Inside the budget battle: little progress as debt ceiling vote looms

Experts say there are two paths to financial ruin for the U.S.: default on its debt, which could happen if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2, or second, and more fundamentally, failure to address staggering deficits that are slated to overwhelm the economy in coming decades.

Can Washington kick its spending addiction? There are reasons to worry. Everyone seems to have a different plan, and negotiations between party leaders led by Vice President Joe Biden are going slowly enough that Republican House Speaker John Boehner recently pressed President Obama for a sense of urgency.

The pending debt ceiling deadline — Aug. 2, according to the Treasury Department — is a short-term matter. But it’s only one of numerous venues for a political war over the same core issue: where will Congress find trillions of dollars to right America’s fiscal ship? From tax increases, or spending cuts, or both? Top lawmakers like Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions say there’s a “window” of two to three years before the problem gets permanently out of control.

One front in the battle is the “Gang of Six’s” endlessly delayed secret plan. After recently losing conservative icon Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, two of the group’s members went before the cameras Wednesday, boasting of their bipartisanship and giving the distinct appearance they’ll introduce a plan shortly — with or without Coburn.

  • shrinkthestate

    Prospects for Debt Ceiling increase dropped sharply in ‘prediction markets’.


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  • kingfish

    There are currently 17 bills pending in either the House or the Senate that are related to changes in Social Security. This staggering number of Social Security bills shows how determined many elected officials are to eliminate these programs. They haven’t CUT even ONE incompetent agency.


    “President Obama and members of the U.S. House and Senate have placed Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block in ongoing debt ceiling negotiations. In these secret negotiations, far away from public enlightenment or debate, deals are being cooked-up to undermine, cut or privatize these important and highly beneficial programs.”

    “The drumbeat has been increasing since 2010, to undermine Social Security and Medicare. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been leading the charge since 2007, to make critical changes to these programs claiming that these programs are the key to solving our financial deficit. Chairman Bernanke and President Obama took the first steps in this direction when they gave a tax holiday in December 2010, to those making Social Security tax payments, in a tax deal with Republicans.”

  • 1TrueOne55

    Have we passed the point of no return? With the budget already past the Federal Credit Limit and going higher, can Congress of any party pull back the reigns of spending? No matter how you spin the facts our Economy has been set on a course since the Progressive take over of Congress in 2006 to restart the failed policies of the FDR administration.

    Will history repeat itself and will it be WWIII that will be needed to pull the world economy out of a financial crisis? Are we repeating history for the last time?

  • thephranc

    Congress can not raise the limit and not default. All they have to do is stop spending. There isn’t some great mystical secret.