Aside from the implosion at Rupert Murdoch's British media empire, the story that has most dominated headlines recently is the ongoing debate over the national debt, and how our economy is going to survive past the August 2 deadline to raise our debt ceiling. The country must raise its self-imposed borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion before the self-imposed deadline, or else we default on our debt. Both sides agree that the nation needs to lessen its debt in the long term, but in the short term it must figure out a way to stay functional, which pretty much everybody agrees means raising the debt ceiling. With just over two weeks to go before the deadline, there's still no consensus on what measure to take to raise the ceiling while also curbing spending. Let's see what's on the table, and where we are in the ongoing debate.
The 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' plan: Backed predominately by Tea Party freshmen in the House of Representatives, this constitutional amendment is expected to go to a vote on the House floor tomorrow, but President Barack Obama has already said he'll veto it. The measure would raise the debt limit to $16.8 trillion from $14.3 trillion, and promises to impose "enforceable spending caps," and require a balanced budget, without any tax increases. But because it takes the form of a constitutional amendment, its passage would require a two-thirds majority in each house of Congress. Time has an explanation from the Associated Press's Andrew Taylor: "Amending the Constitution requires a 2/3rds vote of both Houses, including 67 votes in the Senate, where Republicans control just 47. 'No one believes there are 67 votes for any version of that,' said Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, on CBS' Face The Nation." U.S. News & World Report's Alex Parker called the Republican bill "Kabuki theater -- a debate with overheated rhetoric, but one over a bill with little chance of passing the Senate or surviving a presidential veto."