September 2, 2014

A Vote and More Discussion on the Debt Limit

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

Later today House Republicans plan to vote down an initial request from the administration to approve an increase in the federal debt limit without spending reductions. The vote will be largely symbolic, coming after several weeks of negotiations between the administration and top  lawmakers over hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts that would accompany a higher debt ceiling.

The vote is also intended to underscore Republicans’ demands in advance of their meeting Wednesday with President Obama. The Treasury has warned that the government could default if the current $14.3 trillion debt limit is not raised by early August.

Vice President Joe Biden has chaired the negotiations this month between administration officials and six lawmakers who were appointed by party leaders. Last week Biden reported that the talks had made progress toward substantial spending cuts. The parties remain far apart on additional tax revenues, however, with Biden saying they will be part of the solution and Republicans insisting that they are off the table.

Another set of talks are continuing among a small bipartisan “gang” of senators, despite one of their members recently stepping away from the discussions. Some of the remaining five senators indicated last week that they remained committed to their search for a long-term fiscal plan.