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Monday, July 25, 2011

Lawmakers Play Chicken In Debt Ceiling Debate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Capitol Hill, Washington. (AP)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Capitol Hill, Washington, Saturday. (AP)

Who will blink first? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he is crafting a deal that would cut spending by $2.7 trillion to make up for the $2.4 trillion increase in government borrowing.

Republicans say they doubt those cuts are achievable and House Speaker John Boehner favors a two-step process with $1.2 trillion in cuts and spending caps immediately and a $900 billion debt ceiling increase. That would be followed by the creation of a congressional committee that would find an additional $2 trillion in cuts through 2013.

If an agreement is not reached by Aug. 2, the U.S. won’t have cash to pay all its bills. Economic analysts say that could have a catastrophic impact on financial markets.


  • Jay Newton-Small, Time magazine congressional correspondent

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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