Snapshot - Developments in U.S. debt talks

WASHINGTON Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:31pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Here is what is happening on Sunday in negotiations to raise the U.S. $14.3 trillion debt limit.

* President Barack Obama has no scheduled face-to-face meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress.

* Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell are discussing modifications to a plan put forward by McConnell that would raise the debt limit and put nearly all the burden on Obama to carry it out. The plan could include about $1.5 trillion in spending cuts and set up a congressional panel to find further savings.

* White House budget director Jack Lew tells Sunday talk shows that progress being made in debt talks and lawmakers have time to reach a deal on substantial deficit reduction ahead of an August 2 deadline when the government will be unable to pay all of its bills.

* Senator Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, says on NBC's "Meet the Press" that a constitutional amendment to balance the budget will not pass the Senate, but the Senate will consider such a measure next week.

* Senator Jon Kyl, the second ranking Republican in the Senate, tells ABC's "This Week" that "If all else fails...we will not be the ones who took the country into default, the United States will not default on its debt."

* Republican Senator Jim DeMint says on NBC's "Meet the Press" it is time to "draw a line in the sand" because "a day of reckoning is going to come."

* Republican Senator Tom Coburn, who has participated in bipartisan deficit reduction talks, tells CBS's "Face the Nation" that he will offer an ambitious plan to cut the deficit by $9 trillion over 10 years. He concedes it won't pass the Senate. It includes items difficult for Republicans such as cuts for defense spending and revenue increases from closing special interest tax breaks.

* The Republican-led House of Representatives to vote on Tuesday on a plan calling for immediate spending cuts and capping the level of federal spending to a percentage of the economy, 18 percent by 2021. The House also is to consider a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

* Lawmakers are under intense pressure from state governors, U.S. businesses and U.S. creditors to strike a deal and raise the debt limit. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, said on Saturday at a National Governors Association meeting in Salt Lake City, "This is a dangerous and equally ridiculous situation that's playing itself out."

(Reporting by Donna Smith; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (27)
TomMariner wrote:
There are no serious “debt negotiations” going on. There is a Presidential Campaign going on and that takes precedence over everything. If you think there will be a decision made that is not calculated to win voters before November 2012, you have to grow up!

Neither party cares whether they destroy the country and squander 200 years of wealth and prestige getting their political party elected or re-elected. These guys must be operating with a different version of the Constitution than I have because mine doesn’t mention political parties, but does talk about representatives.

Jul 17, 2011 11:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
PCScipio wrote:
We have the most corrupt politicians and dysfunctional government in the developed world, and we’re on an irreversible slippery slope to second tier status. Fat, lazy, ignorant people led by propaganda from corrupt power brokers and their venal lackeys.

Fortunately for those of us who are older, we have lived during America’s best years.

Jul 17, 2011 11:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
NewsDebbie wrote:
Constitutional Amendment is a good idea but I question why the GOP wants it now? 1) The debate between our fore-fathers Federalists vs Anti-Federalist was the Federalist intentionally left out a balanced budget in the proposed Constitution. How does that fly with those who want the US Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution as written by our fore-fathers. 2) The admendment would take YEARS to ratify by the states so it doesn’t have any serious teeth behind it other than kicking the can down the road. Hoping people think it means now when if passed would not take effect until years down the road. 3) Balanced budgets do not mean you only spend what you have. It sounds nice but it is not how it works. Deficits still occur. California is an example of a Balanced Budget Amendment. 4) Historically the US has had a deficit since Geo Washington had Alexander Hamilton take on the debt of the 13 colonies for the cost of the Revolutionary War. Hint from the past is that “war” costs blood and lots and lots of $$. 5.) The Federal budget is more akin to a business budget than a family budget. Business borrows monthly to make payroll. Family budgets also run credit. Most people do not buy a house outright but make payments to the bank for it. Same with automobiles. This is all theater and the Congress is not serious about it.

Jul 17, 2011 11:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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