Washington Week Ahead: Debt drama continues to unfold
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, July 24- With just nine days before the Aug. 2nd deadline that U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says will trigger a default on federal debt, lawmakers are still struggling to come up with a compromise that can pass the House and Senate and meet President Obama's approval.
The president met with key lawmakers for a 50-minute meeting on Saturday morning, but negotiations shifted back to Congress, as House Speaker John Boehner convened his own meeting. Boehner met with Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Ranking Minority Member Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Saturday evening.
Boehner is scheduled to brief House GOP members on the status of negotiations later today.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Boehner said he was continuing to work on a framework within the principles of the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The Ohio Republican said it will be a two-stage process because “it's just not physically possible to do all of this in one step.”
Although Boehner offered few details, Hill sources expect the plan to make immediate cuts and raise the debt ceiling enough to suffice until early next year, when there would be some type of mechanism to make more cuts and raise the debt ceiling again.
But appearing on the same show, Geithner said any package that would require action on the debt ceiling in 2012, prior to the presidential election, “makes no sense.”
“The idea that we're going to spend another seven months lifting the cloud of default from the American economy, it seems like an irresponsible approach,” Geithner said. “It would be bad for the economy. And we don't think that makes sense -- and there's no reason why we have to do it that way.”
Still, Geithner expressed confidence that some type of agreement would be reached to avoid default.
“Remember, the Speaker of the House and Sen. McConnell have been absolutely clear, they are not going to let this country default.”
Boehner agreed that the the need to do something about controlling the debt is “hanging over our entire economy like a wet blanket.
Sunday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Leader Nancy Pelosi met with President Obama at the White House and signaled that Congressional Democracts are now trying to map out their own plan, separate from Speaker Boehner.
“Tonight, talks broke down over Republicans' continued insistence on a short-term raise of the debt ceiling, which is something that President Obama, Leader Pelosi and I have been clear we would not support,” said Reid in a statement. “A short-term extension would not provide the certainty the markets are looking for, and risks many of the same dire economic consequences that would be triggered by default itself. Speaker Boehner's plan, no matter how he tries to dress it up, is simply a short-term plan, and is therefore a non-starter in the Senate and with the President.
“In an effort to reach a bipartisan compromise, we are putting together a $2.7 trillion deficit reduction package that meets Republicans' two major criteria: it will include enough spending cuts to meet or exceed the amount of a debt ceiling raise through the end of 2012, and it will not include revenues. We hope Speaker Boehner will abandon his ‘my way or the highway' approach, and join us in forging a bipartisan compromise along these lines.”
This story was updated at 9 pm. Sunday. Agri-Pulse will continue to keep you updated as the debt discussions unfold.
For more events this week:
Monday July 25, 2011:
3:00 p.m., House Committee on Rules will hold a hearing on H.R. 1938 “North American-Made Energy Security Act”. H-313 The Capitol.
USDA Reports: Poultry Slaughter
Tuesday July 26, 2011:
9:30 a.m., Secretary Vilsack will give the keynote at the DOE Biomass 2011 Conference in Washington, DC.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands will hold a Legislative Hearing on H.R. 2578 and H.R. 1581. 1334 Longworth House Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Finance, will hold a hearing entitled, “Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: A Review of Key Issues”. 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security will hold a hearing entitled, “The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform”. 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
1:30 p.m., House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs will hold a hearing entitled, “Lights Out: How EPA Regulation Threaten Affordable Power and Job Creation”. 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.
2:00 p.m., House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Oversight Hearing on “NOAA's Fishery Science: Is the Lack of Basic Science Costing Jobs?” 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
USDA Reports: Monthly Milk Cost of Production
Wednesday July 27, 2011:
10:00 a.m., Congress Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Maximizing America's Prosperity: How Fiscal Rules can Restrain Federal Overspending”. 216 Hart Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Natural Resources, will hold a full committee oversight hearing entitled, “State Perspectives on Offshore Revenue Sharing” 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, will hold a hearing entitled, “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of the Title 1 and the SURE Program”. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
10:30 a.m., Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard will hold a hearing entitled, “Defending U.S. Economic Interests in the Changing Arctic: Is There a Strategy?” 253 Russell Senate Office Building.
1:00 p.m., House Small Business Committee will hold a hull committee hearing entitled, “Bureaucratic obstacles for Small Exporters: Is our National Export Strategy Working?” 2360 Rayburn House Office Building.
USDA Reports: Broiler Hatchery, Agricultural Chemical Usage- Vegetables
Thursday July 28, 2011:
9:30 a.m., Senate Committee on Agriculture will hold hearings to examine the nomination of Brian T. Baenig, of the District of Columbia, to be Assistant Secretary of Agriculture; to be immediately followed by a hearing to examine opportunities for specialty crops and organics in the farm bill. G 50 Dirksen Senate 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 Research Programs”. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Aviation Operations, Safety, an Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled, “Aviation Fuels: Needs, Challenges, and Alternatives”. 253 Russell Senate Office Building.
2:00 p.m., The Senate Committee on Appropriations, Financial Services Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Federal Disaster Assistance, entitled “Are We Weather-Ready?” The hearing will examine the role of the Federal Government in mitigating the economic impact of severe weather events through long-term budgetary planning. 138 Dirsken Senate Office Building.
USDA Reports: U.S. Export Sales
Friday July 29, 2011:
USDA Reports: Dairy Products Prices, Agricultural Prices, Egg Products, Peanut Prices, Peanut Stocks and Processing, Fruit & Tree Nuts Outlook
To add your event to our calendar, please contact: Sara@agri-pulse.com
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