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. nik green

    The privately owned Federal Reserve is THE problem. If the Fed was abolished, our debt problems could be solved. This is the ONLY way thats guaranteed. During the periods when the US has not has a central bank (such as the Fed), prosperity reigns. Whenever the US has had a central bank, strife is the rule.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. fjr

    Hey Obama – it's not about the timing. That's clearly what you are fixated on and said it in your short news conference. This isn't about coming back in six months or not. This isn't about "not raising taxes." This isn't about "raising the debt ceiling." This is about cutting the spending.You don't get it. The gov is too big and too expensive.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      This guy should run for president.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      Agreed !! I'd vote for "you" !!

      July 29, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Rush

      Yea...cause no American family EVER looks for a way to increase revenue (get a part-time job) when they are in debt...fool. You idiots who voted these Teahadists in are about to ruin the country.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Gaston

      Are you rich??? If so I understand your concern if not- Obama is working for you tooo.... Look it up!!!!

      July 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian Law

    If the government does not reach an agreement and the US starts to go belly up. I would guarantee that every person in the house, senate, congress and the presidency will not be relected next term. You put us out of jobs and we will put you out of a job.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Rush

      They are mostly millionaires...why would they care?

      July 29, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Powell

      They do not care they are rich and we are not it's time to change things in America. It is our DUTY to change corrupt government and establish new government WE ALL KNOW this government is corrupt and has not worked right in a long time. It's the same as having a old car that doesn't work if you have the ability you get a new car and we as Americans have the ability to change the way things are if we stop being lazy and stop hoping for the best and make things the best ourselves.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • ds

      Not only that but, add 26 million people, 65 and up not getting their S.S. checks + the millions of others not receiving Federal aid isn'nt going to be pretty either. Lots of people actually depend primarily on that for income..... the "bakery is going to burn"

      July 29, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Greg Wade

    Will Congress and their huge staffs continue to take their salaries, benefits? Will they continue their medical and retirements? Time to march on DC and literally take our govt back over.
    We pay all our lives into something and then it is stolen by the DC theives. There are no leaders, only thieves.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. hiawa23

    maybe they should cap senators & congress people salaries, or maybe they should pay more for their healthcare, depedn less on the taxpayer if we are belt tightening. Oh wait, what's good for you is not good for me metality.....

    July 29, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian Law

    Maybe the revolutions of the middle east need demonstrated in the western world. Rally washington by booting out the idiots.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. A. Gordon

    Republicans will never make any consessions that will take money out of the fat-cat pockets. They are still trying to sell us that tired old idea that keeping their pockets full will somehow translate to more jobs. We all know by now that is never happening. It seems that every level of government, from state to federal is looking to balance budgets on the backs of the middle class. We have been told everyone must sacrifice, but so far it's only those with the least to spare that are sacrificing. I hope the American public can see through the lies the Republicans are using to try to push through their cuts.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. general apathy

    As per David Stockton:a Republican, served as a U.S. representative from Michigan and as the director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985.
    The crisis lies in the debt, not the ceiling. Kicking the can with a six months' ceiling increase is the worst possible alternative because it allows the politicians of both parties to continue making the Big Fiscal Lie. The Republican "no tax increase" position is preposterous; we are collecting less than 15% of GDP in taxes, the lowest since 1950, and spending 24% of GDP.

    Finally, the $800 billion defense and security budget is a relic of the Cold War, which ended 20 years ago, and should be cut by $200 billion. We no longer have any industrial state enemies and we have been fired as the world policeman - so it is time to mothball some carrier battle groups, ground some air wings, drastically reduce our troop strength, end the futility of Afghanistan and stop buying multibillion high-tech weapons that we can't afford and don't need.
    In the meanwhile, both the Boehner plan and the Reid plan are just big numbers flimflam. Their 10-year discretionary caps can't be enforced and the debt crisis is right now. In the next two years, where it really counts, each would save only $60 billion, or 1%, of the baseline spending of $7.5 trillion. That's a pathetic joke.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tiser

    If the Tea Party causes the country to lose its AAA rating, and the American people suffer economic consequences, I'm wondering if people can go after them in some sort of Class Action lawsuit for damages. Especially if it can be proven they are financed by certain big corporations, it would be nice to include those businesses in the lawsuit, as well.

    When businesses or individuals cause damages to others, a lawsuit is the usual norm to settle losses.
    I want to see the Tea Party held responsible for the financial mess they have caused.
    Lawyers ???

    July 29, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. hiawa23

    trickle down hasn't worked. I like the argument of you can't tax those who create jobs. Well, if so where have they been since 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011,these so called job creaters. Seems like many have recovered so where are the jobs. I have come to the conclusion that many jobs are not coming back, & when I say jobs I mean jobs where you make enough to raise a family, maybe pay a mortgage, car note, not jobs like working part time at Walmart or working at Burger King. Sad, seems like many of the high paying jobs are not coming back, manufacturing, where are u & the only jobs of any significance will come from retail, like Walmart, Fast Food Restaurants, some of the lower paying jobs.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Goldie

    I believe that the Congressional Leaders should resign immediately and let our President take over. He's the only sane head in the bunch. If they worked in the real world, they would immediately be required to perform, resign or be fired. It's time. If they really have the morals they pontificate about, they will do the right thing and fade into the sunset. Why should be all suffer for their "egos"?

    July 29, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jay Horn

    Hope you enjoy Obama's Trickle Up Poverty policies.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Eddy

    Reading all the posts is giving me a headache. Everyone is blaming Bush, Obama, Rep. or Dem. The truth is, it doesn't matter who is at fault. Our politicians are too busy playing the blame game to worry about what really matters, fixing the mess we are currently facing. What's even better is they have the country just as divided as Washington is. I see merits from both sides of this arguement and believe that the fix comes from somewhere in the middle. What happened to putting people in DC that came from the same walks of life as the average american. Make no mistake, these people dragging us through the mud do not feel the same economic pain that "We The People" do. It is amazing that the small groups, from both sides of the isle (not just the Tea Party), can effectively shut down our country. Good job Congress. You should be proud.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • hiawa23

      I agree, stop the blame game, & come together & fix this mess or we all will suffer, rich poor, black, white, brown, Repub, Dem, Inde, we all are going to suffer.

      July 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Johnmac

    How about we IMPEACH EVERYONE in the Legislative and Executive branches of the Federal government?? Not possible, but that would solve this assinine behaviour of ALL OF THESE CLOWNS,

    July 29, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. away with tea party

    The current leadership in D.C. Is an embarrassment to our country. Also the tea party don't mount to a hill of beans. Throw them out in the trash.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
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