SHINGTON – After weeks of partisan battles, President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress seem to get close on Saturday, a last-minute compromise to prevent the U.S. government is not found in default on Tuesday.
According to officials with the negotiations and who requested anonymity, the two sides were discussing a bill to adopt a higher debt ceiling of about $ 2.4 trillion and spending cuts slightly higher and over two-fold.
The first part – about $ 1 billion – would come into force immediately and the second part later in 2011. Congress should also vote on a constitutional amendment related to a balanced budget, but the increase in the debt ceiling would not be conditional on the adoption of this amendment.
An official said that both sides had agreed on the general framework of an agreement, but many details remained to be addressed – and there was no guarantee that a final agreement would take place.
In a speech of great importance ruled on the Senate floor earlier Saturday night, the Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, said there were still many details to work out, and still a good distance to cross.
But the fact that according to the senator, talks were held in the White House and, according to Mr. Reid, progress had been made suggesting that the U.S. may succeed in avoiding a situation of default payment.
No responsible for the White House has commented on these developments, nor the Republican minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, Republican majority leader and the House of Representatives, John Boehner.
Earlier Saturday, there was yet no clear demonstration that progress had been made, only expressions of anxiety in the faces of legislators to the possibility of growing more and more that the economy is mired in a potentially catastrophic situation.
He remained as three days before the deadline to raise the debt ceiling. If a bill is not passed by Tuesday, the Treasury will run out of money to pay all the bills in the country, according to administration officials. A default could be catastrophic for the economy of the United States and create a shockwave else on the planet.
“We are totally committed, the president (John Boehner) and myself, with the only person among 307 million citizens of the United States can sign a bill to become law”, said Mitch McConnell, in referring to Barack Obama, during a press conference held jointly with Mr. Boehner on Saturday.
“I am confident and optimistic of reaching an agreement in the very near future and resolve the crisis in the best interests of the American people.”
But the optimism of Mr. McConnell had led a rather sharp reply from Harry Reid.
“This is not true,” commented Democratic Senator from the State of Nevada, he left a meeting with Obama and the Democratic minority leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
Adding to the confusion, the White House would not comment on the developments of the day, so the prospects for compromise seemed increasingly bleak.
In addition, the Senate was headed for a vote the test, about 1 am Sunday morning on a bill to raise the debt ceiling while reducing expenses by $ 2.4 trillion. This vote was later pushed back Sunday afternoon to 13 pm.
This measure by Mr. Reid received opposition from Republicans, who promised to block it.
The proposal was rejected 173 votes to 246 against in the House of Representatives, after a heated debate punctuated by harsh and partisan remarks.
Before the vote in the House, the Republicans had argued that the plan of Mr. Reid was full of tricks and that he unfairly cut in the Pentagon budget.
“It offers no viable solution to address the lack of control on expenditures,” said Alan Nunnelee, one of the 87 Republicans elected in the mid-mandate in favor of more drastic cuts.
The Democrats did not seem convinced of the value of the project, although several have emerged from a closed-door meeting saying they would support it, thus proving their willingness to compromise by agreeing to reduce expenses without raising taxes.
The Republicans argue that the federal deficit problem should be resolved without further dipping into the pockets of taxpayers and businesses, even those of the wealthiest Americans and oil companies.
“We have very little time,” said Obama, during his weekly radio address Saturday.
Barack Obama wants Congress passes a law that would allow him to raise enough debt ceiling of the United States, which currently stands at $ 14.3 trillion, so that the Treasury is no shortage of funds by the presidential elections in late 2012.
He threatened to exercise its right of veto against any legislation that would open the door to another crisis like the one raging now before the start of 2012 but agreed at the request of Republicans, to make budget cuts without increasing taxes in exchange for greater borrowing capacity.