      July 30, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tony T

    Obama is a fool....with all WHAT IS GOING ON with our economy and the debt he is making a mileage announcent with the Big 3 for something that is going to start taking place in 2017....hey' Obama let's focus on what is happeing now not 5 years from now. O' by the way, other than spening more of my money on those "SHOVEL READY PROJECTS", wasted and phony SOCIAL PROGRAMS where is your budget/economic plan???? Save editorCancel

    July 30, 2011 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • GTH888

      Don't worry, your Republican leaders are making damn sure that you will be using some of those "phony social programs" really soon.

      July 30, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Donald in CA

    The tea party has ruined the country and they are happy about. These FOOLS are running the republican party, if there still is a republican party. The world is watching and laughing at america. All of this is really because these right wing racist cant stand having a black president. They want to re-fight the civil war.

    July 30, 2011 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • stork

      RUINED?????? We did not spend the money!!! All we ask is to not spend money we do not have. Why is it extreme to to try to live within ones means? In California you will soon go backrupt and then ask the rest of the conservative state to bail you out. Civil war???? get of this race card crap. I have been to may Tea Party events and have NEVER heard one racist thing....PS I am black, conservative, hard working and educated.

      July 30, 2011 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I couldn't agree more. As they stated when he became pres. And karl rove states often. We must make sure he fails. I was friends with one of the tea baggers. After a few beers one night the truth came out, racist pig is no longer a friend of mine. He actually said he would rather see the entire country fail "maybe people would realize a black man should never have the job and they will never vote for another one". Sickening but a lot of people feel that way.

      July 30, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      They aren't laughing at us... they are afraid...

      July 30, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • I hate californians

      @ Donny are you insane the tea party was just created in the last few yesrs they arent the problem they are the solution.

      July 30, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • GTH888

      my fellow american stork, just because someone screams lies at the top of their lungs, it doesn't make it true. unfortunately, thats what the republican thugs have been doing. and now coming to your "spending" issue. one of the major contributors to the debt is the damn war in iraq which is completely a personal war of dubya. weapons of mass destruction? destroyed a completely stable country and created chaos, and with what? borrowed money. and trying to "reconstruct" it on borrowed money using overpriced services from cheneys friends like haliburton. and now crying foul on obama, who's actually made real progress toward ending these wars.

      July 30, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. IanJuper

    I think some of the House Republican leaders beside endeavor for power,glory and wealth ,are having some mental problem as well.Very sad,that these people are representing us and manipulating our lives ? !

    July 30, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scott from Eric Cantors District

    We need to stop mixing the message. Raising the debt ceiling does nothing but approve the government to make payments on our back bills. We are obligated to do that. This does NOT approve more spending. The debts we are paying off are largely President Bush's bills for two wars that were not budgeted, and could not be paid for because he cut taxes. So... we ran up bills and put them on the Beijing credit card. Yes, Obama (with Republican support) did the stimulus plan that increased the debt. But without putting those dollars into the economy we'd be stuck in a depression. He had no choice. The problem is the tax cuts that don't give enough revenue to pay the back bills. We need to pay them off and them be more responsible down the road. Don't blame Obama for this mess. Blame greed.

    July 30, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. Scott from Eric Cantors District

    By the way, I will never again vote for Eric Cantor. He's an obstructionist and embarrassment.

    July 30, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shibu m l

    Let me go back a few years:

    1. It was a REPUBLICAN majority that gave one of the largest tax breaks to the wealthiest of Americans back under president Bush under the pretext that it will lead to job creation. Well my fellow Americans you have been DECEIVED, it turned out the wealthy do not care about America as much as they do about their money, so they built their industries in China!

    2. It was REPUBLICANS who started an Iraq war under the pretense of WMDs. Well my fellow Americans you have been DECEIVED, it turnes out Sadddam did not have WMDs. How many Trillons went in that drain?

    3. It was REPUBLICANS who spearheaded (although in this thing the Democrats are not far behind) the opening up and deregulation of the financial markets under the pretense it will foster business growth. Well my fellow Americans you have been DECEIVED, it turnes out wall street is not made up of angels who would "self-regulate" as our leaders told us. They robbed YOU my fellow Americans even with out stepping inside your homes or bankes.

    Now the extreme right wing of the REPUBLICAN party called "TEA PARTY" have highjacked a common procedural vote that would give the Government the ability to pay the bills. The bills that have already been committed by the House and Senate. The ramifications of this is historical. It will result in the downgrade of American credit rating for the first time in history. Jeopardize the position of the Dollar as the reserve currency of the world. Bring down our whole economic system, arguably of the whole world to a certain extend. But these LUNATICS do not seem to care. Well why would they there is "no tax increase", right?

    I Agree with one thing they are saying and that is "they are just doing what they were send here to do". In other words America deserves this because it asked for it by electing these LUNATICS. So my fellow Americans the next time you go to the ballot box think carefully before you press the button. You might get even more than what you asked for 🙂

    July 30, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Garry

      You and Reid and Pelosi and your type are exactly what is worng with America. Go Tea Party. Goodbye Socialists.

      July 30, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • dave76

      I don't think the 2012 elections can help us now. What we need is true intervention from regular americans now. If DC has to look like 1969 again with daily large scale protests, so be it. The congress has ignored its duty and americans will remind them on who really is in charge. Just like Rome the mob is the real power.

      July 30, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Quadsmom

      I don't know who you are but I couldn't have said it better myself. You summarized the situation perfectly!!! Let's hope the deception changes and Americans wake up.

      July 30, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. another statistic

    Why don't we fire our government and start over?

    July 30, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. R. U. Crazee

    You've got to be kidding me. Blame everything from the past? Houston, we've got a problem. Fix it. The democrats are in complete control of passing something. If they don't, they are hosing America. Quit jacking us around and pass a bill to reduce spending. No one wants more taxes, period. How many of you in Congress took a business class in college or better yet, how many passed? If you don't fix this, look for another job, only thing, who would hire you after tanking the government? FIX IT!

    July 30, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • GTH888

      the question is, are u crazy? u dont have to take a business class to realize that the "tax increases" the repubs are whining about are nothing but the loopholes the large corps have been manipulating to evade taxes. GE for example, paid $0 in taxes this year, after a reported $15 billion in profits, 6 of which were from operations in US. if the fact that you might have paid more taxes than GE doesn't knock some sense into you, i don't know what will

      July 30, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Melissa


    July 30, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. MaryandBillH

    This blame game is getting real tiresome. Both parties continue to talk without really saying anything substantial. Simply put, if the government defaults.....Washingtons so called leaders should be the first to go without their salary. Maybe even consider cutting or eliminating their health benefits. Somewhere these people have forgotten they were put in washington to serve as public servants. Can't they act like responsible adults and simply do what's right for the country and not themselves. Maybe they should think about bringing former President Clinton in to moderate thes negotations.

    July 30, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Indiana Girl

      Thank you for what has been needed to said all along. If our American citizens can not be provided with our benefits that have been earned why should we allow our elected officials who are "working for the people" still get paid. Let's see how long they would really care about the people when they are losing out as well.
      We have been operating without funds since May and are still paying our bills. This is a new problem that just arose out of the blue. Regan raised the debt ceiling 27 times while in office and the Tea Party fools need to get with the program. This isn't a division of Repulicans and Democrats, it is a division of Repulicans and the Tea Party. Do we really need a third party out here????

      July 30, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. John

    What this country needs is a third party of moderate Republicans AND Democrates that CAN work together for the good of the people. What we are heading for now is total anarchy driven by a need to win every election at all costs. It's a totally absurd way to run a government.

    July 30, 2011 at 9:26 am | 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