By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, July 18 – With few signs of movement over the weekend on President Obama’s self-imposed 36-hour deadline for a plan to raise the nation’s debt limit and cut spending, House and Senate leaders are moving ahead on separate tracks.
House Republican leaders are focusing on the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill which is scheduled for a Tuesday vote. The legislation would cut $111 billion in fiscal year 2012, cap spending at 19.9 percent of gross domestic product by 2021 and would authorize a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit after Congress passes a balanced budget amendment.
The Democratic-controlled Senate may vote Wednesday on a balanced budget amendment, but much of the focus has been on a contingency plan advanced by Ranking Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
That plan would allow Obama to increase the debt limit in three separate increments of $700 billion, $900 billion and $900 billion, respectively. At each step, Congress could vote on a resolution to disapprove the increase, which Obama could then veto. The measure is likely to be linked to at least $1.5 trillion in spending cuts.
Republicans could all vote to block the increase, but the president would be almost assured of getting the debt limit authority he sought, because it would be difficult to find two-thirds majorities in both chambers to override his veto.
Some GOP Senators voiced skeptisim about McConnell’s “Plan B” during Sunday talk shows.
Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, said he would not vote for the proposal as it currently stands. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who appeared on the same show, said McConnell’s plan takes the pressure off politicians, but “allows us to pass a debt limit without making the hard choices.”
Coburn plans to unveil a $9 trillion deficit reduction plan on Monday morning.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.,also appeared on “Face the Nation” and was asked by Bob Schieffer whether on not there is going to be a deal in place by Aug. 2.
“Let me tell you when the door is closed and the cameras are off, every leader sitting down with the President said we cannot default on America’s debt. If we call into question the full faith and credit of the United States for the first time in our history, interest rates will go up and this recession will get worse. We’ll lose jobs and businesses will fail. Now when you open the room, people, you know, make all kind of statements before the cameras. But I’ll tell you this. The bottom line is we can do it. We need to
do it on a bipartisan basis. Tom and I are committed to a long-term solution. There are some hard choices here. But let us not default on America’s debt for the first time in history and cause this economy to go further downhill.”
For more events this week:
Monday July 18, 2011:
The Senate and the House are in session at 2 p.m.
10:00 a.m. MDT, The House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will hold a hearing entitled “Are Excessive Energy Regulations and Policies Limiting Energy Independence, Killing Jobs, and Increasing Prices for Consumers?” City Hall Auditorium, 250 North 5th Street, Grand Junction CO 81501.
USDA Reports: Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook
Soil and Water Conservation Society’s 66th International Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. July 17-20.
Tuesday July 19, 2011:
10:30 a.m., Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a full committee hearing to receive testimony on the recent report of the MIT Energy Initiative entitled, “The Future of Natural Gas”. 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
USDA Reports: Milk Production
Farm Foundation Forum: What’s driving food prices in 2011. 9-11 am, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Wednesday July 20, 2011:
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry will hold a hearing entitled, “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of USDA Energy and Forestry Programs. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing entitled, “Yellowstone River Oil Spill Oversight”. 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
USDA Reports: Catfish Feed Deliveries, Broiler Hatchery, Catfish Processing
Thursday July 21, 2011:
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture, will hold a hearing entitled, “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of Title IV Nutrition Programs”. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a full committee hearing entitled, “Legislative Issues for Transportation Reauthorization”. 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a full committee business meeting to consider S. 916, the Oil and Gas Facilitation Act of 2011 and S. 917, the Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2011. 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
USDA Reports: U.S. Export Sales, Citrus: World Markets and Trade, Wheat Data, Feed Grains Database
Friday July 22, 2011:
USDA Reports: Dairy Products and Prices, Livestock Slaughter, Peanut Prices, Cold Storage, Chicken and Eggs, Cattle, Cattle on Feed, Catfish Production
To add your event to our calendar, please contact: Sara@agri-pulse.com
For other Agri-Pulse news stories, go to: http://www.agri-pulse.com/