Aug 01 2011
A debt ceiling- deficit reduction deal has been agreed to by leaders of Congress and the President.The President addressed the nation yesterday evening and announced the two-stage bill that will end, in his words, a “messy” process. Both Houses of Congress are expected to vote to approve the bill today. This final version is a compromise between competing plans introduced into the Senate by Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the House by Speaker of the House John Boehner. Over 10 years it will cut at least 2.4 Trillion in spending. The debt ceiling will be raised by about $1 trillion immediately, a short-term increase to avoid default. Then, a bi-partisan Congressional Committee will be established to create a set of recommended cuts equal to the amount of the second debt ceiling increase, anticipated at $1.2 to $1.5 trillion. A major sticking point in weekend negotiations was over how to ensure the bi-partisan committee would produce a compromise bill and not become entrenched in a stalemate. Democrats, particularly the Progressive Caucus, publicly opposed a so-called “trigger,” default action, that only included spending cuts, or that sacrificed Social Security and Medicare. If the Committee fails to endorse a compromise plan by the time the next raise is needed, automatic across-the-board- cuts would go into effect. Medicare would see a reduction should this trigger occur, Social Security, Veterans benefits and other programs are exempt. To appease Democrats, 50% of the cuts would come from Pentagon spending. In drumming up support for the bill, Boehner described it as a, “[f]ramework …that will end this crisis in a manner that meets our principles of smaller government.”
GUESTS: David Dayen, political writer at FireDogLake.com; Robert Scheer co-founder with Zuade Kaufman and editor-in-chief of the progressive online news site Truthdig.com. He is a professor of communications at the University of Southern California. Scheer’s latest book is, The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.
Read Robert Scheer’s column at www.TruthDig.com and listen to TruthDig radio on KPFK on Wednesdays at 2 pm.