The debt limit crisis is over.President Barack Obama signed a bill to increase the borrowing ceiling just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, hours after the Senate voted on the bill.
The legislation also includes $917 billion in spending cuts, and plans for a bipartisan “Super Committee” to draw up an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit later this year.
2:23pm | McConnell defence “Super Committee”
McConnell: “This is not kicking the can down the road. [The commission] will have to report by November 23rd.”
1:50pm | Speaker of the House John Boehner’s statement on the Senate vote:
“This is a positive step forward that begins to rein in federal spending, but it’s only a step. We should save the celebration for when a Balanced Budget Amendment is ratified, the deficit is fixed, and our economy has returned to creating jobs.
“I congratulate my friend Senator McConnell on his remarkable leadership in guiding this legislation through the Senate.”
1:39pm | White House Briefing.
Press Secretary Jay Carney says the White House is hopeful a balanced deal will emerge from the super committee — noting that 20 GOP Senators backed the “Gang of Six” proposal which would have raised taxes.
Carney: we’ve made “great strides” toward a deal including revenues.
1:21pm | Statement from Nancy Pelosi.
“It was a bitter pill to swallow but we did an in doing so we saved Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”
Pelosi: “We need Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. I can’t say it enough.”
Pelosi said there may be a deal to reauthorize FAA today.
Pelosi, when asked what’s good about the debt deal: “It’s over.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: FAA atandoff example of how GOP works: They were prepared to let US default, and to “walk away” without resolving FAA reauth.
1:15pm | Full statement from Fitch affirming U.S. AAA rating:
“Fitch Ratings says that, as it expected, agreement was reached on an increase in the United States’ debt ceiling and, commensurate with its ‘AAA’ rating, the risk of sovereign default remains extremely low. While the agreement is clearly a step in the right direction, the United States, as in much of Europe, must also confront tough choices on tax and spending against a weak economic back drop if the budget deficit and government debt is to be cut to safer levels over the medium term.”
1:05pm | Obama’s remarks on the debt limit vote:
Obama thanks the American people for “keeping up the pressure” on Congress.
Obama: This compromise guarantees more than 2 trillion of deficit reduction
“This is however just the first step”
Obama says we need a “balanced approach” to cuts in the super committee.
Obama: I’ve said it before, I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the people who have bore the brunt of this
Obama: With so many headwinds, nation didn’t need this “manufactured crisis”
Obama: We need to begin by extending tax cuts for middle class families so that you have more money in your paychecks next year.
Obama: We can cut the red tape that stops too many inventors & entrepreneurs from quickly turning new ideas into thriving businesses.
Obama calls FAA shutdown “another Washington inflicted wound on America”
Obama: it shouldn’t take the risk of default or economic catastrophe to get folks in this town to do their jobs.
Obama: We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy & put America back to work.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “It’s time for jobs to be moved back to the frontburner.”
12:42pm | Final tally is 74-26.
45 Democrats vote yes, 28 Republicans vote yes, 1 independent votes yes. 19 Republicans vote no, 6 Democrats vote no, 1 independent votes no
6 Dems voting No – Gillibrand NY, Harkin IA, Lautenberg NJ, Menendez NJ, Merkley OR, Nelson NE; 1 Ind – Sanders VT
The vote continues, but more than the required 60 votes have voted in favour of the bill.
12:17pm | The vote has started.
60 votes are required to pass.
12:07pm | Reid speaking.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Our country was literally on the verge of disaster, on the brink of disaster. With one day left, we are able to avert it.”
Reid: “The product we have here is one of compromise. The winners here are the American people”
Reid says direction of Congress with tea party members is “very, very disconcerting, and very unfair to the American people.”
Reid is now attacking the Bush tax cuts
Reid: “The American people are not impressed with no new revenue,” says Reid. “The richest of the rich have contributed nothing to this.”
Reid: “We need to have a fair approach to this joint committee.” Members must have “open minds.”
Reid: “has to be equal spending cuts, there has to be some revenue that matches that.”
Reid: “Republicans have distracted Congress from its most important job – creating jobs – for far too long.”
Reid says the “Super Committee” must raise revenues or the “triggers will kick in.” This can probably be read as a threat.
11:55am | Senate leaders to speak before vote.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “The push and pull Americans saw in Washington this week was not for naught. This was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out.”
McConnell: This is the kind of balance Americans voted for in November
McConnell: This “creates an entirely new template” for raising the debt limit. This is a “A new way of doing business in Washington.”
McConnell: “never again will any President, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling w/out being held accountable”
McConnell: “This is no small feat when you consider…last week the President was still demanding tax hikes” as part of debt ceiling debate.
McConnell: This plan “it ensures the debate over a balanced budget amendment continues, and that it gets a vote. “
McConnell says he will name “serious people” with the “best interests of American people” to the Super Committee.
McConnell thanks Reid for cutting a debt deal with him. It got ugly but “it’s never, ever personal.”
McConnell: “This bill does not solve the problem. But it forces Washington to admit that it has one. And it puts us on the path to recovery”
The Washington Post reports it will sharpen the ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans, meaning we are in for a year of intense rhetoric. Read the full story here.
10:34am | In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Sen. John McCain says the debt deal will pass the Senate.
McCain said that the deal will pass the Senate and that “it is not something I would have written, but it is a step forward.”
9:41am | Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the debt deal:
“My conscience is conflicted.”
He laments the lack of revenue increases in the bill.
He says he will vote for the debt limit deal “with a heavy heart”
That effectively rules out any “Gang of Six” Senators, and sets the stage for a major tax reform battle later this year in the committee and in Congress writ large.
9:10am | Will they downgrade?
That’s the question of the day.
S&P would likely be the first ratings agency to consider a downgrade, after publicly demanding a $4 trillion deficit reduction deal for the nation to maintain its AAA rating. The deal to be voted on today clocks in at just $2.5 trillion, though the bipartisan “Super Committee” could in theory push for deeper cuts.
Top Democrats are waging a campaign to discredit the agencies if they move forward with their threat to downgrade the U.S. debt.
“Hard to imagine that guys who had an A rating on [Lehman] the day before it collapsed will have any credibility if they downgrade the US,” one official told POLITICO’s Ben White.
8:23am | After today’s vote, congressional leaders will have two weeks to select members for the “Super Committee.”
That group of 12 lawmakers will be charged with coming up with $1.5 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit by November 23, 2011. Congress will have until December 23, 2011 to act before mandatory spending cuts are set into motion.
8:10am | Good morning.
The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. today for a vote on raising the debt limit at around noon.
The vote is expected to pass by a wide margin, with the debt limit bill to be signed by President Barack Obama later today.
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