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Yet Another Debt-Ceiling Stalemate


House Republicans on Monday offered their second proposal in a week to raise the debt ceiling but with the one caveat President Barack Obama is trying to avoid—a limited-time-only deal that requires him to revisit the issue again before his reelection.
 
House Speaker John Boehner says the new deal adheres to their principles of Cut, Cap and Balance, which was defeated by Senate Democrats last week, while his fellow Republicans signaled they are willing to let the clock run to the Aug. 2 deadline to ensure spending cuts.
 
“Time is running short,” Boehner said.  “It would be irresponsible for the President to veto such legislation because it’s such a common-sense plan and will help us avoid default.”

“I believe our plan is a good step in the right direction,” Boehner said.  The latest deal allows the debt ceiling to be raised by $1.1 trillion, which means Obama would have to come back to the negotiating table with Republicans in April.
 
“I know the President’s worried about his next election,” Boehner said on Fox News Sunday.  “But my God, shouldn’t we be worried about the country?”  The Republican plan requires $1.1 trillion in spending cuts that would be decided later by a joint House and Senate Committee, and no taxes would be increased.
 
And, it assures that Congress would vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution by the first of October.
 
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered a plan by Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion, including what critics say is a gimmick to cut $1 trillion in spending, including from the Defense Department, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
Reid defended his plan as the only option to keep from “going over a cliff.”
 
“This isn’t a game of chicken, this is a game of reality,” Reid said.
 
“[Republicans are] sending us virtually nothing we’ve agreed to,” Reid said.  “We’ve been on record for weeks that we won’t agree to it.”
 
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the President would support the Reid proposal.
 
“Sen. Reid’s plan is a reasonable approach that should receive the support of both parties, and we hope the House Republicans will agree to this plan so that America can avoid defaulting on our obligations for the first time in our history,” Carney said.
 
“The ball is in their court,” Carney said.
 
Republicans expressed frustration that while they have passed a budget to outline future spending, as well as legislation to cap spending and pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, Democrats in the Senate have declined to do either.
 
“Only the House Republicans have passed a plan to deal with the debt ceiling,” said Jeb Hensarling (R.-Tex.), chairman of the House Republican Conference.
“What [Obama’s] focused on is the next election,” Hensarling said.
 
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R.-Calif.) agreed and said, “The President continues to play politics over people.”
 
“What has to transpire now is the President has to change his way, the President has to put people before politics,” McCarthy said.

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