Debt ceiling debate works toward contentious compromise
Updated: July 31, 2011 - 09:07 pm
As details began to emerge, one liberal organization, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, issued a statement that was harshly critical.
"Seeing a Democratic president take taxing the rich off the table and instead push a deal that will lead to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefit cuts is like entering a bizarre parallel universe - one with horrific consequences for middle-class families," it said.
While politically powerful business groups like the Chamber of Commerce are expected to support the deal, tea party organizations and others have looked disapprovingly on legislation that doesn't require approval of a balanced-budget amendment.
If they keep to that position, it could present Boehner a challenge in lining up enough votes to support a compromise, just as Obama may have to stand down rebels within his own party.
The day began with optimistic statements in televised interviews by McConnell and White House officials, then quickly reverted to a reminder of the fierce partisanship of the past several weeks.
Soon after the Senate convened, Republicans blocked legislation Reid had advanced several days ago as part of an outbreak of brinkmanship with Boehner and the Republicans. The vote was 50-49, or 10 short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill.
The vote was of no consequence in the fate of the separate efforts to avoid default.
Those talks were unfolding along lines determined by McConnell and Biden, and it was unclear how much more time would be needed.
On the Senate floor, Reid told lawmakers they could leave the Capitol while awaiting developments. "I would not suggest a ball game, though, maybe closer," he said.
A little over a mile away, on a hot, sunny Sunday, the Washington Nationals were playing host to the New York Mets.
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