Debt debate: Where things stand
The debt ceiling plan proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was rejected by the GOP-controlled House on Saturday.
July 31st, 2011
10:09 AM ET

Debt debate: Where things stand

Sunday morning there was news that there could be a deal struck on the fight over the debt ceiling, which is nearing a deadline on August 2.

But without any final plan, the fierce tug-of-war between Democrats and the GOP over whether to raise the government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling continues.

If the debt ceiling isn't raised, many, including President Barack Obama and the Treasury Department, warn that the country will risk unprecedented default. That default could cause Americans to face rising interest rates. It could also mean that the value of the U.S. dollar would drop compared to other currencies. As interest rates increase, the cost of borrowing rises, so individual mortgages, car loans and student loans could become significantly more expensive. As individual Americans' personal finances take a possible hit, some financial experts have warned that America's AAA credit rating could also be downgraded, threatening an already drooping stock market.

Obama recently indicated he can't guarantee Social Security checks will be mailed out on time if the debt ceiling is not raised. Other critical government programs could be in jeopardy as well. Several CNN iReporters have weighed in on how the debt ceiling issue is affecting their lives. Here are a few answers to the big "What Ifs" of the debt debate compiled by Reuters, and linked out from CNN's Political Ticker and Candy's Crowley's Sunday show "State of the Union".

So where does America go from here? What lies ahead today and for the week?


The GOP-controlled House on Saturday rejected the debt ceiling plan proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. The plan was rejected 173-246; a two-thirds majority was required for passage. Most Democrats supported Reid's plan, while every Republican in the chamber rejected it. On Friday, the House passed a proposal put forward by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that seeks to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending while requiring that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 218-210 vote was strictly on party lines. The Senate then voted 59-41 to table Reid's bill, effectively killing it.

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 then 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.


Late Saturday night, Reid announced a 12-hour delay on a key procedural vote on his debt ceiling proposal. The vote to end debate and break a GOP filibuster will now be held at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, as opposed to 1 a.m. Forty-three of 47 Senate Republicans signed a letter to Reid Saturday warning that they would not vote for his proposal as currently constituted.

Reid's plan would reduce federal deficits over the next decade by $2.4 trillion while raising the debt ceiling by a similar amount - meeting the GOP's demand that total savings should at least equal any total debt ceiling hike. Roughly $1 trillion of the savings is 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. In addition, it incorporates a process proposed by McConnell that would give Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling in two steps while providing Congress the opportunity to vote its disapproval.


On Saturday at the White House, Obama met with Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

The president has endorsed Reid's plan and threatened to veto Boehner's plan. Obama strongly opposes any bill that doesn't raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election. He 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 • Economy • John Boehner • Politics
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. 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 10:18 am | Report abuse |

    @Teresa Munoz
    I AGREE.. if there is suppose to be a separation of church and state.. why do they have the weekend off and holidays? they should have wed-thur off... and have to work x-mas

    July 31, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. rose grows

    It's not THE WHITE HOUSE.. it's the stupid puppets in the HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES. And yes, the debt has increased because WE SPEND TRILLIONS on the MILITARY since Bush started these insane wars which DO NOT ACCOMPLISH THE MISSION THE PROPAGANDA SAYS THEY ARE FOR... TRILLIONS! Which have not made the world more safe or sane. TRILLIONS!!!! To bomb and murder TENS OF THOUSANDS of INNOCENTS! And the Tea party says the poor people in America should pay for this? More people in the lower income brackets wind up in front line dangerous positions than any other income group. The poor have ALREADY PAID. I have never been so ashamed to be an American

    July 31, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Easy Tartar

      You say interesting things. I approach the seventh decade of my life and the present crisis totally baffles me. I find that as the country nears an abyss full of unknowns – all bad – I am perplexed over the levity shown by the media in reporting it and the complete discombobulated manner in which the details are being explained by the political parties and their pundits. I can’t believe for the life of me that “reason” and “fairness” has completely departed the so called negotiating landscape – our whole political system has failed for the want of what once was the bedrock character of our nation – the intense and committed will to do things right for the people by the people. That is all of us, not just the 1% of the very rich and powerful composed of protected families and the indiscernible face of corporations and fund-raising groups who are conveniently unaccountable to any of us – and this was made law by the very Supreme Court that was formed on the blood of the founding citizens to keep justice blind beholding to the laws of the land and not a callous agent of those very avaricious qualities that drove them from their homelands. The quest for honor, freedom, and fairness under law made the decision for the exodus of the founding settlers a permanent one. And now all of those illuminating and incredibly beautiful reasons to seek freedom and build a nation upon them have vanished into a modern class struggle dominated by greed, enabled by the acceptance of corruption, and embolden by vast sums of treasure cleverly manipulated to an elite few out of the general society by a dysfunctional political process working in concert with the Nation’s failure in values and ethical practice. And all of this is masked in a loud and vicious storm of ideological differences many of which deny any substantive proof short of bellowing-out by video, eMail, and voice that flood of biased proclamations spirited with half-truths and innuendo but all clenched in expounding senseless hatred and fears. The rich and powerful individuals and groups generously fund this effort because they need this chaos to continue to disguise the absolute core reason why all of this is going down at this time in our history. A handful of rich and powerful interests have mustered radical supporters who are blind to the truths of the situation and the motives of the mentors, so they, like the recruits al Qaeda drawn from the impoverished populations who come motivated by their intense desire to serve ideological causes by strapping on bomb-filled vests and blowing themselves up taking as many or whoever with them. Who they kill or what damage they do to their own society or families has all been carefully erased in the fervor of the ideology. Call it Islam or radical Republican conservatism, or fundamentalism in any form or anything else – it’s all the same and the blood of innocent people, old and young are at stake and in fact have to be offered up by the thousands in order that the charade of the ideology playing out keeps the munchkin’s being baffled happy. This behavior of man, to me, is the most insulting quality of the human character and I believe that Jesus and all the Prophets tried hard in Their teachings to rid us of it – all to no avail evidently.

      So what on earth is this central reason driving the radical political right – what do they want. We have been fed with a convenient almost-the-reason and true in its basic form, that is to destroy the Obama Administration and if you read the radical writings you can see it has launched a flowering wave of hatred against our black President and we can’t forget his family which is the most gloomy testament to the dysfunction of this conservative evolving society of ours. “Hell no” there will never be a compromise from the right, “hell no” it is their way or the highway in full resistance to a government that was dedicated to solving the plight of the general population first, and on top of all that the inexperienced performance of the new Administration made the aggressive Republicans look more like the emotional response to problems that have been idealized as the way American’s get things done. So all of this is playing out but wait – there is still no desire to get something done – the goal is to crash the country, destroy the Presidency – and then the only winner’s in this are the extreme rich who can take billions in losses but retain the power and the control – we have actually gone beyond “1984” in a fortnight.

      As I said before the series of “Die Hard” movies – there is a real important message as each new movie begins with a storm of ideological based terror that destroys whole cities and there is never a way to stop them except for the miracle works of Officer John McClane (NYPD of course) – and in the end we get the message face on – it was not an exercise in ideological terrorism and violence – as every movie had one central theme – IT WAS A SIMPLE HEIST. A simple bank robbery, but the banks got bigger and bigger with each sequel. Hell, the next one may account for the present situation and the next bank will be the whole of the USA wealth. Like it or not, the Republican Party with is Tea Party suicide squads are out to destroy our government and take the country’s wealth in the biggest HEIST of recorded history – but not for themselves – for their masters and then they will serve unfortunately like those Jews who worked for the Nazi’s in the camps – still victims of the holocaust but acting out of varied reasons to stay alive always chasing false hope. Well the false hope of the Boehner or Ryan Plan my over-shadow the confusion in the Democratic ideas – but in all cases – fairness is out the window, the priorities go to the very rich and powerful, and we as citizens loose. It is nothing more than that – a simple but totally final HEIST of what was once the 300 million people of the USA. We have been “had” folks because there is nobody or any process left that can stop this, John McClane was fictional and “doomed” is a good word, and we seniors may live our lives out with little real change, but wait a few decades, maybe only years, if the country gets that far. So if you can’t immediately connect with Eric Cantor or Karl Rove and get an excited personal answer in the manner Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin received what he thought was David Koch’s call, than forget it. You are just a victim and no matter what political party you thought you voted in favor with, you are, like me, one of the biggest fools in history. So much for being an American.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Atl-Fireman

      Good Point.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |

    we need to hike the taxes on the wealthy.. that way we can live ghetto fabulous..

    July 31, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Mendemoi

      You are clearly a Dummy with a very narrow mindset that can only take in simple one liners from Republicans. Go suck more dollars from EXXON and live happy while everyone else die off around you...Selfish newt

      July 31, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mendemoi

    Its unbelievable what Republicans can do to our country to win elections. They can sell the soul of America for money and votes. We have seen that in their support of their corporate buddies who laid off their fellow American citizens and sent our industries and jobs to China and India for cheap child labor and profit.

    Is that the action of true patriots or sellouts? Here they are now doing everything to disgrace our great country just so that they can win in 2012...unbelievably unpatriotic

    July 31, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Easy Tartar

      I can not understand WHY the Republicans are so "locked-stepped" loyal and beholding to the very rich and the large contributing lobbying and PAC organizations with no exceptions – with this said the only reasonable conclusion isthat they are in fact BOUGHT hock-stock-and-barrel, right to the sore they are BOUGHT. Then in that mindset we have to recognize what Hollywood has always shown us in their classic "idiological terror" movies like the "Die Hard" series – sorry folks it is just a HEIST. And in this one it encompasses the largest one in history – the whole of the US wealth. So here we go suckers, stand bye and watch them runaway with the Gold and Glen Beck may be outy there somewhere greating them.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Allan

      @East Tartar: The answer is that the last thing that the right wing of the Republican wants to see is a successful black Democratic president. The party of "no" is sliding towards tea party bigotry. It will only get worse; wait until the election campaign starts for real...

      July 31, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Easy Tartar

      Allan your point is well taken – and I am (was) a Republican working in the Congress, the change to vicious bigot thinking and expression after the election was overwhelming and quite surprising to me and I thought I had been around. With this came the abrupt dismissal of what used to be on the surfac aome form of ethical behavior – now the Republicans were at war with the new Black President and that was that – and the financial machines and PAC's fell in line although over time it was abvious that they were ahead of the Members already. So I would suggest, as you, that the President final recognize that the Republicans don't just dislike him, they hate him more then any enemy to the US or enough to place the welfare of the whole country at risk. For a Black President to survive in history without a disaster to ruin his name the Republican organization can not sleep at night. It is total war and the President must come to grips with that. His decency is unique in Washington, and the Republicans who lack in every sense strive to bait him and embarass him at every turn. In this Fox and Talk Radio plays a big role to extend the slurs and inudenos. It is tragic – so now will he simply go it alone and believe me, and I think you agree, the American people will support him fully even if we have to surround the White House with thousands just to make the point. He must act on his own with the powers provided him.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Oscar

    And the Oscar goes to Presadent Obama for Best Actor, He learns quick. Every year this happens and the public gets mad. Wonder what would happen if we ignored them. they always raise the ceiling at the 11th hr folks, you all know this! stop worrying.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cynthia

    Our political leaders lost their hearts decades ago and now seem to have lost their brains too. We are being governed by testosterone motivated decision making – win without regard for the collateral damage. I guess this is the future of the US – bullies in schools, bullies in corporations, bullies in the military, bullies in government. Very sad.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO )

    Lets all of us get foriegn penpals, and start paying back their prospective governments "directly" out of "our own wallets", and bypass the middleman.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Allan Geier

    I have only one question for all legislative & executive elected Public Servants who all pledged an oath of servitude to the American People when they were elected as we We are now facing this long-overdue day of reckoning now squarely in the global spotlight.

    Can You honestly say that you have objectively and humbly, searched deeply in you soul without predetermined bias and ACTED (we have had quite enough of rhetoric) to uphold your duty of service to all Americans in a sincere and meaningful spirit of co-operation to finally deliver Good & Fiscally Responsible Government (long missing for too many decades) that also ensures we have a Just, Fair and Compassionate Society?

    We the Citizens are watching closing with great hope, but unfortunately also with deep skepticism and fear following too many years of hollow rhetoric and self-serving highly politicized actions that have resulted in severe adverse consequences for Americans today and generations to come ... for which You have not beared proportionately.


    July 31, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. One Love

    For those of you who can, please go to the home page and click on the "Do you speak Christian" , It's at the top of the page. I wonder why they didn't make this one of the threads here, woulda been a good debate. Ya know?

    July 31, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzzzzzzz

    Queenie , where are you? ....come on lets get this party STARED ....Weeeeeeeeeeeeee

    July 31, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Concerned

    PIMPS all of them PIMPS. They're all in on it together, vote em all out then refuse to vote for any govt official that wont work for free. They all should hold a job along with thier elected positions.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cynthia

    Why doesn't anyone point out that tax breaks to corporations results in job losses in the US and new jobs (high paying jobs) in other countries. These corporations are NOT putting their record breaking profits back into the US economy – they are investing it overseas. Continuing to ignore we have an income crisis is a downward spiral to the quality of life and all that made the US the country of opportunity.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzzzzzzz

    All they do all day long is sit on their A22es and flap their gums like the *PIN-HEADS* they are!

    July 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |

    why not sell alaska back to russia?

    July 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
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