US Congressional Democrats, Republicans Write Separate Debt-Ceiling Plans

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 2:40 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Senate and House of Representatives leaders are preparing separate backup plans to raise the federal debt limit after Congress and the White House failed to come up with a bipartisan agreement Sunday.

The leader of the majority party in the House, John Boehner, called Sunday on his fellow Republicans to support what he called a “new measure” that would involve a short-term extension of the debt ceiling accompanied by a package of spending cuts. Boehner earlier said he was not sure a bipartisan deal could be reached.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, wants a longer-term deal on the debt ceiling, while also cutting trillions of dollars in spending.

President Barack Obama, the country’s top Democrat, has said he wants an ambitious debt-reduction package that would keep the issue off the agenda until after the 2012 general elections.

August 2 is the deadline for raising the debt ceiling and allowing the federal government to continue to borrow money. The Obama administration and congressional leaders had hoped to announce a framework for an agreement before Asian financial markets opened Monday. But that time passed with no deal announced.

Global investors have been closely watching the debt ceiling discussions. Some large investors fear major credit-rating firms could downgrade the high U.S. rating.