With little time remaining before the Treasury's Aug. 2 deadline, the House speaker released his proposal -- which looks quite different from the Democratic alternative
House Republicans and Senate Democrats sped forward Monday on their collision course over the debt ceiling, with the debate likely to come to a head this weekend, just days before the August 2 deadline when the United States is scheduled to begin defaulting on its debts.
The two chambers are scheduled to move forward this week on competing plans offered by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The two plans outlined on Monday share few similarities, have been denounced by the other chamber, and offer little obvious hope for the two chambers to resolve the differences in conference and send legislation to President Obama before next Tuesday's deadline. Despite the heightened stakes, leaders on both sides reiterated their view that default would not ultimately occur.
The House Republican plan, as outlined in a background briefing by GOP aides because legislative text has not yet been released, would offer an immediate $1 trillion raise in the debt ceiling tied to legislation that includes still-undefined discretionary spending caps aimed at reduce spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The $1 trillion stopgap increase would carry the U.S. until early 2012--forcing another vote in an election year, which the White House is seeking to avoid.
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The House bill would then create a bipartisan, bicameral joint committee made up of 12 lawmakers who would be charged with finding $1.6-$1.8 trillion in savings through whatever means they determine by November 23. If a majority of the committee approves the deficit reduction proposal, their recommendations would be fast-tracked through both chambers, with no amendments allowed, and protected by an up-or-down majority vote by December 23.