Heidi Przybyla and Kate Andersen Brower
July 31, 2011
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders began a fresh attempt to reach agreement on raising the U.S. debt cap, with a potential framework for a deal emerging two days before a threatened default deadline.
The White House and congressional Republicans have sketched out the contours of an agreement to increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling that would raise borrowing authority through the next presidential election, a person familiar with the talks said late last night.
The tentative framework includes immediate spending cuts of $1 trillion and creation of a special committee to recommend additional savings of up to $1.8 trillion later this year. The new panel would have to act before the Thanksgiving congressional recess in late November and Congress would have to approve its recommendations by late December or government departments and programs, including defense and Medicare, would face automatic, across-the-board cuts, the person said.
No more than 4 percent of Medicare would be subject to cuts, and beneficiaries would be unaffected as reductions would apply to providers, the person said. Social Security would be untouched.