Cut, Cap, and Balance Due for Senate Vote; Senators Rally Around Gang of Six Plan; President and Speaker Continue Efforts to Reach Deal

The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act passed the House earlier this week on a 234-190, mostly party-line vote. The bill, which contains major cuts to discretionary and entitlement programs over the next decade, has drawn a veto threat from President Obama. It will likely be voted on Friday in the Senate, where it is expected to fail and where the atmosphere in recent days has been more bipartisan and cooperative. Still, the House is not expected to give up on Cut, Cap, and Balance easily, and this week’s vote in the Senate will be an important marker to determine how much support the House’s approach has in the Senate.  For more details on the provisions of the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, see our previous blog post: https://childrensmonitor.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/house-and-senate-embark-on-divergent-debt-ceiling-plans/

In the Senate, support for the Gang of Six plan issued earlier this week has been steadily gaining, with several dozen Senators publicly endorsing the plan, including at least 15 Republicans. However, putting the plan into legislative language and passing it through Congress would take longer than the 12 remaining days between now and the deadline for a deal. That means that a short-term increase might be necessary. President Obama had earlier threatened to veto a short-term increase, but this week his spokesman said that he would consider signing one if there was an agreement in place for a longer-term solution that just needed more time to be passed. For more information on the specifics of the Gang of Six plan, see https://childrensmonitor.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/senate-%e2%80%9cgang-of-six%e2%80%9d-reunited-issues-debt-ceiling-proposal/.

Finally, there have been many reports that the President and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are close to a comprehensive deal that would include tax reform along with discretionary and entitlement cuts. The White House pushed back against those reports today, saying they are not close to a deal. Even if the President and Speaker do cut a deal, passing it through the House could prove to be very difficult since opposition to any revenue enhancements among conservatives is strong.

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