Senate Leaders Step In to Beat Debt Limit Clock

  • Share
  • Read Later
Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on October 12, 2013 in Washington, DC.

The adults may have finally entered the room, five days before the debt-limit deadline that could trigger economic catastrophe.

While House Republicans held a pep rally in the basement of the Capitol on Saturday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined Majority Leader Harry Reid in his office, starting the negotiation process that will reopen the government and avert a U.S. default. The senior Democratic senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, and the senior Republican senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, were also in the room.

Saturday’s meeting, the first of significance between McConnell and Reid since the summer recess, signals a softening in the fierce impasse that has permeated the halls of Congress. Senators said Saturday that they will be the ones to lead the country back to the path of fiscal responsibility.

“At this point they have dealt themselves out of this process,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of the House. “They cannot agree among themselves. That makes it extremely difficult to take them seriously. ”

“I think that it’s time,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). “The House hasn’t come forward with a plan today.” She added, “If there is a way that the Senate can come forth with something that opens up the government and addresses the debt ceiling in a responsible way, then obviously we should try to do it.”

The Senate, where a supermajority of 60 is required for most votes, has also been in a state of deadlock as of late, even if not on the same level as the House. The Senate failed Saturday to pass a Democratic bill that would raise the debt ceiling through 2014 without any spending cuts or changes to Obamacare.

The most detailed proposal offered by Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), has little support in the House or Senate. That plan would extend the debt ceiling through January, continue funding the government at sequester levels for six months, and allow more flexibility in administering the federal budget cuts under sequestration. The plan, which hasn’t been scheduled for a floor vote, would delay the Obamacare medical device tax for two years and require income verification for Americans seeking subsidies for Obamacare.

House Republicans believe that the proposal is a move to block them from the bargaining table, and House Speaker John Boehner has advocated for just a six-week debt limit extension. Senate Democrats also widely decried the Collins plan, saying that the spending level is too low, among other major concerns.

“There’s all kind of ad hoc conversations taking place,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). “The real conversation that matters now is the one taking place between McConnell and Reid.”

“There are people that have different proposals floating around,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “There are probably four or five of those, but the proposal that will get the leadership of the House and the Senate and the President is not out there at this time.”

163 comments
j45ashton
j45ashton

On Oct 1, the House Rules Committee with a GOP majority voted to change standing House Rule XXII Clause 4, which states: “When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged.”

This standing rule would have allow any representative to bring to the house floor a vote on a clean CR, stripped of amendments.  The shutdown would be over by now.  The rule was changed authorizing only the House Majority leader (Eric Cantor now) to allow such motions.

Tell me this isn't a GOP shutdown.

I have only one question.  Why the bloody hell aren't the media covering this up and down?

drudown
drudown

"The Senate failed Saturday to pass a Democratic bill that would raise the debt ceiling through 2014 without any spending cuts or changes to Obamacare."

Huh?

How is the Senate not under an affirmative legal obligation to do so when the foreseeability of harm to the People and United States is upon is? It is speculative. This is YOUR job.


Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

"... the debt accelerated during Bush's last two budget years. Obama's debt is a continuation of that trend and neither Bush nor Obama are directly responsible for that acceleration. It happened because of the recession. Bush set the all-time record by increasing the debt by $1.1 trillion in 100 days between July 30 and Nov 9, 2008—but that had little to do with his choices.

Recessions cut tax revenues—in this case, dramatically. That accounts for nearly half of the deficit. So blaming Obama for the full deficit is like blaming him for not raising the tax rate to keep tax revenues up. Most of the increased spending is automatic increases in unemployment benefits, food stamps, and social security payments for early retirement. Very little of it is from stimulus spending, and that's over."

notsacredh
notsacredh

More outside work to do before it gets dark.

j45ashton
j45ashton

 Here's a chart of the national debt:  http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

As you can see, previously the sharpest increases came within the Reagan-Bush admins and the GW Bush admins.  From Oct 1, 2008 to Jan 20, 2009, the 2009 budget spending was set under GW Bush.  So he gets a big chunk of 2009, too.  However, since then Obama admin spending has been around the same levels, slightly higher. 

Take a look at the relative increase in spending during WWII.  It's often said WWII ended the Great Depression.  Not the fighting itself obviously, but the gov't spending.  Observe the incredible relative level of spending needed to pull us out of the depression.

We're already spending a lot now & things are getting better slowly.  But what are the major differences between now and the post-WWII period....because you can see that right after WWII, the national debt started coming down quite rapidly.

We had social security back then but fewer people on it.  We didn't have Medicare.  Ok, but we also have people paying medicare tax and more people paying into social security.  For social security, one important difference is that people are living longer.  So maybe the age limit should be raised a bit.  There's probably room for compromise there.  And they say that doctors order too many tests that get billed to Medicare.  So there have been suggestions made that doctors be compensated by results, not by the number of visits & tests they order.  So room for compromise there.

As to revenue, just take a look for yourself: http://taxfoundation.org/article/us-federal-individual-income-tax-rates-history-1913-2013-nominal-and-inflation-adjusted-brackets

From 1945 to the early 60s, the rates went up to over 90%.  From the early 60s to the early 80s, they went up to 70%.

In the early 80s under Reagan, they went up to 50%.  You'll note that's when the national debt started to take off.

The high end of our personal income rates are at near historic lows now and have been ever since Reagan took over.  So for over 30 years high income earners haven't paid in nearly what they used to and that is one of the single most important factors in why the debt has grown.  Remember until recently, there haven't been any cutoffs.  So now everything up to $400K is taxed at around 36% instead of 39%.

And we know that tax loopholes for the very rich still abound..  

According to Republican lore, all this tax cutting is supposed to lead to prosperity for everyone.  Well, it hasn't.  Relative to inflation, middle class income hasn't moved much in 30 years.  What has grown are the coffers of the wealthy.  93% of the nation's wealth is now owned by the wealthiest 20%.  37% of this amount is owned by the wealthiest 1%.  This is why the debt has grown.  This represents one of the biggest parts of our debt problem.



barneydidit
barneydidit

It doesn't seem that long ago that one could read an article like this, post a comment that points out one or more blatant fatal flaws in the conservative argument, and promptly be engaged in some wicked "debate" with a slew of conservatives using the latest Fox News talking points to refute your claims. Anymore it seems as if even the most die hard conservatives are unable to muster the energy to defend the Tea Party's ridiculous attempts to "get their country back".  

Either that or they're currently all busy going back through their previous game plans, desperately hoping to wring one more faux scandal out of "Benghazi", or "Solyndra" or "operation fast and furious"...you know...all of those issues that at one time or another were going to be Obama's Watergate.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Gotta go. I have to clean the leaves out of my gutters. Damn Obama!!

j45ashton
j45ashton

I have to laugh at these tea party types who talk solemnly about the need to balance the budget as if they're all mid-westerner grannies who adhere to the responsible, frugal ways of their grandparents.  This is just a smokescreen.  What these people are really about is feeling that paying taxes threatens their lifestyle (because they're close to living beyond their means themselves) and they feel that all social programs are just designed to benefit blacks.

drudown
drudown

Er, it is NOT speculative. Nor is the LAW which the GOP Speaker is flippantly disregarding. Is there nobody in the Senate who even knows the law?

ahandout
ahandout

@Leftcoastrocky  Here's the deal.  The stimulus failed.  The economy stinks.  Only 47% of workers have full time jobs.  

We can't continue to spend money that is not coming in, and won't be coming in, so just like any other budget you have to cut spending.  

notsacredh
notsacredh

McCain is worried about the democrats taking advantage of the republicans?? Does Old John forget that's it's the house republicans wanting the country to default? Is it the democrats that lost the presidential election? Is it true that the ACA is settled law and has been OK's by the Supreme Court and a presidential election? John, you're a fool. Retire already.

manlyman
manlyman

Ok, so did he put it down?

manlyman
manlyman

Could have saved a whole bunch of tap-tapping ashy, by saying repub bad, dem good. However things were good then, bad now, and all the " research" and "facts" you can dig up will not change that. Therein lies your conundrum, which is to do what liberals have been doing since pretty much the dawn of time, and that's find a way to make bad look good. You know, use the word recovery to describe a sinking economy, phrases like "pulling from the brink" seem to work, for now anyway, but soon even the lowest of the low-information voters are gonna be scratching their heads and saying " hmm, what I'm hearing ain't what I'm seeing". Your job is gonna get tougher as it goes ashy. Are you up to it?

manlyman
manlyman

All of those issues are still on the table barn, the blood of benghazi, and fast and furious are still on bo's hands. Those that died are still dead. Bo hasn't yet walked on water, much less found a way to bring the dead back too life. But then liberals have never been known to put a high value on human life. " what difference does it make?" Who said that?

manlyman
manlyman

I have to laugh when I read you ashy. But I am puzzled as to how one is expected to pay taxes when they have no income. You know, income that comes from having a job? Oh and yes the highest amount of social program recipients IS among the black population, and by a large margin. A population which votes exclusively dem in every election. But I'm sure there's no connection there. If one didn't know better, one would say that the whole welfare system is basically a vote buying mechanism. We could take that a step further by saying that the taxpayer pays his money in, just to watch it buy votes for the liberal party. But that just couldn't be, could it?

notsacredh
notsacredh

@j45ashton, I think you're blaming the Tea Party just because they're selfish, self-centered opportunists that don't care about their fellow Americans or their country.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@ahandout

No, here's reality: 

You have no leverage other than the ability to take hostages.

Your party has tanked with the public.

The more pragmatic GOP ers hate Cruz and the Teabaggers are finished, whatever else happens.

The Dems are solidly unified.

Anything done in the House MUST pass muster with Reid. No matter what you think, he's the majority leader in the Senate.

Your agenda has no chance unless you give up revenue. 

In short, you're just a two legged .mouth.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@sacredh 

That's 'wingers for you - they want to burn down the house and rebuild it but they don't want to be responsible for their action.

Have you ever heard one single 'winger take responsible for the reckless spending under Bush and the debt they saddles us with going forward? Guess what, those bills are still in the budget that they refuse to negotiate over. Instead they want to extort concession to keep their spending but remove anything else they don't like.

They're a bunch of crybabies. 

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sacredh "That doesn't mean that we give up our efforts to try to replace and repair Obamacare, but it does mean that elections have consequences," McCain said


j45ashton
j45ashton

@manlyman You know...there are people on the other side who are worth having a dialogue with and then there are people like you who aren't worth the time of day.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@manlyman Who's hands are on the blood of the thousands of  contractors that died in Iraq, the ones that aren't even counted in the 4500 dead  number which is reserved strictly for US troops?

fitty_three
fitty_three

@manlyman 

A litte farther down you were complaining about the cost of health care.

I guess them nasty blah pipple ain't teh onliest ones done want free stuff...

j45ashton
j45ashton

@manlyman Well, at least you are manly enough to not hide where you're coming from.  Two points, numbie.  One, there are more whites on food stamps now than blacks.  That was discussed in the election.  Two, you can't get blood out of a stone.  More revenue has to come come the SOBs who have been robbing this country' blind.  Ironically, it's not the true entrepreneurs like Gate or Jobs or great investors like Buffet or Soros who'd object.  It's guys like Romney who hide their money offshore and others who run large corporations who smear themselves at shareholder expense.  The list goes on & on. 

notsacredh
notsacredh

@MrObvious, I remember that spending spree and then them crying that "we're spending just like democrats". They couldn't face up to the fact that they were just being themselves and showing the democrats what a real spending spree looked like. Hypocrites then and hypocrites now.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@manlyman,

 "Not as elderly as sacred."

Waves cane and shouts, "Get OFF of my lawn!". 

manlyman
manlyman

Not as elderly as sacred.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@Paul,nnto @j45ashton @manlyman You guys are funny.  They should do a movie about you.  Actually, I think they have.  Believe it was called Dumb & Dumber.  I leave you two to work out between you who is Dumber.  I can't tell.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@j45ashton @manlyman Take it easy on "manlyman" he's elderly and spends his weekend trolling a political board.

Pity not scorn is appropriate, I think. 


manlyman
manlyman

I knew you'd come arunnin mantcyboy. Yer so easy.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@manlyman  

That was a pity like, girlyman.  

Be careful of the elderly.  You don't know what's in their canes....

manlyman
manlyman

Damn that one gets old sac.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@manlyman, you're spending a good deal of time here so there must be some attraction. Come over to the darkside. We have cookies.

manlyman
manlyman

Rant? I don't rant. Not really affected too much by the shutdown so far. I save my rants for face to face discussions, not for fictitious characters on swampland.

manlyman
manlyman

Is that some kind of new slang filthy? Sure sounds stupid.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@manlyman, there are more whites than blacks on foodstamps but the percentage is higher among blacks. Black people are only about 12-13 percent of the population. Hispanics far outnumber blacks anymore. By 2050 (a mere 36 years and change), whites will be less than 50% of the population rather than the current 70%. Last year there were more minority births than white births in the country and it's very unlikely we'll have another year where there are more white births. Demographics are changing very quickly.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@manlyman You keep missing the point.  Check this link:  http://www.statisticbrain.com/welfare-statistics/.  I doubt it will change your mind.  Your kind is in such denial.  You'll probably question the validity of the source.  The percentage of blacks vs whites on welfare only varies by 1%.  You can see numbers for Hispanics (whom some might group with whites), Asian & other.  The point is that income growth for everybody not within the wealthiest 20% has been lousy.  Whites, too!  So many whites have been driven into gov't assistance.  This isn't the 50s or the 60s.  Things have changed dramatically since Reagan.

manlyman
manlyman

"There are more whites on foodstamps now than blacks"

That's simply a lie ashy. C' mon man. Not that it matters. We've reached a tipping point in the country, when more than half the country(53%) recieves some type of government assistance, it stands to reason that the gimme party is gonna receive more of the votes. Obama has created the highest amount of gov dependants than any other pres, er, wait...obama has " helped more poor people than any other president. Yeah that's it.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sacredh @manlyman And the amount of non-minority people getting assistance trumps all others but shhhh facts don't matter! 

manlyman
manlyman

Oh god that's funny sac...

manlyman
manlyman

Your spin is stunning to me. Well, not really.

Diecash1
Diecash1

@sacredh @Diecash1 I think it's just a prelude to the real story.  At some point, business interests will have to disentangle themselves from this pile of rejects as their monster can no longer be controlled and this unpredictability will hurt their (and our) interests.  I'm just waiting to see how it ends. Ugly, to be sure.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@TyPollard, I'm guessing a bunch of wives with bruises and dogs with cracked ribs.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@Diecash1, the senate GOP kicking the house GOP to the curb is the big story. I think they're facing a default within their own party.

Diecash1
Diecash1

@Paul,nnto @sacredh Give it time.  I fully expect a schism, sooner rather than later, in the Republican party.  They cannot continue in this manner in perpetuity.  The only real question is what does this mean for the rest of us?  Will they implode peacefully and reform in new parties or will this whole devolution break bad?  

notsacredh
notsacredh

@Paul,nnto, they're hurting every bit as much as they think they aren't. Disconnect might be too mild of a description. The storm is about to break over their heads and they're still laying out the picnic blanket like the sun is shining.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sacredh @Paul,nnto  I have to say the air of desperation in these threads is pretty telling. 

The worse they are doing the more false bravado. The country rejects them and the TPers brag about growing. The disconnect is stunning to me.