President Obama announced on Sunday that Republican and Democratic leaders agreed on a plan to raise the debt ceiling. This, after months of intense closed door negotiations, and just two days before a August 2nd deadline set by the Treasury Department.
According to the agreement reached, it would slow the growth of government spending over the next decade by $2 to $3 trillion and allow enough borrowing to put off another vote to raise the ceiling to 2013. About $1 trillion will be cut immediately, while the details of the remaining spending reductions will be handled by a bipartisan committee of 12 lawmakers from both chambers, who will recommend cuts for Congress to vote on. That would include everything, from defense spending to entitlements.
To satisfy the GOP’s conservative base, the deal would also require a vote in both chambers on an amendment to the Constitution requiring the federal government to balance its budget each year.
Read Fact Sheet. (Source: WhiteHouse.gov)
The challenge now will be to get enough votes for the deal to pass both houses of Congress. The issue won’t be in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid endorsed the deal. The problem lies in the House, where Speaker John Boehner pleaded with a hostile Freshman GOP congress. Boehner held a conference call on Sunday evening with House Republicans in which he urged them to support the package, declaring that the deal in place “meets our principles of smaller government.”
Whether his talk persuaded those against raising the debt ceiling won’t be known until later this afternoon, when debate and the vote will take place. This puts Teabaggers on the defensive, where the stakes could never be higher.
If the agreement fails, the GOP will be responsible for single-handily destroying the US government’s credit rating, the country’s economy, the world economy and a possible 2nd great depression. It would also guarantee the GOP won’t be able to hold on to the House and most certainly lose seats in the Senate in 2012.
A lot could happen in 14 months, but the future of the Republican party depends on their willingness to go along with the deal.