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House Passes Debt Ceiling Bill

July 29, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

After failing Thursday night, Speaker John Boehner [R, OH-8] brought his debt ceiling bill back to the floor Friday afternoon with an amendment appealing to far-right Republicans, and passed it. The final vote was 218-210, with zero Democrats voting in favor and 22 Republicans voting “no.”

The bill, S.627,  would give the President new authority to raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion without approval from Congress in exchange for $756 billion in unspecified spending cuts over 10 years and the creation of a special congressional committee, or “Super Congress,” to propose more deficit-cutting proposals in the future. That $900 billion increase is designed to get us through the end of the year. To raise the debt ceiling again next year, Obama would have to get new approval from Congress unless two conditions are met. The Super Congress would have to result in passage of at least $1.6 trillion more in deficit savings, and Congress would have had to have approved a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. If neither of those conditions are met, it’s back to another debt ceiling debate just like the one we’re in now.

Now that the House Republican plan has passed, and with 5 days left until the debt ceiling is surpassed, what happens next?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] has said that he plans to hold a vote on a motion to table the House Republicans’ bill later this evening. With every Senate Democrat having declared publicly that they will vote against it, it is going to fail. Besides, it has a presidential veto threat against it already.

After that, it’s onto the Reid bill. As it’s currently written, Reid’s bill would allow the debt ceiling to be raised by more than the Boehner bill — $2.7 trillion, enough to last through 2012 — and would cut more spending. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Reid’s bill would decrease deficits by $2.2 trillion over 10 years through $751 in unspecified spending cuts, cutting funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, lowering Agricultural subsidies, auctioning off spectrum, and more. The Reid bill would also create a “Super Congress,” and it specifies that they should look at revenue, not just cuts, for reducing deficits. Importantly, though, it does not premise a second debt ceiling increase on the outcome of the Super Congress, as the Boehner plan does.

The bill will most likely be altered before the final Senate vote on passage to make it more palatable to Republicans. WIth so little time left before the default date (August 2) whatever bill Reid sends back to the House pretty much has to be his final offer. Reid has not filed cloture on his bill yet, so jumping through all of the procedural hurdles required to get it to a final vote will take until Tuesday, August 2. At that point, once the Senate passes it, there will be time for an up-or-down vote in the House on agreeing to the Senate bill, but not much else.

According to @sussancrabtree, House Deputy Whip Rep. Tom Cole [R, OK-4] has said that any compromise bill that comes back to the House must be able to attract at least half of the House Republican caucus. If it doesn’t, Boehner presumably will not call it up for a vote, and the U.S. will default on its debt for the first time ever. Now, it’s not clear that Boehner will stick to that rule. Exactly what happens when the Senate bill goes back to the House on Tuesday is still the big open question. Passing something without sufficient Republican support wouldn’t be great for Boehner from a political perspective. It could even cost him his speakership next session if the Republicans hold the House. But the way things are looking, that may be the only way to prevent a default.

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  • ItsChris631 07/29/2011 7:11pm

    You linked and referenced the wrong bill! I’m trying to get the yays and nays!

  • Comm_reply
    ItsChris631 07/29/2011 7:16pm

    Nevermind, I see why S.627 is linked now…

  • batazoid 07/29/2011 10:59pm

    So there we have it. There are exactly 22 real grassroot Republican House leaders free of the shackles of their corporate overlords enough to stand up against the tyranny of the majority to proclaim it so: “We are taxed enough already.”

    Justin Amash (MI)

    Michele Bachmann (MN)

    Paul Broun (GA)

    Jason Chaffetz (UT)

    Chip Cravaack (MN)

    Scott DesJarlais (TN)

    Jeff Duncan (SC)

    Trey Gowdy (SC)

    Tom Graves (GA)

    Tim Huelskamp (KS)

    Tim Johnson (IL)

    Jim Jordan (OH)

    Steve King (IA)

    Tom Latham (IA)

    Connie Mack (FL)

    Tom McClintock (CA)

    Mick Mulvaney (SC)

    Ron Paul (TX)

    Tim Scott (SC)

    Steve Southerland (FL)

    Joe Walsh (TX)

    Joe Wilson (SC)

    ex animo

  • Comm_reply
    willtref2000 07/30/2011 7:52am

    Don’t forget the 210 Democrats!

  • Comm_reply
    nostatusquo 07/30/2011 2:29pm

    I totally disagree with your analysis of these 22 congressmen. Their inability to work in a positive manner with other members of “their” political party has moved extremism to a new level. Change is a meaningful objective.
    However, the 3 ring circus they have brought to Washington should lead to their demise in 2012.
    What happened to moderate Republicans ?
    Using the routine procedure of raising the debt limit to paralyze the work of Congress is obscene.
    They show little concern for the unemployed and underemployed. Where’s their concern for government regulation & protection against the financial abuses caused by those who exhibit uncontrolled greed ?

  • copatriot 07/30/2011 7:52am

    We are overtaxed enough, already. On the average over 60% of our gross income is taxed already (federal and stae income taxes, excise, and sales taxes, and property taxes).

    The liberal mindset is to legislate every affair of human life, a revised Codex of Hammurabi, if you will. There are few political conservatives in government today. These would be those who would legislate sparingly, choosing the use of the existing laws to creating newer ones.

  • Comm_reply
    Blindmikey 07/30/2011 12:38pm

    On the average over 60% of our gross income is taxed already (federal and stae income taxes, excise, and sales taxes, and property taxes).

    Could you source this? I can’t find this anywhere. Would love to learn more.

    Everyone I know falls in the 15% tax bracket. Even the highest federal tax bracket is only 35%, and you’d need to make $379,150+

    Even the percentage of the average federal tax rate vs average income comes to %16.66 (could only get 2009 snapshot though)

    There was a new tax bracket opened in 2002 so that the people with lower incomes paid even less taxes – without effecting the other brackets. Taxes have also stayed at generally the same rate from 2003-2011, though there were small changes in brackets year to year – which caused thousands of Americans to drop in bracket, paying anywhere between %5 – %10 less in federal taxes.

  • Comm_reply
    luminous 07/30/2011 1:34pm

    In the seventies the middle class paid much lower rates, the lowest bracket starting at 3% for income above $3,600 dollars and went up 2% points ever $3-4 thousand dollars upto the top rate of 70%.

    The real funny bit is that the Reagans tax reforms was to greatly increase the lower rates and giantly decrease the top rates, the bottom rate went from 0% at 0$ to 15% at 0$’s and the top rate went from 70% to 28%.

    And to add insult to injury their was a “bump” rate from $40,000-$170,000 of 33%.

    Pretty much every republican tax reform has come down to shifting the burden onto the ever shrinking middle class and not really so much about shrinking the amount collected. Save for the Bush tax cuts when created a 10% bracket below the 15% bracket, which along with the cut in capital gains rates is a big reason why it has caused about half of our current deficit.

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