An increasing number of House members yielded to Speaker John Boehner’s blunt command to line up Wednesday behind his budget bill even as his staff moved frantically to alter it in an attempt to resolve the looming fiscal crisis.
Congressional leaders alternately voiced optimism, determination and a haggard frustration as they struggled to make both the dollars and the votes add up.
The Congressional Budget Office, which on Monday night forced the Republican leaders back to the drawing board by ruling that their plan fell short of their promises, came back Tuesday with a verdict on Mr. Boehner’s latest revisions, declaring that they would cut spending by $917 billion over ten years. His plan would now raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion, requiring another set of decisions in just a few months.
“CBO’s analysis confirms that the spending cuts are greater than the debt hike – affirming that the House GOP bill meets the critical test House Republicans have said they will insist upon for any bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling,” said Kevin Smith, the communications director for Mr. Boehner.
Q. and A. on the U.S. Debt Ceiling
Q. Republicans and Democrats alike keep talking about the need to reduce the federal deficit. Won’t refusing to raise the debt limit cut the deficit?
A. No. The debt limit, or ceiling, which is the amount that the nation is allowed to borrow, must be raised if the United States is to pay for all the things that Congress has already bought: the spending in the budget bills it has already passed, the Social Security checks promised to retirees, the payments due to private companies with federal contracts and the interest on bonds it has sold. Washington has long spent more money than it takes in, and planned to make up the difference with borrowing. Both parties agree that this cannot go on forever. But if the debt limit is not raised, it will not cut the nation’s deficit or allow the government to get out of its existing obligations. It will simply make it impossible to borrow the money that the government needs to pay for them.
Read the full Q&A at Q. and A. on the U.S. Debt Ceiling – NYTimes.com.
- Boehner plan being tweaked after CBO report (washingtonexaminer.com)
- Boehner Faces GOP Rebellion (politicalwire.com)
- Whipping The Boehner Proposal To Raise The Nation’s Debt Ceiling (hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com)