Policy Priorities

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BUDGET WATCH: THIS WEEK...

July 29, 2011

Evening update:

House Ties Debt-Ceiling Vote to Dangerous Balanced Budget Amendment as Senate Prepares Alternative

The House of Representatives is now poised to try again this evening to vote on a bill to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit. In order to garner the needed votes, Speaker Boehner has amended his proposal (The Budget Control Act of 2011) to include a provision requiring a balanced budget amendment to be passed by both the House and Senate before the debt ceiling can be raised a second time. Boehner’s proposal calls for an immediate cut of more than $900 billion dollars in order to raise the debt ceiling before the country defaults next week and then a second vote later in the year that would require even larger cuts from Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Food Stamps. It is this second round of cuts to increase the debt limit which would now be contingent upon passage of a balanced budget amendment. A Senate vote on the amended Boehner bill is expected to be taken up right after the House vote tonight. The House may also vote tomorrow on a standalone balanced budget amendment.

Passage of a balanced budget amendment would have serious consequences for children and our country’s economic future. The severe cap on total federal spending which would be required would lead to deep cuts in critical programs serving children from cradle to college such as Medicaid, SNAP/food stamps, Early Head Start and Head Start, K-12 education, child protection and juvenile justice programs and funding for college, jeopardizing millions of children’s chances for future success.

Senate Majority Leader Reid continues to work on an alternative proposal that should emerge over the weekend, so stay tuned!


July 29, 2011

 

Morning update:

House and Senate Remain Unable to Pass Debt Ceiling Bill as Deadline Nears

Last night the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on House Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to raise the debt ceiling while reducing the deficit. Late into the evening, however, the vote was called off because Republicans didn’t have enough votes to pass the bill through the House. This morning, reports suggested Republicans were just five to 12 votes short (depending on the mix of tweaks included in the version that would have ultimately reached the floor). Reportedly, several conservatives had held back their support for Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan because they wanted a balanced budget amendment provision included in the package. Boehner is expected to continue negotiating with conservatives to adjust the proposal so that it will clear the House.

With House action now stalled, Senate Majority Leader Reid announced this morning that he would move his bill to the floor in the next few days.

President Obama addressed the nation this morning and once again warned of the dire consequences of inaction and urged Congress to work together to find a bipartisan solution to the debt crisis that can garner approval in both the House and Senate.

Click here to view past Budget Watch updates.