The divide between Democrats and the Republican-led House seems even greater, as lawmakers race against the clock to meet an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
President Obama is pushing for a deficit deal that cuts domestic and defense government spending with tax revenue, which has resulted in a debt showdown between the two parties.
“It shouldn’t be this difficult, but it is, mainly I think because people have their various constituencies that they’re playing to in these discussions and debates, and sometimes that gets in the way as well,” said Congressman John Carney (D-Delaware).
News out of Washington, D.C. has the White House backing a new proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid’s plan extends the debt ceiling to 2013, trims $2.7 trillion of government spending, but does not include any new taxes.
Meanwhile, Republicans released a competing plan that would impose $1.2 trillion in domestic spending cuts, increase the nation’s borrowing cap to $1 trillion and allow for a larger increase next year, depending on whether Congress passes cuts to benefit programs like Medicare and farm subsidies, according to the Associated Press.
“Neither side can have it all their way. We’re in this together, we need to find a compromise,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware). “If we go into default, what happens is the federal government pays more for borrowing. And as our interest rates go up, so do interest rates for people who want to buy houses, buy cars, send their kids to school. It’s a kind of chain effect and it’s not gonna be something that we’ll enjoy.”
“Six months ago I was actually very optimistic that we would have a constructive budget process,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who is also a member of the Budget Committee. “Now less than a week from the debt ceiling vote, far less encouraged as I’m seeing folks hold to rigidity ideological positions, refuse to compromise, walk away from negotiations and I’m very concerned about the lack of willingness to work together between the Congress and the President.”
Coons warns we should all be very concerned, saying many Republicans seem nonchalant about the impending deadline, almost welcoming a debt ceiling default because it’s better for them politically.
“I’m concerned that we’re scaring the markets, that we’re creating risk for the American economy and that should we default on America’s mortgage, that it’ll have lasting and negative consequences for working families, for small businesses, for communities all over our country,” said Coons.
“It’s certainly a lot different than Delaware where Democrats and Republicans tend to put their differences behind them and get things done,” said Congressman Carney.