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As the nation anxiously awaits for a vote on a debt deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tells CNN on Sunday that both parties are “very close” to reaching a compromise.
After Senate Republicans shot down Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bill, negotiations continued between President Obama and McConnell.
The three trillion dollar deal would allow leaders to avoid a default, which would begin August 2, this Tuesday. In order for this to occur, Congress must raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
In addition to the $3 trillion cut in spending, this deal would extend the debt limit through 2012, a crucial time in Washington, as it would be an election year.
The cuts would come in two waves, the first including $1 trillion in reductions, and a second round of cuts would be determined by Thanksgiving 2011 according to CBS news.
Negotiations between Obama and McConnell would include the discussion of “trigger” cuts that would occur automatically if a congressional stalemate was to occur during the second round of cuts. In order for the democrats to support the plan, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer D-New York says, the trigger cuts would need to be equally difficult for both parties. The Democrats do not want to lose the ability to send middle class kids to college, and the Republicans believe the trigger should have revenues.
According to Fox News, an official has made it clear that one certainly is that neither extreme will be satisfied with the deal. Tea Party lawmakers might disagree with the new changes, and liberal groups are having issues with the possibility of entitlement cuts.
A few senators are stating that a vote is expected sometime on Monday. Another democratic senator has said that there will be no automatic cuts to Medicare beneficiaries.
A key player in these talks is House Speaker John Boehner who walked out of a meeting with President Obama a few days ago. While progress has been made since that time, the Obama administration is still negotiating on difficult, but crucial issues.
If unable to raise the debt ceiling, Congress would be responsible for rising interest rates, a declining dollar and many other problems for millions of Americans. Additionally, Obama has said that he cannot guarantee timely Social Security checks.
The United States Treasury has said recently that after Tuesday, without a lift in the ceiling, the nation would no longer have the cash to pay its bills.
Many Americans are also worried because of the quickly approaching deadline especially since bills have been shot down left and right in the past week. On Friday night the Senate voted against the House Republicans’ proposal, then voted against Reid’s counterproposal by ten votes.
However, the progress made this past weekend could save the country. Harry Reid admits to being “cautiously optimistic” even though the agreement has not been made yet.
Despite the positive attitude, many Americans are still frustrated with Washington’s lack of ability to come together at a time of desperate need.
Image by Gage Skidmore