Top Senate Democrat: Republicans Not Compromising on Debt Crisis

Posted July 24th, 2011 at 2:20 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has accused Republican lawmakers of pushing the United States to the “brink of default,” by resisting compromise in high-stakes budget talks.

In a statement following an urgent meeting late Saturday with congressional leaders, Reid said he will only accept a deal that raises the U.S. $14.3 trillion debt ceiling through 2012. He said he will not support a short-term extension.

There was no immediate response from the top Republicans in Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner.

Republicans refuse raising the debt ceiling without a major reduction in the deficit. They want to achieve the reduction through budget cuts, while Democrats favor increasing tax revenue, which Republicans reject.

The U.S. must raise the debt ceiling by August 2, to allow the government to continue borrowing money to meet its obligations.

Earlier Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama held an emergency debt crisis meeting at the White House with Reid, McConnell, Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Mr. Obama later urged Congress to “do its job” to avoid a debt default. He also reiterated his opposition to a short-term extension of the debt ceiling, saying it could damage the nation's credit rating.

After the meeting, Boehner and McConnell said congressional leaders are committed to finding a bipartisan solution that will cut spending and prevent a default. Boehner said the solution will “preserve the full faith and credit of the United States.”

The U.S. Treasury Department, the central bank and the White House have warned a default would have catastrophic consequences on the economy. Economists have also said a default would have harsh economic effects.