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Archive for July 30th, 2011

Debt ceiling crisis: Enough blame to go around

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 30 - 2011 Comments Off on Debt ceiling crisis: Enough blame to go around

By Juanita Bratcher


If you’ve been watching the debt ceiling crisis debate and negotiations on Capitol Hill, by now you’ve heard various plans being tossed around to solve the crisis, word phrases from politicians that change sometimes on a daily basis, and blunt and pointless talk from legislators (the “wheelers and dealers” responsible for solving the debt ceiling crisis) pointing fingers and blaming each other.

America’s credit is on the line and the American people are wondering what the heck is going on. Why can’t these elected officials that we sent to Washington, DC to keep America thriving and at its best playing political games? And some from a childish or spoiler’s standpoint?

Yet, very little, if any, valid compromising has been made between opposing factions on what should be done to ward-off what would be a devastating crisis if America can’t pay its debts and take care of its obligations. This crisis should have been cleared up long before now so that efforts could move forward in making inroads in dealing with the economy and job creation, among other things.

Now, just a few days before the deadline of August 2, 2011 there is still a stalemate, impasse between the two (Democrats and Republicans) or is it the three factions (including the Tea Partyers?)

On Friday (July 29, 2011), House Speaker John Boehner was successful in passing a bill after failed attempts to get the 218 votes needed.

Under Boehner’s plan, the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling would have increased. The debt limit would have increased by $900 billion, a proposed $917 billion in reductions in projected government spending, and another vote by Congress on the debt issue in six months.

Boehner’s plan passed 218 (all Republicans) to 210. No Democrats voted for the bill. But even when voting on the bill, Boehner knew it had no chance of becoming law. Days earlier, 53 Democrats had signed a letter vowing to vote against Boehner’s plan. And even if it had passed the Senate, the bill was facing a DOA from President Barack Obama.

In a statement to the nation Friday (July 29, 2011), prior to the vote on Boehner’s plan, President Obama called on Congress to compromise to avoid defaulting on the Nation’s debt and calling on the American people to make their voices heard in this debate.

 “Right now, the House of Representatives is still trying to pass a bill that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already said they won’t vote for.  It’s a plan that would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months, holding our economy captive to Washington politics once again,” said Obama. “In other words, it does not solve the problem, and it has no chance of becoming law.”

The president went on to say that “What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan.  It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people -– not just one faction.  It will have to have the support of both the House and the Senate.” (President Obama’s complete statement is posted on CopyLine’s website) 

Shortly after Boehner’s plan passed the House it was tabled in the Senate by a 59 (53 Democrats and six Republicans) to 41 vote. Then the focus turned to Senate Leader Harry Reid’s plan, one that provides for the government to continue paying its debt until after the November 2012 election. However, Democrat leaders in a press conference said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had declined to negotiate with them.

The clock is ticking away towards August 2. It’s time to put the country first, and stop playing gamesmanship politics that stands to erode America’s good credit rating, lead to economic collapse and stiffen America’s means to fulfill its obligations.

President Obama’s statement on debt negotiations

Posted by Admin On July - 30 - 2011 Comments Off on President Obama’s statement on debt negotiations

President Obama delivered a statement (July 29, 2011) once again calling on Congress to compromise to avoid defaulting on the Nation’s debt and calling on the American people to make their voices heard in this debate.


(The president’s statement was made prior to Boehner’s plan passing in the House and shortly afterwards being tabled in the Senate). The President’s statement follows:


Good morning, everybody.  I want to speak about the ongoing and increasingly urgent efforts to avoid default and reduce our deficit.

Right now, the House of Representatives is still trying to pass a bill that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already said they won’t vote for.  It’s a plan that would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months, holding our economy captive to Washington politics once again.  In other words, it does not solve the problem, and it has no chance of becoming law.  

What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan.  It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people -– not just one faction.  It will have to have the support of both the House and the Senate.  And there are multiple ways to resolve this problem.  Senator Reid, a Democrat, has introduced a plan in the Senate that contains cuts agreed upon by both parties.  Senator McConnell, a Republican, offered a solution that could get us through this.  There are plenty of modifications we can make to either of these plans in order to get them passed through both the House and the Senate and would allow me to sign them into law.  And today I urge Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support — that can get support from both parties in the House –- a plan that I can sign by Tuesday. 

Now, keep in mind, this is not a situation where the two parties are miles apart.  We’re in rough agreement about how much spending can be cut responsibly as a first step toward reducing our deficit.  We agree on a process where the next step is a debate in the coming months on tax reform and entitlement reform –- and I’m ready and willing to have that debate.  And if we need to put in place some kind of enforcement mechanism to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, I’ll support that too if it’s done in a smart and balanced way.   

So there are plenty of ways out of this mess.  But we are almost out of time.  We need to reach a compromise by Tuesday so that our country will have the ability to pay its bills on time, as we always have — bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.  Keep in mind, if we don’t do that, if we don’t come to an agreement, we could lose our country’s AAA credit rating, not because we didn’t have the capacity to pay our bills — we do — but because we didn’t have a AAA political system to match our AAA credit rating.

And make no mistake -– for those who say they oppose tax increases on anyone, a lower credit rating would result potentially in a tax increase on everyone in the form of higher interest rates on their mortgages, their car loans, their credit cards.  And that’s inexcusable.

There are a lot of crises in the world that we can’t always predict or avoid -– hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks.  This isn’t one of those crises.  The power to solve this is in our hands.  And on a day when we’ve been reminded how fragile the economy already is, this is one burden we can lift ourselves.   We can end it with a simple vote –- a vote that Democrats and Republicans have been taking for decades, a vote that the leaders in Congress have taken for decades.

It’s not a vote that allows Congress to spend more money.  Raising the debt ceiling simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.  I want to emphasize that.  The debt ceiling does not determine how much more money we can spend, it simply authorizes us to pay the bills we already have racked up.  It gives the United States of America the ability to keep its word. 

Now, on Monday night, I asked the American people to make their voice heard in this debate, and the response was overwhelming.  So please, to all the American people, keep it up.  If you want to see a bipartisan compromise -– a bill that can pass both houses of Congress and that I can sign — let your members of Congress know.  Make a phone call.  Send an email.  Tweet.  Keep the pressure on Washington, and we can get past this.

And for my part, our administration will be continuing to work with Democrats and Republicans all weekend long until we find a solution.  The time for putting party first is over.  The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now.  And I am confident that we can solve this problem.  I’m confident that we will solve this problem.  For all the intrigue and all the drama that’s taking place on Capitol Hill right now, I’m confident that common sense and cooler heads will prevail.

But as I said earlier, we are now running out of time.  It’s important for everybody to step up and show the leadership that the American people expect.

Thank you. 

P.S. Check out this infographic to find out how we accumulated so mach national debt in the first place:

See the Chart

What happens if we don’t raise the debt ceiling?

Posted by Admin On July - 30 - 2011 Comments Off on What happens if we don’t raise the debt ceiling?

Worth Repeating


(From the Office of  U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Representing the 2nd District of Illinois)


July has been a busy month here on Capitol Hill, one reason being the debate over increasing the debt limit. This debate isn’t just empty, partisan rhetoric – the outcome will have a real impact on every American family. I want to explain to you what these discussions are about, and more importantly what it will mean for you and your family.

What is the debt ceiling?

The debt ceiling is the legal limit on borrowing by the federal government. Prior to World War I, Congress had to approve any borrowing to finance the federal government’s operations on an individual basis. As the nation entered the War, lawmakers agreed to give the federal government approval on most types of borrowing so long as it did not total more than the legal limit approved by Congress.

The current debt limit is $14.294 trillion.

Why does the nation have so much debt?

The nation has always held a notable amount of debt. During the last decade, the national debt soared an additional $4.36 trillion due to the debt-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, increases in defense spending, the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 and the Medicare Prescription drug plan. Decreased tax revenue as well as emergency spending such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have also caused the nation’s increased debt.

Why should we raise the ceiling?

While we reached the ceiling on May 16th of this year, the U.S. Treasury has engaged in a number of methods to prevent us from failing to meet our financial commitments. On August 2, without being able to borrow more funds, our nation will essentially no longer be able to pay our bills.

The Federal government incurs debt in order to fully finance vital domestic programs, fund our troops in combat and pay interest on outstanding loans. Without an increase in the current borrowing limits, the federal government will be unable to meet these and other obligations.

What happens if we do not raise the debt ceiling?

Business leaders and economists agree that a failure to raise the debt ceiling will have a catastrophic effect on our economic recovery and the international and domestic markets. The debt ceiling has been raised by Congress nearly one hundred times since it was established during the first World War, so there is no precedent for a situation in which it has not been raised.

However, if a compromise cannot be reached and the Treasury Department is unable to pay our debt obligations or increase the nation’s legal borrowing limit, economists predict a number of events may occur:

The Federal government will be unable to pay nearly one-third of its current spending and may also be unable to pay interest on the nation’s debt. U.S. stocks and bonds will lose value. Credit rating agencies, like Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s will likely downgrade the United States’ AAA credit rating. Interest rates will rise for credit cards, mortgages and other loans, affecting the day to day life of every American. Businesses may lose faith in the government’s ability to pay its debts and will be less likely to invest in new development and job creation.

As the strongest economy in the world, if our nation falters, other nations will likely follow jeopardizing the fragile international economic recovery. We cannot afford to let this happen.

Why is this issue controversial now?

You may have heard a lot of talk in the media lately about the federal debt ceiling. Some Members of Congress are willing to play a high-stakes game of chicken with our economic recovery, threatening not to raise the ceiling unless they can tie it to damaging, politically-motivated budget cuts.

Congress has consistently raised the debt ceiling without controversy. In fact, since 1980, the debt ceiling has been raised 39 times. Congressional leaders of both parties agree that failing to raise the debt ceiling would have tremendous consequences for our economy. Yet, a deal has not been reached by Congressional leaders and the Obama Administration that both parties can support that does not threaten our economic recovery or any of the vital social safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

I hope this was helpful in explaining the debt ceiling issue. I’ll keep fighting to make sure we avoid this major hit to our economic recovery and without cuts to important federal programs that benefit individuals throughout the 2nd Congressional District. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with additional questions or if we can be of service to you in any way.


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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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