This week the House of Representatives and the Senate spent all week trying to wrap up a new 3.0 debt deal and pass it along to the President before the end of the day on Tuesday, Aug. 2. This has been the drop dead date announced by Treasury Secretary Geithner back in May in order to avert a lapse in the borrowing authority of our federal government.
The Senate finally gave up on the possibility of being able to pass the 3.0 debt deal around 8pm Sunday evening only to try again tomorrow at 10:30AM when they convene for the week. The idea is to have the Senate pass the new deal by late afternoon on Monday and the House follow suit before the end of the day on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. Read more on http://www.gradegov.com
The new 3.0 debt deal breaks down like this:
--$2.4 T increase in the debt through 2013
--Provides for cuts in spending up to $917 B immediately
--The additional $1.5 T is to be found by the super-committee in the form of taxes, cuts, caps or reforms in entitlement programs
--Super-committee must report their additional findings by Thanksgiving of 2011
--Both Houses of Congress must pass the super-committee recommendation for increasing the debt an additional $1.5 T
--If the Super-committee doesn’t report, a trigger kicks in that causes an across-the-board cut in all government funding including the department of defense and entitlement programs
--A balanced budget constitutional amendment must be called up and voted on in the House and Senate before the end of the 2011 calendar year. (It does not mandate the outcome of the vote)
I thought it would helpful to provide a brief history lesson as to how Congress ended up coming down to the wire on the debt limit extension so here goes:
On May 5, 2011, the President deputized the Vice President to begin talks with Congressional Leaders on the need to deal with the impending debt increase. The spin from that initial meeting was that “It was a productive first meeting.” These meetings with VP Biden were not regular and at times a couple of weeks would lapse between meetings.
On June 23, 2011, the Biden meetings had a melt down and effectively ended with Congressional leaders.
On June 27, 2011, the President entered the talks in an effort to revive the debt negotiations with Congressional leaders.
From the June 27 meeting, through the 4th of July holiday week, up to July 22, the negotiations at the White House resumed. In addition, the President began to meet in private with the Speaker of the House.
While those secret meetings were occurring, on July 19, the House chamber debated and voted on the cut, cap and balance bill. It passed 234 to 190. This is what Speaker Boehner calls his first legislative effort to resolve the debt impasse. Within a little over 48 hours, on the morning of July 22, the Senate Majority Leader tabled or killed the cut, cap and balance bill by a vote of 51 to 46. This vote was a bit of a surprise to GOP Senators since earlier that week the Senate Majority Leader had called up the bill and said the Senate would have an open and robust debate on the bill.
On the evening of July 22, the Speaker announced that the talks between himself and the President had completely broken down. The Speaker issued a letter to all of his colleagues outlining the basic problems with the negotiations concluding that: “It became evident that the White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children’s future.”
Also on the evening of July 22, President Obama held an immediate presser where he summoned the Congressional Leaders to the White House for a Saturday morning meeting.
After the Saturday, July 23 meeting, the Speaker announced that he wanted to get a debt deal if only in framework form, out and available by Sunday, July 24 so as to not cause a disruption in the Asian markets. The Speaker did not meet this self imposed deadline.
By July 29, Speaker Boehner passed the second debt deal through the House of Representatives. That vote occurred at 6:30PM on that Friday night with the final tally being 234 to 190. This 2.0 version of a debt deal required passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget in both the House and the Senate before some debt increase money could be released. Within 90 minutes, the Senate Majority Leader had once again tabled or killed the second Boehner proposal. That vote concluded at 8pm on Friday night with the tally being 51 to 46.
Saturday afternoon on the 30th of July, the House of Representative introduced an identical House bill that mirrored the Reid debt language that was pending in the Senate. The House failed to bring that bill up by a vote of 173 to 246. The Senate finally conducted a vote on the Reid language Sunday, July 31 in the afternoon. They too failed to get enough votes to move the Reid language along. Their tally required 60 votes and the total was 51 to 49.
This congressional legislative ping pong match with trash- talking sprinkled in to keep it lively will more than likely come to an end tomorrow night.
Stay tuned to see if the ping pong match finally concludes with the passage of the debt deal, 3.0, just in