Washington Week Ahead: Lawmakers reach a (tentative) debt deal, here's the framework

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, July 31-While noting that it's not completely done yet, President Barack Obama told the American people Sunday night during a special televised briefing that “leaders of both parties have found their way to compromise” on an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default on the federal debt.


The framework builds upon earlier proposals advanced by both House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, and Ranking Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.  


Over the last few days, Boehner's bill passed the House but was nixed in the Senate and Reid's bill was killed in the House. The U.S. Senate also rejected Reid's bill on Sunday.


The vote to end the filibuster on the Reid bill failed 50-49, with only Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown joining Democrats in support of the measure. A handful of Democrats joined Republicans in defeating his plan, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV., Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

 Together we can feed the Bees


The compromise framework includes a two-part spending cut process that would enforce about $1 trillion in spending caps over the next 10 years, balanced between defense and non-defense spending. The package would also create a special bipartisan congressional committee that could propose significantly larger cuts worth another $1.5 trillion later this year, including cuts in entitlement spending and tax reform.


This committee is required to report legislation by Nov. 23, 2011, which receives fast track protections, according to a White House document. Congress is required to vote on the Committee's recommendations by Dec. 23, 2011.


If the Committee fails to win approval, an enforcement mechanism would trigger spending reductions beginning in 2013, which would be split between domestic and defense spending. Social Security, Medicare and low income programs would be protected, according to the White House document. To view the document, click:


The president would be authorized to increase the debtl limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until after the next presidential election.


The plan also requires that each chamber hold votes on a balance budget amendment, something that House GOP members backed last week, but which has failed to secure enough votes in the Senate.


Both Reid and McConnell are expected to brief their respective caucuses Monday morning. And both they, and Speaker Boehner, will face the tough task of trying to find enough support for the “grand compromise” before the White House says the federal government must increase the debt ceiling on Tuesday, August 2.


“To pass this settlement, we'll need the support of Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate,” said Majority Leader Reid. “There is no way either party - in either chamber - can do this alone. As President Lyndon Johnson said, “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.”


“Democrats and Republicans have rarely needed to come together more than today,” he added.


For a list of other hearings and meetings this week:


Monday August 1, 2011:


The Senate and the House are in session at 2 p.m.


USDA Reports: Dairy Products, Crop Progress


Tuesday August 2, 2011:


10:00 a.m., Senate committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled, “Review of NRC's Near-Term Task Force Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century”. 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.


USDA Reports: Family Production Expenditures


Wednesday August 3, 2011:


10:00 a.m., House Committee on Ways & Means will hold a hearing on Energy Tax Policy and Tax Reform. The hearing will focus on the questions of whether energy policy should be conducted through the tax code, and if so, how best to design provisions that advance the principles of both sustainable energy policy and tax reform. 1100 Longworth House Office Building.


10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture will hold a hearing entitled, “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of USDA Rural Development Programs”. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.


11:45 a.m. CDT, Secretary Vilsack will give remarks to the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, WI

2:00 p.m. CDT, Secretary Vilsack and SBA Administrator Karen Mills will hold a New Markets, New Jobs: Small Business event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to support the President's National Export Initiative and to help connect small- and medium-sized businesses with the resources they need to sell more of what they make in markets overseas.

2:30 p.m., Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 1024, S. 1090, S. 1144, S. 1149, S. 1344.  S.1024, to designate the Organ Mountains and other public land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System and the National Landscape Conservation System in the State of New Mexico, S.1090, to designate as wilderness certain public land in the Cherokee National Forest in the State of Tennessee, S.1144, to amend the Soda Ash Royalty Reduction Act of 2006 to extend the reduced royalty rate for soda ash, S.1149, to expand geothermal production, and S.1344, to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to take immediate action to recover ecologically and economically from a catastrophic wildfire in the State of Arizona. 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.


2:30 p.m., Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Children's Health and Environmental Responsibility will hold a hearing entitled, “Oversight Hearing on Federal Actions to Clean Up Contamination from Uranium Mining and Milling Operations”. 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.


USDA Reports: Broiler Hatchery


Thursday August 4, 2011:


9:00 a.m., House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, including how states engaged recipients in work activities that move them toward self-sufficiency. B-318 Rayburn House Office Building.


10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture will hold a hearing to review the causes and consequences of government over-regulation of agricultural biotechnology. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.


11:30 a.m. CDT, Secretary Vilsack will hold a Rural Forum in West Allis, Wisconsin with businesses leaders, farmers and ranchers to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs.


USDA Reports: U.S. Export Sales, Cash Rents, Land Values


Friday August 5, 2011:


USDA Reports: Dairy Products Prices, Peanut Prices


To add your event to our calendar, please contact: Sara@agri-pulse.com


For other Agri-Pulse news stories, go to: www.agri-pulse.com


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