The deadline for U.S. lawmakers to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion borrowing limit draweth nigh, and now it is up to the Democratic-led Senate to vote on the Republican-backed, House-passed plan that would raise the debt ceiling in trade of large cuts in the federal budget.
The Cut, Cap and Balance Act permits the debt limit to increase by another $2.4 trillion matched by equal spending cuts. It also requires Congress to approve a constitutional amendment for a balanced federal budget, which must be ratified by state legislatures, the Voice of America reported.
The bill, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 234 to 190, is expected to be defeated in the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., denounced the plan as weak and senseless, and President Barack Obama has promised to veto the measure.
We are spending too much money, I think everyone understands that, said Representative Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the bill's sponsor. But the question is: Are we going to actually do something about it? The future of our nation depends on it. There are all kinds of rhetoric that it will cut Medicare, but that is not true. It just says we will put ourselves on a glide path to set some fiscal sanity before us.
And that is precisely what Democrats are flummoxed about. But while Obama has said an increase in revenue would be part of the package, congressional Democrats believe he was ceding the debate to Republicans by letting spending cuts take precedence without repealing tax breaks to spread the burden to the wealthiest Americans.
The president always talked about balance, that there had to be some fairness in this, that this can't be all cuts, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. There has to be a balance. There has to be some revenue and cuts. My caucus agrees with that. I hope that the president sticks with that. I'm confident that he will.