Here's What's Happening

Tuesday, August 2 2:03 PM/ET: Done Deal

From NBC News:The President has signed the debt ceiling bill and it's now law, says the White House.

....and so it's a wrap for us here on the blog.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments. And if you should feel a bit let down from all this drama, just remember the words of the President, remember, we "may have chosen divided government, but (we) sure didn't vote for dysfunctional government."

Tuesday, August 2 1:58 PM/ET: And Just Like That ...

Senate Passes Debt Plan to Avert Default (New York Times)

Lester Lefkowitz | Stone | Getty Images

The Senate voted Tuesday to raise the government’s debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending, finally ending a fractious partisan battle just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out.

The bill, which passed 74 to 26 after a short debate devoid of the oratorical passion that had echoed through both chambers of Congress for weeks, was headed for the White House, where President Obama was poised to sign it immediately.

A few minutes later, Mr. Obama said he would sign the bill right away, but excoriated his opposition for what he called a manufactured crisis that could have been avoided. “ Voters may have chosen divided government,” he said, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”

No, Thank YOU!!

From NBC News:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement upon Senate passage of the Budget Control Act to cut spending and avoid default:

"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."

Tuesday, August 2 1:15 PM/ET: We're Not Yet Finished

Getty Images

President Barack Obama says the emergency bill Congress passed to prevent a government default is just the first step to ensuring the country lives within its means.

Speaking in the Rose Garden, Obama says lawmakers still need to find a balanced approach to reducing the deficit that includes some adjustments to Medicare and reforming the tax code so the wealthy pay more.

Obama spoke shortly after the Senate passed the bill to raise the debt ceiling and avert a potentially catastrophic default. The House approved the bill Monday.

The White House says Obama will sign the bill as soon as it lands on his desk.

Tuesday, August 2 12:50 PM/ET -Market Reaction


U.S. stocks extended losses and hit session lows after the Senate passed the bill to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 146.63 points, or 1.21 percent, to 11,985.86. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 19.22 points, or 1.49 percent, to 1,267.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 37.27 points, or 1.36 percent, to 2,707.34.

Track Stocks here on CNBC.com

Tuesday, August 2 12:46 PM/ET - Time To Hit The Showers

Chris Windsor | Digital Vision | Getty Images

Congress buried the specter of a U.S. debt default by finally passing a deficit-cutting package on Tuesday, but the shadow lingered of a possible painful downgrade of the top-notch American credit rating.

Just hours before the Treasury's authority to borrow funds ran out, the Senate voted 74 to 26 to pass a hard-won compromise to lift the government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling enough to last beyond the November 2012 elections.

President Barack Obama, who will seek a second term next year, was expected to immediately sign the deal into law, although without any White House ceremony.

His signature would draw the line under months of bitter partisan squabbling over debt and deficit strategy that had threatened chaos in global financial markets and dented America's stature as the world's economic superpower.

There was little suspense about the outcome of the vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The bill overcame its biggest hurdle late on Monday when the Republican-led House of Representatives passed the $2.1 trillion deficit-reduction plan despite some resistance from recalcitrant Tea Party conservatives and disappointed liberal Democrats.

Deep uncertainty remained, however, over whether the budget deal goes far enough in reining in deficits to satisfy major ratings agencies, which have threatened to downgrade the United States' AAA credit rating. Such a move would raise borrowing costs and act as another drag on the stumbling economy.

Ratings agency Standard and Poor's said in mid-July there was a 50-50 chance it would cut U.S. ratings in the next three months if lawmakers failed to craft a meaningful deficit-cutting plan.

S&P could downgrade U.S. ratings soon after the bill is signed by Obama, given that the agency will have all the information it needs to make a decision. (AP Wires)

Tuesday, August 2 12:46 PM/ET - Keeping Score

From NBC News:

7 Democrats voting against the bill:

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
  • Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

19 Republicans voting against the bill:

  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
  • Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Sen. Daniel Coats (R-IN)
  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT)
  • Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
  • Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
  • Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA)
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)

Independents voting against the bill:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Tuesday, August 2 12:43 PM/ET: Alert:The Senate has approved an emergency bill to avert a first-ever government default with just hours to spare.

The strong bipartisan vote was 74-26.

The measure now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. The legislation makes a down payment on taming out-of-control budget deficits.

Tuesday, August 2 12:35 PM/ET: Alert - Debt Deal Passes The Senate - President Obama Expected to Make Statement Shortly!

Tuesday, August 2 12:29 PM/ET: Alert - 60 senators sufficient to pass emergency debt limit bill vote for it, roll call continues

Tuesday, August 2 12:16 PM/ET: Debt Vote in the Senate is Underway NOW

Tuesday, August 2 11:42 PM/ET: We're Winding Down

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Woman biting lip
Max Oppenheim | Digital Vision | Getty Images
Woman biting lip

At least 61 senators say they will vote to support a deficit reduction package that will allow the government to continue to borrow, ensuring the Senate will pass the bill and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

According to a tally by The Associated Press, 61 senators have said they will vote to support the package, including 40 Democrats, 20 Republicans and independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. Twenty senators have said they will oppose it, while the rest are either undecided or haven't stated their position.

The Senate votes the package Tuesday afternoon. Without the legislation, the government's ability to borrow would run out at midnight. The bill is subject to a 60-vote threshold to advance.

So here's a brief re-cap of what's happening right now:

  • The Democratic-led Senate set to vote on the deal at noon EDT. The bill will head immediately to President Barack Obama for his signature.
  • Senate is debating the measure. It is expected to pass.
  • Obama plans no public signing ceremony for the bill. But he is to make a statement at the White House following the Senate votes on the bill. The statement is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. EDT.
  • Senate action comes after the Republican-led House of Representatives approved it on Monday night on a bipartisan vote of 269-161.
  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tells ABC News that the contentious battle over the debt limit and the threat of default had damaged confidence in the economy and that credit rating agencies would "take a careful look" at whether lawmakers have the will to reduce deficits.
  • Despite the deal that will increase government borrowing authority through the 2012 presidential election year, Wall Street still worries about a possible downgrade of the U.S. AAA credit rating. U.S. stock indices open lower on Tuesday.
  • You can watch the vote live here on CNBC - Click here .
  • Update: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other House Democratic leaders will hold a press conference to talk about "job creation" at 1pm in the Capitol

Tuesday, August 2 11:15 AM/ET: Wait, It Doesn't Matter?

If US Debt is Downgraded, Will Anyone Care? (CNBC.com)

Miguel S. Salmeron | Taxi | Getty Images

The United States could lose its triple-A credit rating from at least one rating agency this year, raising the question: Who cares? Strange as it may sound, a downgrade could resound in financial markets more with a whimper than a bang.

As debate raged in Washington over raising the debt ceiling and avoiding a default, markets had plenty of time to factor in the thinking of Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch on a potential downgrade.

"Market participants have the same information that ratings agencies do," said Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities America in New York. "(That information) should already be reflected in interest rates."

Tuesday, August 2 10:50 AM/ET: A Deal Forged By "Rational Adults"

C'mon, we all deserve a little levity. Here's Jon Stewart's take on what's happened so far.

Tuesday, August 2 10:35 AM/ET: This Just In: We're Not Happy.

Poll: Americans Deeply Dissatisfied with Congress; Eager to Elect Fresh Faces (NationalJournal.com)

Noel Hendrickson | Getty Images

Amidst a tumultuous fight over raising the debt ceiling, Americans are deeply dissatisfied with Washington and eager to elect fresh faces to Congress, raising warning flags for Democrats and Republicans alike. The poll showed discontent at about the same levels seen in the 2006 and 2010 “wave” elections.

The results appear in the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. When asked if they think “most members of Congress have done a good enough job to deserve reelection or do you think it’s time to give new people a chance?” 79 percent of respondents said it was time for new people and only 10 percent thought that most members are doing a good enough job to deserve reelection.

Tuesday, August 2 10:20 AM/ET: Taking Time to Smell the Roses?

From NBC News:

This afternoon at 12:15 pm, the President will deliver a statement to the press in the Rose Garden. The President's remarks are open press.

Update from NBC News:Per White House officials, the President's remarks from the Rose Garden this morning will be brief ...they will last less than 10 minutes.

Tuesday, August 2 10:15 AM/ET: The Tea Party Republicans "Jihad on the American People"

Tea Party’s War on America (Joe Nocera, NY Times Opinion Page)

Mrs. Potts from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"
Source: Disney
Mrs. Potts from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"

You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them.

These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.

Like ideologues everywhere, they scorned compromise. When John Boehner, the House speaker, tried to cut a deal with President Obama that included some modest revenue increases, they humiliated him. After this latest agreement was finally struck on Sunday night — amounting to a near-complete capitulation by Obama — Tea Party members went on Fox News to complain that it only called for $2.4 trillion in cuts, instead of $4 trillion. It was head-spinning.

Tuesday, August 2 10:10 AM/ET Have Your Say

Thought you'd like to see what some of our readers have to say about what's happening in DC:

majikco writes:These congressman and President are laughing at all of us like we are fools. There will be a budget bill passed and the debt ceiling will increase, this has been already decided months ago by congress. What this really is all about is election 2012, what better way to get free media exposure to sell one self to the dumb ass American people.

Apocalypse_Now writes:The whole congressional debt story is like being on the deck of the Titanic, trying to save myself, while the Captain is reading a poem and the band is playing. P.S. In that vision - CNBC is the band playing in the background. See you at the bottom!

Moweaqua writes:As usual, nothing is being done about the deficit. Both the president and congress are just "kicking the can further down the road" and and increasing exponentially the burden on later generations to clean up this mess !

pseudo-intellectual writes:“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” That says it all, doesn't it? Spend-and-tax, tax-and-spend.

JohnSteel writes: (re: Obama) ... The man is the most pathetic excuse for a leader in history. He is an even worse excuse for a Democrat. It is absurd when Tea Party types label him a socialist. The wealthy elite have no better friend. He is a traitor to this nation and the oath he swore. He should be arrested, tried and hung.

And my favorite — DoitYourself writes:Just wanted to say thanks to the writers for keeping this entertaining! Nice work on a miserable story.

Buy that reader a beer! Thanks to you all for your comments.

Tuesday, August 2 9:55 AM/ET: - Wanna Watch Your Senate in Action?

Click here to watch the Senate debate and (hopefully) vote on the Debt Bill

Tuesday, August 2 9:42 AM/ET: Joe Biden and the Art of the Deal

Vice President Joe Biden
Mandel Ngan | Getty Images
Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt deal (Politico.com)

He had given away his demand for a clean increase in the debt limit. He had given up on tax hikes on the rich and closing corporate loopholes. He had even given away billions in cuts to domestic programs close to his heart.

But by 4 p.m. Sunday — two days before the country would plunge into default — President Barack Obama drew the line against congressional Republicans who wanted assurances that defense spending would be cut less than many other programs.

“We just can’t give there,” Vice President Joe Biden, Obama’s chief emissary to the Hill in the budget negotiations, pointedly told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

With that, a grim Obama contemplated the unthinkable: pulling the plug on a deal and precipitating a global economic crisis. Huddled in the Oval Office, the president and his top aides proceeded to discuss how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner might step out later that night and prepare the country for the inevitable market crash.

Then, almost as abruptly, the compromise started coming together. What happened during a weekend of frenzied negotiations to salvage the deal is a tale of cataclysm narrowly averted, a historic debt-reduction plan that satisfies none of its signatories and a lesson on how even the most dysfunctional political system can be made functional through the injection of fear, finesse and Joe Biden’s old friendships.

Tuesday, August 9 9:33 AM/ET: FYI, The Senate is Now in Session

Vote is scheduled for Noon(ish)

Tuesday, August 2 9:30 AM/ET: Next Time on Jeopardy

Geithner Uncertain If US Credit Rating in Jeopardy (CNBC.com)

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he doesn't know if the bruising debt-limit battle will harm America's triple-A credit rating, but said he fears "world confidence was damaged by this spectacle."

Geithner told ABC News the credit rating is "not my judgment to make." But he also said "this is, in some ways, a judgment on the capacity of Congress to act."

He acknowledges the bill passed by the House Monday and pending in the Senate will not immediately relieve high unemployment. But Geithner said "this is a very strong, very resilient economy," and the new stability should allow the Obama administration to return to its heavy focus on job creation.

Tuesday, 7.30 am/ET: European Markets Shift Focus

European markets appear to have forgotten about the debt vote passed in the House on Tuesday morning, focusing instead on worries that Italy could be the next domino to fall in the European debt crisis and on the sharp slowdown in the US economy.

Marc Faber, editor and publisher of The Gloom Boom & Doom Report joined the chorus of disapproval over the debt ceiling impasse on Tuesday morning.

"The politicians are all useless individuals. Nobody is reducing the problems in the US or Europe, just putting on a band aid and postponing the problems endlessly," he told CNBC. "Some analysts think that there's a chance economic data will surprise on the upside but I think, if anything, it will be on the downside," Faber said.

But Dr. Harm Bandholz, chief US economist at Unicredit Research said in a note to clients that the fighting over how to cut spending had been worth it

“Despite entrenched positions, the parties were after all able to find a compromise. Second, the debate has highlighted how big the US debt problem really is, and that austerity measures are unavoidable,” he wrote.

Tuesday, August 2 4:45 AM/ET: Asia Doesn't Pop the Bubbly

It's the big vote day but Asia's gone straight from Monday's euphoria to worrying about the U.S. economy, with every Asian market down during the day. China's official mouthpiece, the People's Daily, is also playing spoilsport. The paper issued a brief commentary complaining that the debt issue had been kicked further down the road.

"Although the United States has basically avoided default, its sovereign debt problems remain unresolved. They have merely been pushed off, and there is a tendency for them to grow," Reuters quoted the paper as saying.

It's not just the Chinese who are fretting, the Japanese are priming the markets for a double dose: FX intervention and monetary easing. There was a brief respite though for the Yen, which weakened versus the dollar overnight.

Monday, August 1 8:10 PM/ET: Giffords' Dramatic Return to House (Part Two)

This is better video. You get to see the Congresswoman in a better light. Short but sweet.

Monday, August 1 8:10 PM/ET: Giffords' Dramatic Return to House

She may be a little hard to see in this but focus on the center of the video and you'll see a woman with short dark hair and glasses, in a faded blue suit. (don't confuse her with woman in bright blue suit)

Everybody else is just a camera hog.

Monday, August 1 8 PM/ET: Think It's Over? Think Again

Peter Muller | Cultura | Getty Images

Most people might think that the vote in the House and the one in the Senate tomorrow will put this whole thing behind them. But it may only be beginning, according to this report from Reuters:

The deficit deal leaves out extended unemployment benefits for victims of the recession. President Barack Obama had pushed to extend them beyond their scheduled expiration next January.

With spending restricted, the government also would have less available to pump into programs directly aimed at creating jobs to stimulate the economy.

By slashing government spending more than $2 trillion, state and local governments may face greater pressure to raise taxes and cut jobs. That would only make it tougher for struggling individuals to make ends meet and find work.

And because the compromise stopped short of immediately implementing the more sweeping changes that had been sought, ratings agencies could still downgrade the U.S. credit rating in the coming months. That could jolt investor confidence, prompt markets to drop and make loans more expensive and harder to get.

For consumers, the accord provides no relief from economic reality, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer for Harris Private Bank in Chicago.

Although the immediate consequences of the agreement may be limited, the deal puts the pressure back on a stagnant economy with little prospect for significant improvement any time soon.

"We're back to the same things we've been worrying about for the past couple of years," said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. "Job growth is anemic, economic growth is uninspiring, and people have a lot of hesitation when it comes to things like job security and taking the plunge into homeownership."

The legislation that congressional leaders agreed on does not include automatic federal tax increases. But the Bush tax cuts, extended once already, expire in 2013. Unless extended again, taxes would rise.

State and local taxes, as noted, also could be bumped higher as governments cope with the reality of less money available from Washington.

Monday, August 1 7:48 PM/ET: Letdown?? ...

Almost seems like everything else is anti-climatic at this point. Though, the Senate could throw in wrench in this tomorrow, but doubtful. There may be some last minute back and forth, as some Democrats in the Semate don't like this deal as we've said. But all indications are it will be on Obama's desk by the afternoon.

So the House votes to approve, Giffords returns to thunderous applause and America lives another day.

Monday, August 1 7:30 PM/ET: On To The Senate ...

The bill now moves to the Senate tomorrow for a vote around 12 noon ET. It will need 60 of the 100 votes to pass. It's expected to. Then it goes to President Obama for his signature. And we can all do this again ... in a couple of years.

Monday, August 1 7:25 PM/ET: More Giffords

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona

Nearly as important as the vote itself was the dramatic return of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), just six months after an attempt on her life, returned to the House floor unexpectedly and voted in support of the debt deal.

She received a hero’s welcome from the chamber when she walked in. Huge applause and great roars went up from everyone.

Giffords could be seen chatting with colleagues, smiling, and even shaking hands and waving, suggesting the congresswoman has made incredible strides in a short period of time. (Washington Monthly)

It was the first vote she has cast since she was shot and critically wounded on Jan. 8 while meeting with her constituents in Tucson.

"I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what's going on in Washington," Giffords said. "After weeks of failed debate in Washington, I was pleased to see a solution to this crisis emerge. I strongly believe that crossing the aisle for the good of the American people is more important than party politics. I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy."

Monday, August 1 7:15 PM/ET: Final Tally

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona

The 269-161 vote in the House came after Republican leaders spent the day urging recalcitrant conservatives to support the bill.

The bill would raise the debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion and cut federal spending by a similar amount over the next decade.

A special congressional committee would be set up to consider entitlement and tax changes.

More on Giffords in a minute.

Monday, August 1 7:05 PM/ET: Touchdown!

Vince Lombardi trophy
Getty Images
Vince Lombardi trophy

The bill has passed the House. They get the Lombardi Trophy for at least doing something. Whether it's good or not...remains for another day.

Bill goes to Senate where support is stronger, It is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday, the deadline for Congress to act before the government loses its ability to pay all its bills.

Alert:Gabrielle Giffords has returned to Washington to support bipartisan bill to prevent economic crisis.

She got a huge round of applause from her colleagues.

Monday, August 1 7:05 PM/ET: Almost Done With Hrumphhhing .. I Mean Voting.

Monday, August 1 7:00 PM/ET: Halfway Through Vote ...

Hrumphhh, Hrumphhh, Hrumphhh ... milling, milling, Hrumphhh, milling, milling...voting... milling, Hrumphh .... voting. How many h's in Hrumphhh???

Monday, August 1 6:55 PM/ET: Still Voting ....

Should be a 15 minute vote. Hrumphhh, Hrumphhh, Hrumphhh ... milling, milling, Hrumphhh, milling, milling...voting... milling, Hrumphhh ....

Fred Ward in Tremors
Credit: Universal Pictures
Fred Ward in Tremors

- The deal would allow Obama to raise the debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion in three steps.

Congress would get a chance to register its disapproval on two of these, but would not be able to block them unless it musters a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate—an unlikely prospect.

- It envisions spending cuts of at least $2.1 trillion over 10 years, which Congress would approve in two steps -- an initial $917 billion when the deal passes Congress and another $1.5 trillion by the end of the year.

- The first group of savings would come from slowing the growth of the discretionary programs that Congress approves annually, covering everything from the military to food inspection.

- Those programs would be capped each year for 10 years to ensure they grow slower than the rate of inflation.

Their impact would be relatively modest at first to avoid stifling the shaky economy -- spending for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 would be only $6 billion below the current level of $1.049 trillion.

- The caps would have a greater impact in later years, when it is hoped the U.S. economy will have recovered.

By 2021, the government would be spending $112 billion less than it would be if the caps were not in place, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

- The deal ensures that the Pentagon and other security-related programs, which account for about two-thirds of all discretionary spending, would have to share the pain for the next two fiscal years.

- Automatic across-the-board spending cuts would kick in if Congress does not observe the caps in coming years.

- A 12-member congressional committee, made up equally of Republicans and Democrats from each chamber, would be tasked with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in budget savings.

- That committee could find savings from an overhaul of the tax code and restructuring benefit programs like the Medicare elderly health program -- the politically risky decisions that lawmakers have not been able to agree on so far.

-The committee would have to complete its work by Nov. 23. Congress would have an up-or-down vote, with no modifications, on the committee's recommendations by Dec. 23.

- If the committee cannot agree on at least $1.2 trillion in savings, or Congress rejects its findings, automatic spending cuts totaling that amount would kick in starting in 2013.

- Those cuts would fall equally on domestic and military programs. Medicare would face automatic cuts as well, but they would be capped and fall entirely on medical providers.

Social Security, Medicaid, federal employee pay, and benefits for veterans and the poor would be exempt.

- The plan also calls for both the House and the Senate to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution by the end of the year.

This measure is not likely to receive the two-thirds vote in each chamber needed for passage, but its inclusion will make it easier for conservatives to back the overall deal. (reuters)

Monday, August 1 6:40 PM/ET: The Vote is On!!

The House has finished debate on the debt limit bill and is calling the members to the floor to vote. We are close ...


Monday, August 1 6:09 PM/ET: Is He Putin Us On?

Putin Says U.S. Is A "Parasite" On Global Economy (Reuters.com)

Vladimir Putin
Getty Images
Vladimir Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States Monday of living beyond its means "like a parasite" on the global economy and said dollar dominance was a threat to the financial markets.

"They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy," Putin told a Kremlin youth group while touring its summer camp north of Moscow.

"They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar."

Monday, August 1 5:55 PM/ET: What's Happening

OK, so we've gathered up a list of what is happening on Monday as lawmakers prepare to vote on a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion limit on U.S. government borrowing, just a day before the deadline to avert an unprecedented default. (Reuters)

  • The Republican-led House of Representatives is set to vote before 8 p.m. EDT.
  • The Democratic-led Senate is expected to vote on Tuesday. No time is set.
  • The White House and some congressional leaders work to sell the debt deal to rank and file. Both the right and left grumble about the details.
  • VP Biden meets separately with Senate and House Democrats. Says following the meetings that he is confident the legislation will pass. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell following a meeting with his fellow Republicans says he "is very optimistic" the deal will pass.
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva, who heads a group of liberal Democrats in the House, tells Reuters he expects most members of his progressive caucus, which has about 75 members, to vote against the bill.
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi tells her fellow House Democrats to vote their conscience on the deal, but keep in mind the consequences - but it's expected she'll vote for the bill
  • More than 100 business groups, including the influential Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, urge Congress to act immediately and pass the debt-limit bill.
  • Treasury Sec. Geithner discusses the debt deal with representatives of several business groups.
  • The U.S. Treasury unveils plans to borrow $331 billion in the current quarter.
  • On Wall Street - The three major stock indices close slightly lower .

Monday, August 1 5:10 PM/ET: Standing By His Bill

From NBC News: Boehner Will Vote

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will vote tonight on debt deal when and it goes to the House floor.

Traditionally the Speaker does not vote but they have the option to do so.

Boehner has voted this year on the repeal of the Obama health care law. The Budget Bill that avoided a government shutdown in April and his own debt limit extension bill on Friday.

And for you home gamers:

The final vote on the debt deal tonight expected in the House between 6:45pm-7:30pm

Monday, August 1 5:00 PM/ET: Really, Really Ruh Roh

Darren Robb | Getty Images

Biden: Tea Partiers Like 'Terrorists' (Politico.com)

Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit.

Biden was agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

Biden, driven by his Democratic allies’ misgivings about the debt-limit deal, responded: “They have acted like terrorists,” according to several sources in the room.

Biden’s office declined to comment about what the vice president said inside the closed-door session.

Monday, August 1 4:52 PM/ET: Her Prerogative

Source: DC Comics

House Minority Leader Pelosi Will Vote 'Yes' On Debt Deal -Aide (DJ Wires)

'member earlier when she said she was still undecided, citing the lack of new revenues in the deal?

"We are very concerned that a bill that makes these big cuts and has not one red cent from the wealthiest people in our country, no revenue is very disconcerting," Pelosi told reporters around noonish today.


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.) will vote for a debt package in the U.S. House of Representatives later Monday, a move that takes a step toward giving House Speaker John Boehner (R, Ohio) the Democratic support he needs to pass the measure.

Pelosi will vote "yes," an aide to the lawmaker said. Pelosi laid our her position in an interview with Diane Sawyer, and the aide confirmed that Pelosi intends to support the package.

The Democratic leader isn't telling her caucus how to vote, and earlier on Monday she told Democrats to vote their consciences. Many Democrats have said they will oppose the debt deal because they feel it gives up too much to the most conservative wing of the Republican party.

Pelosi's support is significant because it gives other Democrats room to vote yes.

Monday, August 1 4:49 PM/ET: Alert - House Votes 249-178 To Approve Debt-Ceiling Bill Debate Framework (DJ Wires)

Monday, August 1 4:47 PM/ET: Civics Lessons Continue

Tooga | Getty Images

A bill that raises the U.S. debt limit by $2.1 trillion and cuts budget deficits by a similar amount over the next decade was on the verge of clearing an important procedural hurdle in the House of Representatives on Monday.

With voting continuing, the House had enough Yes votes to approve the rule for debating the landmark legislation.

The rule allows for one hour of general debate before a vote on the actual bill. (Reuters)

Monday, August 1 4:45 PM/ET: A Lesson in Abstinence

From NBC News:

The House Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is asking members to to abstain from voting on the debt ceiling package until a majority of Republican members have voted. In a message to Caucus members from Whip Andre Carson (D-IN), he says:


A quorum of the Caucus convened and agreed to abstain from voting until the majority of Republican members have voted on the debt ceiling package.

Background from NBC News: It's a political move to get the republicans on the record as to if they support or don't support the plan. Many of the CBC members leaving the Democratic Conference meeting today, which VP Biden spoke at, did not support the package. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said earlier today that the package was a "satan sandwich".

Monday, August 1 4:41 PM/ET: The Senate Punts - For Now

CNBC: GOP Sen McConnell: Senate Vote On Debt Bill To Be Tuesday - read the details here

Monday, August 1 4:33 PM/ET: It's Going To Be a Nailbiter

PM Images | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Progressive Caucus Co-Chair: Many Members Will Vote 'No' On Debt Deal

The Progressive Caucus on Monday said that many of its members would oppose the debt package up for a vote, underscoring that a broad swath of the Democratic party will not provide votes for the measure to help the U.S. avoid a default.

"We feel this is not a compromise and as such we will stand in opposition to it," Rep. Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.), a co-chair of the caucus, said at a press conference. "If the president has to unilaterally use his authority given to him under the constitution he should," he said.

The caucus has 76 members, accounting for almost one-fifth of the seats in the House.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) said that the caucus doesn't have a tally of how many progressives will vote no, but indicated that the opposition is substantial. The Progressive Caucus echoed other Democrats in saying that it would be up to Republicans to find votes for the debt package. "They won, and they should be able to deliver the votes that they need to pass what is essentially their package," Grijalva said. (DJ Wires)

Monday, August 1 4:11 PM/ET: Meanwhile in Other News

Dow Ends Lower for 7th Session Ahead of Vote

Monday, August 1 4:01 PM/ET: It's Getting Hot In Here

From NBC News DC Producers:

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) just got a little heated on the floor while explaining her opposition to the negotiated debt limit bill:

"Mr. Speaker, I can honestly say if this bill passes it may be the single worst piece of public policy to ever come out of this institution. I cannot support this bill, this rule, and I urge my Democratic colleagues not to be complicit in a Republican plan to eventually cut medicare, social security, medicaid and investment in our future. All while asking the rich to sacrifice nothing."

Monday, August 1 3:45 PM/ET: GOP Leaders on Debt Deal - Headlines

  • Majority Leader Cantor: 'Big Win' For GOP That No Tax Hikes In Debt Bill
  • Cantor: Bill Not Perfect, But 'Huge Step Forward'
  • Boehner:Some GOP Members Have Concerns About Military Spending Levels In Bill
  • Boehner: Democratic Leaders Have Responsibility To Bring Votes For Debt Deal
  • Boehner: No Decisions Made Who On Will Be Appointed To Special Committee
  • Rep Ryan: Most House GOP Lawmakers Will Vote For Debt Bill

Just a few minutes earlier, our VEEP told the media after his meetings on the Hill that he's never asked anyone in his career to vote against their conscious, saying, "After 36 years, I never asked another person to vote against what they think they're interests are."

Then, he went all classic Greek on us saying, "The truth of the matter is there is a Sword of Damocles hanging over everyone's heads, this is the debt limit."

Monday, August 1 3:30 PM/ET: Who Wants To Be A DC "OutKast?"

Source: youtube.com

As we wait for John Boehner to deliver his remarks .... it hit me.

I think I know what's really going on behind closed doors in DC as we await a vote on the latest debt deal.

The old timers (leaders) are telling those young guns, “You know what to do…. You know what to do..."

Yes, I really do think there’s a little Outkast action happening in the halls of Congress with Boehner, Biden, Reid and McConnell saying:

You know what to dooo.You know what to dooo.. You know what to do!

You think you've got it Ohh, you think you've got it But got it just don't get it Till' there's nothing at. AaaaaaaaAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAaaaaaallllll..

And as Andre 3000 or our Forefathers would say -

Now I wanna see y'all on y'all baddest behavior , Lend me some suga',

Monday, August 1 3:05 PM/ET: It's So Easy, I Just Put In My Card ... And Out Comes All This Money


U.S. Treasury to borrow $331 billion in 3rd quarter

The U.S. Treasury on Monday said it intends to borrow $331 billion during the current July-September quarter, less than it had previously estimated, because it ended the previous quarter with more cash on hand than anticipated.

A U.S. Treasury official said the department would proceed on a business-as-usual basis with next week's quarterly debt sales on the assumption that Congress will lift the debt limit before a Tuesday deadline. (Reuters)

Monday, August 1 2:38 PM/ET: Alert: Biden: Confident Debt-Ceiling Deal Will Pass(DJ Wires)


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, emerging from a 2 1/2-hour meeting with Democrats in the House of Representatives, predicted a debt limit increase bill will pass Congress.

"I am confident that this will pass," Biden told reporters.

Saying he went to Capitol Hill to explain the deficit reduction and debt limit increase legislation he helped to broker, Biden added that under different circumstances "we would be talking about job creation, infrastructure (investment)." (Reuters)

Monday, August 1 2:30 PM/ET: Who's Saying What

For Your Viewing Pleasure:

CNBC's Tyler Mathisen discussing the debt deal vote, with Sen Chris Coons, (D-DE), and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison,(R-TX) - Click here to watch the interview Will the deal pass?

Discussing whether the debt deal will pass today's vote in Congress, with Rep. Phil Gingrey, (R-GA), and CNBC's Tyler Mathisen. - Click here to watch the interview

Debt Deal Imminent? Discussing why he thinks the debt deal will pass, with Sen. Mark Pryor(D-Arkansas) - Click here to watch the interview

How toMake $$$$ - How to trade on the market's uncertainty, with Ira Epstein, The Linn Group, and Jonathan Corpina, Meridian Equity Partners. -Click here to watch the interview

Monday, August 1 2:18 PM/ET: Ruh Roh

From NBC News: House Speaker John Boehner newser now delayed until 330pm

Monday, August 1 2:10 PM/ET: A Win For The Gipper

A victory for Reagan Republicans (TheDailyCaller.com)

Grover Norquist writes:

All political activists must wear bifocals so they can keep an eye on the present battle and also focus on the long run.

The agreement today between President Obama and the Republicans in Congress to allow an increase in the debt ceiling of $2.4 trillion in return for reductions in Obama’s planned spending by $2.417 trillion over the next decade, and no tax increases, is a victory for Reagan Republicans in the present struggle, but an even more important victory over the long run.

Obama wanted a debt ceiling increase without conditions. He got a boatload of conditions.

Monday, August 1 2:01 PM/ET: Tonight or Tomorrow? Will Someone Please Get Them a Calendar.

From NBC News:

Sen. Reid just said on the floor he's hoping to get unanimous consent to move to a vote either tonight or tomorrow... but he didn't have a timing update.

He encouraged members to come to the floor to debate today.

Monday, August 1 1:52 PM/ET: Obama Goes To The People... Again

From YouTube: President Obama lays out the agreement he reached with congressional leaders to meet our financial obligations and reduce our debt in a video to supporters.

Monday, August 1 1:30 PM/ET: Anyone Like this Deal?

So, who's for this compromise debt deficit deal? Just who??

The Club for Growth (conservative) strongly opposes the most recent version of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that was negotiated by the White House and congressional leaders.

"The problems with this proposal are many, but fiscal conservatives should have obvious concerns for the lack of guaranteed future spending cuts, no requirement that a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution be sent to the states, a commission that could still recommend job-killing tax increases, and worse of all, two debt limit increases totaling over $2 trillion within only a matter of months."

Vote to see results
Total Votes:

Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

MoveOn (liberal)"This is a bad deal for our fragile economic recovery, a bad deal for the middle class and a bad deal for tackling our real long-term budget problems. It forces deep cuts to important programs that protect the middle class, but asks nothing of big corporations and millionaires.

And though it does not require cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid benefits, it opens the door for these down the road via an unaccountable Congressional committee. We surveyed our 5 million members and the vast majority oppose the deal because it unfairly asks seniors and the middle class to bear the burden of the debt deal. Congress should do what it should have done long ago and what it has done dozens of times before - pass a clean debt ceiling bill."

So if both sides don't like it, it has to be a good deal? Where is that written?

Oh and we've moved up our poll here for those of you who haven't yet voted - go ahead, cast your ballot....it's totally non-binding and unscientific.

Monday, August 1 1:15 PM/ET: What He Said ... Hell, YES!!!

Sen. Harry Reid
Sen. Harry Reid

Senate Leader Harry Reid said just a few minutes ago:

People generally realize the Situation we're in.

I'm working to see if we can vote today.

It's a compromise bill, neither side got everything they wanted.

It's a long process, I'm confident we did the right thing.

The Answer to "do we need more deficit legislation" is "Hell, Yes."

Hell yes? We have to go through this again???? UGH!


Monday, August 1 12:44 PM/ET: Well, At Least They Have An Exit Strategy...

Ken Wramton | Photodisc | Getty Images

This just in from NBC Correspondent Luke Russert in DC:

A GOP aide tells NBC News that IFthe House passes the debt deal tonight they will immediately gavel out for a 5 week recess.

Seems nobody wants to stick around for the fall out.


Hmmmmmm, and who said those guys in DC aren't smart?

Monday, August 1 12:37 PM/ET: And From Our Leaders...

Source: DC Comics

Senate Republican Leader Optimistic on Debt Vote

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he was "optimistic" about the prospects for passing a deficit reduction and debt limit increase measure.

"We're very optimistic. We're going to do well," McConnell told reporters.

But House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was still undecided, citing the lack of new revenues in the deal.

"We are very concerned that a bill that makes these big cuts and has not one red cent from the wealthiest people in our country, no revenue is very disconcerting," Pelosi told reporters. (Reuters)

Meanwhile our VEEP Joe Biden just entered the House Dem Caucus meeting. As he walked by reporters he smiled and said, "I think good thoughts." When asked if he thought the plan will be supported, he said, "Sure", as he walked away from cameras. (NBC News DC Producers)

Monday, August 1 12:25 PM/ET: Coincidence? Just Askin????

OMG | Getty Images

D.C. Adults Top Alcohol Abusers in Country Also frequent marijuana, cocaine users (NBCWashington.com)

A new report says that adults in Washington D.C. abuse alcohol more than anyone else in the country.

According to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 8.1 percent of adults age 26 or older in D.C. are alcohol dependent. Looking at a long-term sampling, alcohol abuse rate is on the rise for the District, according to the survey.

The Washington Examiner first reported the story, noting that alcohol abuse has been a chronic issue in the District, affecting residents from the city's streets to former First Lady Betty Ford in the White House.

Monday, August 1 12:05 PM/ET: Headlines From White House Spokesman Jay Carney's Daily Briefing:

  • White House Says Deficit Deal 'Victory' for American people
  • Americans did not "choose" a "dysfunctional government"
  • In the end "compromise won out"
  • "We will not stop - We will move on - We need to focus on growth and job creation"
  • This is not a "perfect" deal - it does accomplish significant things
  • Obama is committed to extending payroll tax cut
  • White House expects broad bipartisan consensus to extend payroll tax cut for next year
  • White House declines to comment on how credit rating agencies will judge debt limit deal
  • Deficit deal should send reassuring message to world

Monday, August 1 11:50 AM/ET:FYI-White House to have its daily briefing in about 2 minutes or so....

Anddddddddddddddddd for your planners -

The House will vote first on debt limit package, timing is unclear....best guess: sometime tonight.

Monday, August 1 11:35 AM/ET: Adding It All Up


The Congressional Budget Office has just added up the latest version of the debt bill and has released its findings -

Here's the summary:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the impact on the deficit of the Budget Control Act of 2011, as posted on the Web site of the House Committee on Rules on August 1, 2011.

The legislation would:

  • Establish caps on discretionary spending through 2011;
  • Allow for certain amounts of additional spending for "program integrity" initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of improper benefit payments;
  • Make changes to the Pell Grant and student loan programs;
  • Require that the House of Representatives and the Senate vote on a joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution;
  • Establish a procedure to increase the debt limit by $400 billion initially and procedures that would allow the limit to be raised further in two additional steps, for a cumulative increase of between $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion;
  • Reinstate and modify certain budget process rules;
  • Create a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to propose further deficit reduction, with a stated goal of achieving at least $1.5 trillion in budgetary savings over 10 years; and
  • Establish automatic procedures for reducing spending by as much as $1.2 trillion if legislation originating with the new joint select committee does not achieve such savings.

For you accounting fans out there — Click here and you can read the full analysis of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

And remember, after you've read the CBO report - come back here and vote in our poll(which is down below this posting) - Would you vote on the debt deal.

Monday, August 1 11:27 AM/ET: Hmmmm, But What Do They Really Think?

Man eating a sandwich
Brand New Images | Taxi | Getty Images
Man eating a sandwich

"A Satan Sandwich" (RealClearPolitics.Com)

Dem Congressman: Debt Deal A "Satan Sandwich" -

"I am concerned about this because we don't know the details. And until we see the details, we're going to be extremely non-committed but on the surface it looks like a Satan sandwich," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) said on MSNBC.

And thennnnnnnnnnn Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Sc)wrote:

"I cannot in good conscience support this deal...

"This agreement adds over $7 trillion in new debt over the next decade and only makes small reductions in future spending...

"I fear this agreement will destroy our nation's defense infrastructure at a time when we need them the most...

"I have always believed we have to raise our nation's debt-ceiling but it should be done in a responsible manner. I support raising the debt-ceiling for a period of nine months, the historical average since 1940, accompanied by a dollar-to-dollar spending cuts to debt-ceiling increase. In effect, this basically is the first portion of the Boehner-Reid proposal."

Ok, but YOU can still vote - our poll is below....sorry, we're all out of the satan sandwiches.

Monday, August 1 10:35 AM/ET: Poll Time - It's Your Chance to Vote!

The White House and congressional leaders are starting the process of selling the debt deal to the rank and file - but what about YOU?

Vote to see results
Total Votes:

Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

What would you do with this deal?

Cast your ballot here - let us know what you think of their new "grand bargain."

Remember this is a very "UNscientific" poll. We're all liberal arts majors here - not a BS among us! OK, I lied there's loads of BS around here...but not that kind.

This is an easy process: No ID required. You don't have to be 18 to vote. You don't have to register.

Just click.

And for those of you who want to be "well informed" before you vote - here's the full text of the proposed bill. (I know, you always wanted to be a lawyer ever since you were in 3rd grade - we get it, you can't help yourself.)

Monday, August 1 10:30 AM/ET: And This Just In ... 12 Hours After The Fact

From NBC News:

Mitt Romney issued the following statement today on the deal to raise the debt ceiling:

"As president, my plan would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced - not one that opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table. President Obama's leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute. While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama's lack of leadership has placed Republican Members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal."

Monday, August 1 10:14 AM/ET: Going To Bat For The Boss

Krugman Is 'Wrong,' Sperling Says (Politico.com)

Tetra Images | Getty Images

QUIET, KRUGMAN: President Obama's economic adviser Gene Sperling said Monday morning that Paul Krugman is "wrong" for writing that Obama "surrendered" to Republicans on the agreement on the deficit.

Sperling, going on TV to frame the message the morning after the deal was announced, told CNN that the agreement would have included tax increases on the rich "in an ideal world," but that Republicans wouldn't agree to it. After being read what Krugman wrote in The New York Times — that Obama caved on the Bush tax cuts , the government shutdown and now the deficit — Sperling replied, "Well, that’s wrong, and wrong, and then, I think, wrong."

"It was the president who stood firm, who didn’t blink on that, and in the end, we have a deal that takes that threat of default off of our political system, off of our economy, into 2013," he said.

Monday, August 1 9:53 AM/ET: Tweet Alert (ha)

Vice President Biden wants us all to know he too gets that social-media thing-a-ma-jig. He just tweeted:

Gotta love his "managing up" shout-out to the boss, too.

You too can follow the Veep @VP

Love that handle "@VP" - two letters - now that's economical.

The White House "officially" released his schedule for those of you who don't do that Twitter thingy:

  • At 11:00 AM, the Vice President will meet with the Senate Democratic Caucus at the U.S. Capitol.
  • At 12:00 PM, the Vice President will meet with the House Democratic Caucus at the U.S. Capitol.

Monday, August 1 9:45 AM/ET: Washington's Hangover

The Hangover
The Hangover

The Debt-Ceiling Deal: Winners and Losers (Washington Post)

The debt ceiling fight is over.

The White House and congressional leaders have settled on a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, enact immediate spending cuts and, our favorite part, create a super-commission designed to trim the federal budget further by the end of the year.

The political stakes for this fight were massive — and it produced a number of winners and losers.

Monday, August 1 9:40 AM/ET: "The Tea Party Is Now Running Washington"

Mrs. Potts from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"
Source: Disney
Mrs. Potts from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"

How the Tea Party Won the Deal (Daily Beast)

While the details of the debt ceiling deal remain fuzzy, this much is clear: Barack Obama may be president, but the Tea Party is now running Washington.

How did this happen?

Simple; this is what American politics looks like when there’s no left-wing movement and no war.

Let’s start with the first point. Liberals are furious that President Obama agreed to massive spending cuts, and the promise of more, without any increase in revenues. They should be: Given how much the Bush tax cuts have contributed to the deficit (and how little they’ve spurred economic growth), it’s mind-boggling that they’ve apparently escaped this deficit-reduction deal unscathed.

Monday, August 1 9:25 AM/ET: The Donald's Smackdown

Dimitri Vervitsiotis | Photodisc | Getty Images


The apparent deal to extend the debt ceiling is "fantastic" for President Barack Obama but a "joke" for the rest of the country, real estate magnate Donald Trump said.

Speaking as Washington politicians move closer to approving a deal that would give the US another $2.5 trillion in borrowing authority, the colorful businessman and TV personality said the nation is tinkering while losing even more ground to China.

In all, Trump said in a CNBC interview, the weeks-long squabble is another black eye for America.

Monday, August 1 8:40 AM/ET: No Victory Lap, Yet

Stuart Gregory | Getty Images

After Protracted Fight, Both Sides Emerge Bruised (NY Times)

President Obama and Congressional leaders have stitched together an agreement to prevent a national default, provided their 11th-hour deal does not fracture on Monday, but the epic budget battle has failed to resolve another question: which party can be better trusted to govern?

The president, with his re-election on the horizon, emerges from the showdown in a diminished state after giving considerable ground and struggling to rise above a deep partisan intransigence that has engulfed Washington. And Republican leaders, especially Speaker John A. Boehner, are bruised after navigating the intractable sentiment of the Tea Party movement.

A full victory lap was not expected — or, perhaps, deserved — by those on either side of the debate, which has consumed the capital, unnerved the financial markets and infuriated the American public.


Monday, August 1 0645 AM/ET: Other Governments React to the Debt Deal

As the U.S. is the world's biggest economy, the reverberations of the debt deal have been felt around the world.

President Obama himself didn't look particularly delighted with the results of the talks on Sunday night.

Germanyexpressed its relief that a compromise had been reached through government spokesman Christoph Steegmans Monday, Reuters reports.

"The government is pleased that there was political agreement in the United States over this difficult question," Reuters quoted him as saying at a news conference. "I do not want to comment about the details of this agreement - they are internal American decisions."

Frenchfinance minister Francois Baroin said the preliminary deal between Democrats and Republicans was a step "in the right direction" in an interview with France Inter radio.

Yoshihiko Noda, Japan'sfinance minister said the deal was a positive development for Japan's economy, and he hopes financial markets will reflect the situation.

"Of course it is a good thing that concerns (over the U.S. debt issue) are fading," he told reporters at parliament when asked about the impact of a U.S. debt deal on Japan's economy, according to Dow Jones. "I hope that will be firmly reflected in the market," he added.

The government who we all really wanted to hear from, China, which holds around $1.112 trillion in US Treasurys, hasn't said anything official yet.

Zhou Qiren, an academic adviser to the People's Bank of China, was less than enthusiastic.

"The U.S. needs to reduce its debt as well as stabilize its economy to tackle the debt problem," Zhou told Dow Jones.

"And as one of the U.S.'s biggest creditors, China certainly hopes the U.S. can smoothly resolve its debt issue," he added.

Australia'sTreasurer Wayne Swan urged Congress to endorse the proposal.

"It will be a long and painful adjustment for the United States," he told Australia's Sky TV on Monday. "We've got to see a pathway for fiscal consolidation in the United States and we need that for global certainty. We need that for global growth. A lot of people are going to be watching."

Monday, August 1 0530 AM/ET: Triple-A Turmoil

Can the US stay in the AAA club, or will it be downgraded below minnows like the Isle of Man or Guernsey? No news yet from the ratings agencies on whether their thumbs are up or down on the deal.

The credibility of the big agencies like Standard & Poor's has been questioned plenty of times during the credit crisis, notably over their rating of mortgage-backed securities, so they may want to act quickly this time around.

Speaking after HSBC announced wide-ranging cuts, chief executive Stuart Gulliver said "it's still quite possible" that the US will be downgraded.

A straw poll of CNBC Europe's venerable guests Monday, and of the analysts prepared to put their heads above the parapet, suggests that they believe the world's biggest economy will be downgraded.

David Murrin, chief investment officer at Emergent Asset Management told CNBC Monday that the U.S. should choose to default instead of delaying the inevitable by raising the debt ceiling without dealing with the crux of the financial problems.

Michael Widmer, metals strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch, said the possibility of a downgrade was still "the underlying issue" in the room.

Marc Ostwald, a strategist at Monument Securities in London, thinks that US debt should be downgraded by two notches rather than the one notch more people are expecting.

The deal “will keep the possibility of a near-term rating downgrade alive; it represents, in our view, just a band-aid approach on the way to more sustainable public finances,” according to Julian Callow, the chief European economist at Barclays Capital.

"While the debt deal is progress, we are not convinced it is large enough and aggressive enough to hold the ratings agencies at bay and on this basis the path of least resistance is still of the USD weakening with the Swissie and yen the main beneficiaries after the initial knee jerk reaction," currency strategists at Lloyds wrote in a note.

If you're tearing your hair out, staring at the screen and wondering "but what does this all MEAN?", relax and look no further than CNBC Explains .

Yes, the kind folks at CNBC.com have written a guide for those of you for whom CDSs are still just another acronym. Enjoy!

Monday, August 1 0400 AM/ET: What The Papers Say

If you're a Tea Party Republican, you probably don't care what the commie media in other countries think. But if you're interested, here's a roundup of what media and commentators are saying around the world.

Paul Krugman, the New York Times'influential columnist and MIT economics professor, comes out fighting, saying that the deal is a "disaster" and will "take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status ". Come on Krugman, stop sitting on the fence and tell us what you reallythink!

Larry Elliot in the liberal British newspaper The Guardianargues that the US has to rid itself of its addiction to debt .

The conservative Daily Telegraphclaims that this was a clear victory for the Tea Party and that they have proved that they "call the shots" in Congress.

While The Agein Australia says that the negotiations had shone an unflattering light on the "partisan and dysfunctional nature" of US politics and that the next financial crisis could be all the fault of the US.

A piece in the China Dailyquotes one Chinese economics professor calling for China to diversify its holdings out of the US dollar , which would be rather troublesome given the size of China's holdings in what is, for now, the biggest reserve currency in the world.

Monday, August 1 3.00 AM/ET: What's Going On In The Markets?

So, how will the news about the deal affect markets Monday and what will traders do first thing when they get to their desks?

After weeks of gloom, a relief rally is expected in the US.

Markets in Europe jumped after a month of fluctuations.

In the US stock futures were already on the rise last night.

Asian stocks rose as the news that a deal had been reached hit the markets.

On the other hand, gold, which has shot up because of its safe haven status in recent weeks, fell.

Oil rose more than $1 to over $118.

Monday, August 1 2.30 AM/ET: Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

After a tense weekend, there is now finally a debt deal on the table which leaders of both the Democrats and the Republicans can agree on. But what about those troublesome rank-and-file members, particularly the Tea Party Republicans whose stubbornness on this issue has made it look like they should be adapting the Democratic donkey as their emblem? Will Boehner be able to bring them into line before the crucial Tuesday deadline without further cuts to public spending?

Debt Deal's Prospects in House Uncertain

On CNBC Europe this morning, it's all anyone can talk about.

"This makes both sides look bad if it doesn't get through," Nick Carn, founder of Carn Macro Advisors, pointed out.

"This has to be regarded as a Republican victory in that it does put spending cuts very firmly back on the agenda."

"In the long run, the new big thing is smaller government."

"These things are all shadow-boxing to some extent. Even the numbers are all make-believe, as we all know, as governments don't use accrual accounting."

On the phone from San Francisco, Michael Yoshikami, founder of YCMNET Advisors, said: "The Democrats are going to approve this. More of a challenge is whether all the Republicans will move forward.

"This is a token first step. In the end, the US has much bigger difficulties than just the numbers that are being debated."

Sunday, July 31 9:30 PM/ET: Just Another Manic Monday

Tomorrow, the Senate is scheduled to come in at 1030am/et

Caucus meetings:

  • Republicans meet at 10a
  • Democrats meet at 11a

Leaders Reach Deal to Raise Debt Ceiling (NYTimes)

President Obama and Congressional leaders of both parties said late Sunday that they had agreed to a framework for a budget deal that would cut trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade and clear the way for an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.

With the health of the fragile economy hanging in the balance and financial markets watching closely, the leaders said they would present the compromise to their caucuses on Monday morning in hopes of averting a default before a Tuesday deadline.

Sunday, July 31 9:10 PM/ET: Boehner's PowerPoint Presentation

(AP) House Speaker John Boehner says the pact he's reached with President Barack Obama and other leaders of Congress on lifting the debt limit and taming the budget "isn't the greatest deal" but lives up to the GOP's principles on taxes and spending.

The agreement pairs spending cuts demanded by Republicans with an immediate increase in the government's borrowing cap that's needed to avoid a first-ever default after Tuesday.

Boehner said the deal with Obama — which contains no tax increases and sets the stage for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts — shows how Republicans have changed the terms of debate in Washington.

The Ohio Republican says he wants to bring the measure to a vote as soon as possible.

Sunday, July 31 8:58 PM/ET: Boehner's Conference Call

From NBC News:

Here are excerpts from Speaker Boehner's discussion with Members of the House Republican Conference tonight.

"The press has been filled with reports all day about an agreement. There's no agreement until we've talked to you. There is a framework in place that would cut spending by a larger amount than we raise the debt limit, and cap future spending to limit the growth of government. It would do so without any job-killing tax hikes. And it would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment, while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of a BBA to support it."

"My hope would be to file it and have it on the floor as soon as possible. I realize that's not ideal, and I apologize for it. But after I go through it, you'll realize it's pretty much the framework we've been operating in."

"Since Day One of this Congress, we've gone toe-to-toe with the Obama Administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate on behalf of our people we were sent here to represent."

"Remember how this all started: the White House demanded a "clean" debt limit hike with no spending cuts and reforms attached. We stuck together, and frankly made them give up on that."

"Then they shifted to demanding a "balanced" approach - equal parts spending cuts and tax hikes. With this framework, they've given up on that, too."

"I'm gonna tell you, this has been a long battle - we've fought valiantly - and frankly we've done it by listening to the American people. And as a result, our framework is now on the table that will end this crisis in a manner that meets our principles of smaller government."

"Now listen, this isn't the greatest deal in the world. But it shows how much we've changed the terms of the debate in this town."

"There is nothing in this framework that violates our principles. It's all spending cuts. The White House bid to raise taxes has been shut down. And as I vowed back in May - when everyone thought I was crazy for saying it - every dollar of debt limit increase will be matched by more than a dollar of spending cuts. And in doing this, we've stopping a job-killing national default that none of us wanted."

Sunday, July 31 8:45 PM/ET: Deal of the Century: "Do The Right Thing"

GSO Images | Getty Images

President Barack Obama announced on Monday that Democrats and Republicans leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default.

Obama said the agreement will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years.

President Barack Obama on Sunday urged Republicans and Democrats to "do the right thing" and vote to support the compromise proposal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate are throwing their weight behind a debt-limit agreement sealed with President Barack Obama and top leaders of Congress.

Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said that both his party and opposition Republicans gave more ground than they wanted to. He said it'll take members of both political parties to pass the measure.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the pact "will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending" and he assured the markets that a first-ever default on U.S. obligations won't occur.

Both the leaders said they will brief their colleagues tomorrow on the details of the agreement.

Sunday, July 31 8:42 PM/ET: OBAMA: Agreement has been reached on raising debt limit

Sunday July 31 8:40 PM/ET: Deal Of The Century

Robert Kohlhuber | Photodisc | Getty Images

(DJ Wires) President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a statement at 8:40 p.m. EDT as the Congress works to finalize details on a $2.4 trillion debt-ceiling agreement.

Obama is set to deliver a statement from the White House press briefing room.

The emerging plan would raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion in three stages and provide initially for roughly $900 billion in spending cuts over 10 years. A special committee of lawmakers would be charged with finding another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction through a tax overhaul and changes to safety-net programs.

The debt ceiling increase would be done in three phases: $400 billion initially; another $500 billion later this year would be subject to a congressional vote of disapproval; a third increase of $1.5 trillion which would provide the government with enough cash to cover all its bills through 2012, also be subject to vote of disapproval.

Sunday, July 31 8:24 PM/ET: ALERT - AP source: Obama, Boehner, Democrats strike debt deal to head off government default

More:A Democratic official tells The Associated Press that the White House and Republicans in Congress have reached a debt deal to prevent the first government default in U.S. history.

The official said House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama spoke by phone Sunday evening. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been announced.

Obama was to go on TV at 8:40 p.m. EDT.

Sunday, July 31 8:10 PM/ET: World's Still Waiting... Clues in 20 minutes?

House Speaker John Boehner will have a members only conference call at 8:30pm with the 240 GOP House members to discuss the possible debt deal.

When it is completed we should have a good idea of why the House GOP is holding back.


Sunday, July 31 6:25 PM/ET: Not To Be A Killjoy, But...

From NBC DC Producers:

While Senator Reid has signed off on a potential debt limit deal, according to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), neither side of the House is ready to pull the trigger.

As Rep. Van Hollen left Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office, he hinted to reporters that House GOP has not yet signed off to the debt limit deal. "I think the big issue right now, a big issue, is that our Republican colleague haven't signed off on the deal, so let's see whether they get there."

In addition, he said that House Democrats still have some work to do before they can approve the plan as well. "There's some things we don't like, there's some things we may like, but how that mix balances out is something we're looking at right now."

Sunday, July 31 6:15 PM/ET: What's Needed Here Is A Good O' Kick In The Rear!

Matt Kenyon | Ikon Images | Getty Images

Sunday Vote - Unlikely:

A U.S. Senate vote on a possible debt-limit deal is "highly unlikely" until at least on Monday, a senior congressional aide said.

"This is a huge bill. People don't even know what's in it yet," the aide said, noting that Senate Democrats and Republicans were expected to be briefed on it later on Sunday.(Reuters)

Sunday, July 31 6:06 PM/ET - Quick Look At The Futures On Word of A Possible Deal -

U.S. stock index futures jumped at the start of electronic trading on Sunday evening as investors bet that lawmakers in Washington were set to reach a deal on raising the nation's debt limit.

S&P 500 futures rose 17.6 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 154 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 31.75 points. (Reuters)

Sunday, July 31 5:45 PM/ET: Back To The Debt Drama

Ok, so you're wondering what could possibly be holding up this latest version of the deal.

According to NBC News:

Tim Graham | The Image Bank | Getty Images

A GOP source with knowledge of the debt talks tells NBC News that the "last hurdle" to arriving at a deal has to do with cuts to the Defense Department.

In the event that the special commission or "Super Congress" fails to reach an agreement, and automatic cuts are triggered, right now the Obama Administration would like to see DOD cuts equal 3% of its annual budget in the first year.

The GOP is saying that is way too high and would like that number to come down to 2% or less.

It's technical and it's confusing but it's a heck of a lot of money to a bevy of normally aligned GOP interest groups, not to mention, the GOP says—national security.

When asked about this hold-up a Dem Aide had no comment.

Sunday, July 31, 5:35 PM/ET: OMG — Are You Guys Serious?

This is what you've been doing while I've been busting my rear end watching all the DC happenings...

Smurfs Movie
Source: Sony Pictures
Smurfs Movie

SMURFS — are you kidding me? You all went to see this? You chose Smurfs over Daniel Craig — did you not see Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace - are you suffering from heat stroke?

‘The Smurfs’ Top Weekend Box Office (NY Times)

Smurfs humiliated a cluster of Hollywood’s heaviest weights at the weekend box office. Analysts had predicted that “Cowboys & Aliens” — starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”) and produced by Brian Grazer and Steven Spielberg — would easily dominate ticket sales. Instead, it was a photo finish with “The Smurfs,” a cartoon-live action hybrid. Both films took in an estimated $36.2 million at North American theaters, as “The Smurfs” outperformed expectations, and “Cowboys & Aliens” failed to capture young men in significant numbers .

Sunday, July 31, 5:16 PM/ET: Is That Katy Perry Singing?

Robert Kohlhuber | Photodisc | Getty Images

Reid Signs Off on Deal - NBC News

I know I shouldn't get too excited, but there is movement on this slow Sunday.

From Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson

"Senator Reid has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval."

More from wires:

An aide said that a vote on the package could occur later Sunday night, although he cautioned no final decisions had been made.

Democratic leaders plan to meet or brief lawmakers on a conference call, the aide said.

The broad outlines of the deal are known: the debt ceiling would be raised in two tranches totaling $2.5 trillion. It would include $3 trillion in deficit-reduction measures over the next decade.

Some background from DJ Wires:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he hoped Senate leaders would be able to reach a deal later Sunday to raise the country's $14.29 trillion debt ceiling.

When asked whether he expected to announce a bipartisan deal later Sunday, Reid said he "hoped to." When asked if the Senate could vote on a deal later Sunday, Reid offered similar cautious guidance, saying only "we hope so."

The lawmaker's comments came as he emerged from a meeting that lasted over an hour in the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), where he was joined by Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Patty Murray of Washington.

As for those fireworks...I'm thinkin' a little Katy Perry otta be played right now.

Elsewhere, observers lament Washington's failure to seize the opportunity to get the country's fiscal house in order, and the NYT examines how the invocations of catastrophe on the debt debate fit squarely into a long-standing apocalyptic strain in the American character.

Sunday, July 31, 1:00 PM/ ET: Reid: No Deal

Despite progress, Senator Reid insists that no aggreement has been reached between the two political parties.

Rueters, again:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday that despite progress, "we still have a ways to go" to get a deal to raise the U.S. debt limit.

"A lot closer than yesterday but we still have a ways to go," Reid told reporters as he entered a closed-door meeting with fellow congressional Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

Sunday, July 31, 1:00 PM/ ET: Are We There Yet?

Is a deal finally close to being finalized? GOP Senator McConnell seems to think so . Democratic Senator Harry Reid is also mildly optimistic. But in a curious twist, it's now the
White House that's dampening expectations.

According to Reuters:

No deal has been reached to solve the U.S. debt and deficit crisis, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said in a tweet on Sunday, adding that "a lot of bad info is floating out there."

Sunday, July 31, 10:00 AM/ ET: One Liners ... Peas ... Jell-O ...

AP had a good take on how the debt crisis has brought about a number of one liners.

Seems the idea of eating/not eating peas came out a winner ... so far. Along with Jell-O.

Seems everyone's planning to get on the next edition of Top Chef.

"We might as well do it now," President Obama said a few weeks back about the debt limit. "Pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas."

Tea party activists fired back with a sign at a recent rally:"Eat your own peas!"

Guess they're not into their greens. Maybe there's a political vegetable gap. Didn't George Bush Sr have it in for broccoli?

garden vegetables
garden vegetables

John Boehner made his culinary contribution when he complained that negotiating with the White House was like "dealing with Jell-O." (Bill Cosby know about this?)

The Republican National Committee liked that so much it gave the president a new title: "His Jello-Ness."

Politicians threw in some film metaphors.

House Democrats complained that the repetitive debt debate was starting to feel like "Groundhog Day" and some accused Republicans of taking the country into "The Twilight Zone."

There have been catchy catchphrases like "cut, cap and balance," later derided as "duck, dodge and dismantle." Whole genres of metaphorical warfare have sprung up, producing some hits, but more misses, says AP.

There were some favorite overall cliches for sure:

The clock is ticking. It's the 11th hour. D-Day approaches. The gun is loaded.

Let's add something new: THE DEAL IS DONE!!


" Sunday, July 31, 8:40 Am/ET: News of the World ...

Well, not that News of the World, since it's gone. But take a look at what other countries are saying about the debt ceiling debate, courtesy of Foreign Policy Magazine.

James McHuff

An editorial cartoon in China Daily shows snowballing U.S. debts threatening to crush the rest of the world.

A number of European outlets have attacked the Tea Party, like Der Spiegel's Washington correspondent, Gregor Peter Schmitz .

Spain's El Pais targets both Republicans and Democrats for their "accumulated rigidity" and "mutual distrust," but also singling out Tea Party fundamentalism for "diminishing ... the possibility of reasonable arguments." (No ole's from Michelle Bachman on this.)

Over in France, Les Echos investigates whether credit rating agencies Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch are more kind to the United States than toward European countries. (Do we go back to Freedom Fries again??)

The Tehran Times, a pro-government Iranian daily, uses the debt crisis to criticize U.S. military intervention in the region. University of Tehran professor Ebrahim Motaqi describes what's behind the troubled Treasury . Mmm...

Sunday, July 31, 8 AM/ET: Listen Up, And Let Me Explain ...

Dave & Les Jacobs | Blend Images | Getty Images

Here is how Congress could get the debt ceiling raised and a deficit plan in place, courtesy of Reuters news service.

As with everything in Congress, this scenario could change. (Ain't it the truth?)

SUNDAY:As we said, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a test vote at 1 p.m. EDT on his debt plan.

He could use that step to bring any compromise measure to the Senate floor that he has hammered out with Senate Republicans, the White House and the House leadership. For speedy passage, the Senate would need to hold a procedural vote. Sixty votes would be needed to clear that hurdle.

MONDAY:If that vote succeeds, a vote on final passage in the Senate would come later on Monday, unless all 100 senators agree to vote before then. The measure would then go back to the House.

At that point the House could accept what the Senate has given them and deliver it to Obama for his signature, probably on Tuesday, or change it and send it back to the Senate.

TUESDAY:Reid could advance his bill on its own. That would require an additional procedural vote, pushing back final passage in the Senate until 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday unless every senator agrees to vote before then. Reid would probably have to take this route in the Republican bill fails to pass the House.

The government has exhausted its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit and has paid its bills since May with money freed up by accounting maneuvers.

The Treasury Department has said it will run out of available cash on Tuesday. Your scorecards handy? Best to use a pencil—could be a lot of erasing to do.

Sunday, July 31, 7:30 AM/ET: Today's Schedule ...

Ping Pong
Ping Pong
Ping Pong

Here's what's ahead for today's ping pong match ... eh, debt ceiling debate.

Senate Democrats have delayed a key Sunday morning test vote on legislation to raise the debt limit.

The vote now is to take place at 1 pm ET.

But what are they voting on, you ask? Good question.

Both the House and Senate debt limit votes call for the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral committee tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion through entitlement and tax reform.

But Republicans are reluctant to count that $1.8 trillion toward the debt limit increase unless there's a viable penalty in place that would be triggered if the committee gridlocks, Congress fails to pass their proposal, or President Obama vetoes it, says TPM .

Republican leaders are, by all accounts, pushing for Social Security cuts as part of a trigger, which is a line Democrats simply appear unwilling to cross.

Confused? Bewildered? Bewitched? Can't Dems or GOP get to 21 points with a two point lead? Don't they realize our necks are hurting from this back and forth?

Keep your head loose—we could be in for more as the day unfolds.

Sunday, July 31, 7:15 AM/ET: Good Day Sunshine, Good Day Sunshine!


Top of the morning!

Hold on. It's a little too early to be so chipper but there may be some reason for optimism, at least over this debt ceiling crisis, disaster, conundrum, debacle, doom—and gloom.

Here's the latest:

White House officials and congressional Republicans are reaching toward a potential end to their bitter debt limit showdown, raising hopes that a deal could be in place by Tuesday to avert a possible federal default.

After weeks of strident partisan conflict, the two sides were discussing an accord that would raise the government's borrowing authority in two steps by about $2.4 trillion and cut federal spending by slightly more, according to knowledgeable officials.

Congress would also have to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, a top-flight GOP goal. Unlike a bill approved Friday by the Republican-run House, none of the debt limit increase would be tied to congressional approval of that amendment.

Details of a possible accord began emerging Saturday night after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., said on the Senate floor that the two sides were trying to nail down loose ends and complete an agreement. (Reuters)

The meaning? Tuesday's deadline is forcing some last minute heavy duty deal making. The final version is still to be written. Let's see who blinks the most.

Neither Dems or the GOP are looking to be blamed for a government shutdown.

Saturday, July 30 10:08 PM/ET: Set Your Clocks - 1PM/ET Sunday

Go to sleep, you're not going to miss anything now.

Senator Reid just announced that the Senate vote will now take place at 1PM/ET Sunday — NOT at 1 AM/ET.

Why — he wants to give more time for budget negotiations adding that many elements need to be "finalized" in any debt agreement.

Reid also said compromise negotiations are going on at the White House to avert default.

Ok, so here's the deal...I'm going to bed. I'm shattered. These guys are killing me with their roller coaster "negotiations."

They're going to get some shuteye and I'm signing off now too. See you first thing in the AM - set the coffee maker - I like mine with milk and 2 sweet 'n lows.

Saturday, July 30 10:03 PM/ET: Sen Reid Guidance

NBC News Producers in DC tell us, "We still expect Reid soon with an announcement about the timing of the vote and update on talks.."

Saturday, July 30 9:45 PM/ET: Alert: Sen Reid to Speak at 9:50pm/et

Saturday, July 30 9:23 PM/ET: Please Don't Tease Me

Hint of Deal as Congress Wrangles Over Debt Crisis (NYTimes)

Blend Images | Getty Images

Congressional leaders fought, huddled with President Obama and hinted at an emerging bipartisan deal to end the federal fiscal crisis in a tense Saturday on Capitol Hill, but the stalemate over raising the debt limit persisted just days from a potential default.

In the most vivid illustration yet of the confusion surrounding the debt crisis, the two leading Congressional Republicans announced that they had reopened fiscal talks with the White House in a last-ditch drive to come to terms, only to have the top Senate Democrat leader quickly dismiss the idea that a breakthrough was at hand.

In the wake of the House’s sharp rejection of a Democratic proposal to raise the debt limit, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and a linchpin in efforts to reach a deal, said he and Speaker John A. Boehner were “now fully engaged” in efforts with the White House to find a resolution that would tie an increase in the debt limit to spending cuts and other conditions.

“I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interests of the American people,” said Mr. McConnell, who noted he was personally talking to both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a favorite partner in past negotiations.

A Democratic official with knowledge of the talks said that Mr. McConnell called Mr. Biden early Saturday afternoon, the first conversation between the two men since Wednesday. The official said the two men talked four more times on Saturday as they tried to work out an agreement.

The deal they were discussing, this person said, resembled the bill that Mr. Boehner won approval for in the House more than it did the one that Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, had proposed. It would raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion and set up a bipartisan committee that would work to find $1.6 trillion in more cuts, which would take the country past the 2012 election.

Disagreement would set off cuts from entitlements or other areas to be determined. The official acknowledged that while getting the money from additional revenue was a possibility, it remained unlikely.

The flurry of activity in Washington came as anxiety built up in many corners, including among Wall Street investors worried about the effects on the markets and active-duty soldiers worried about their paychecks.

Saturday, July 9:15 PM/ET: We're Mad As Hell And....

Nation Calls Capital Mad, and It Agrees (NYTimes)

Peter Dazeley | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Ground zero of the debt crisis in Washington just might be Speaker John A. Boehner’s call center, hidden away in a corner of the Capitol, where five besieged staff members have as many as 300 people on hold at a time. “Diane from Oregon” managed to get through on Thursday to tell the center’s director, Thomas A. Andrews, that Mr. Boehner should “cut spending now.”

Mr. Andrews, 24, thanked her for her thoughts, then checked to see how long her wait time had been. “Oh, it’s actually down to 30 minutes,” he said, cheered that it was not an hour and a half. Quickly, he returned to work, where the rest of an astonishing deluge — 15,000 voice mail messages and 30,000 e-mails a day — cried out for his attention.

If the rest of the country thinks Washington has gone mad this summer, that is pretty much the view in this bewildered capital, too, even in Mr. Boehner’s overwhelmed call center.

Among the bar patrons at the Old Ebbitt Grill worried about stock portfolios, the tourists anxious about disability checks and the current and former policy makers stunned by Washington paralysis, the mood was described variously as one of doom, disgust and disbelief.

Washington is talking of little else.

Saturday, July 30 6:15 PM/ET: Ok, Now Watch Out - The Big Guns Are Coming

Flora the Komodo dragon finishes her meal in her enclosure at Chester Zoo, Chester, England, Monday Dec. 18, 2006. In an evolutionary twist, Flora has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
Dave Thompson
Flora the Komodo dragon finishes her meal in her enclosure at Chester Zoo, Chester, England, Monday Dec. 18, 2006. In an evolutionary twist, Flora has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

A Mobilization in Washington by Wall Street (NYT)

After a year of clashing with Washington over new financial reforms, the country’s most powerful bankers have found common ground with regulators in the hard-fought effort to lift the debt ceiling and avoid a default.

Wall Street is no longer watching from the sidelines as the most polarizing political fight in years plays out on Capitol Hill. In the last few days, top executives have been in close contact with Washington in a last-ditch attempt to prod lawmakers toward a compromise by Tuesday, the administration’s deadline to reach a deal.

On Friday, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, raised concerns with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner about whether government checks would still be good if federal payments were disrupted. Mr. Geithner made it clear that the Treasury and Federal Reserve had taken precautions so that payments for food stamps, military wages and other federal obligations would not bounce, according to people briefed on the call.

In addition, more than a dozen chief executives from the nation’s biggest financial services firms wrote a joint letter to President Obama and members of Congress on Thursday warning of “very grave” consequences for the economy and the job market if an agreement wasn’t reached.

It’s not just chief executives who are now doing the talking, either.

Saturday, July 30 6:10 PM/ET: Oy, This Is Giving Me Such a Headache


Obama, Congressional Leaders Confer As Debt Deadline Looms (DJ Wires)

President Barack Obama and top Congressional leaders scrambled Saturday to reach a compromise to raise the debt ceiling as the nation moved closer to running out of money to pay all of its obligations.

Obama met for roughly 90 minutes Saturday afternoon at the White House with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to discuss efforts to address the debt ceiling. Earlier, both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). Obama spoke by phone Friday evening with House Speaker John Boehner (R, Ohio).

Leaders from both parties insisted a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority and cut federal spending was still possible, though both Democrats and Republicans sought to put the onus on the other party for the deadlock just days before the Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury Department to raise the debt ceiling.

"It's time for them to tell us what they're for and how they're going to get us out of the cul de sac that they've driven our country into," Boehner said at a press conference. "We're hoping that we'll hear from them soon about their plan."

Reid, speaking on the Senate floor, said Republicans weren't fully engaged in negotiations. He said he welcomed GOP input on his proposal to increase the debt ceiling into early 2013, but said "we have heard very little from the Republicans." Reid was in conversations with a number of Republicans about ways his proposal could be tweaked to garner GOP votes, including possible triggers to ensure that a second round of spending cuts occurs.

Saturday, July 30 4:40PM/ET: Elsewhere Around the World

Washington DC isn't the only capitol that appears to have gone insane . In Turkey, a key US ally in the middle east and the arguably sole successful democracy in the Muslim world, top military brass have resigned en mass in protest over the unlawful detention of 250 military officers. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan contends that Turkish generals are plotting to overthrow the government. The lira fell on the news.

Also, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Japan , though no reports of deaths or major injuries have surfaced.

July 30 3:20PM/ET: Back to the Drawing Board...Again


As expected, the GOP-led House rejected a Senate bill to lift the debt ceiling by a vote of 246-173. President Obama subsequently summoned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to the White House for a meeting at 3:30.

July 30 2:50PM/ET:

The House is voting now on the Reid bill. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 30 1:30PM/ET:

The House has now reconvened to take up proposed Democratic legislation that would raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending—legislation that Senator Reid already modified to gain GOP support —though the bill's fate is pretty much already known: DOA.

Perhaps, with the score "evened" between the two parties, a path will open for for a last minute compromise before Aug. 2, though some lawmakers are now skeptical that even that is possible .

Saturday, July 30 11 AM/ET: "Like Manure on the Rug"

While the country waits for the GOP-controlled House to take up a version of Senator Reid's bill aimed at resolving—at least temporarily—the US debt-ceiling crisis, some more moderate GOP members are are starting to wonder whether their Faustian bargain with Tea Partiers might not have been such a good idea after all .

From The Hill :

Given that Boehner had to change his own bill to win over members, some veteran Republicans worry their party could be seen as intransigent.

“A lot of the stuff these representatives are talking about is good in their districts,” said former Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio). “But it's like manure on the rug in Ohio.”

He said the tough line won’t help Republicans in the Buckeye State, a key swing state in the 2012 elections.

Current members of the Senate have also expressed frustration with the GOP's rightward flank, warning that their insistence on ideological purity could mean the undoing of the party brand as a whole.

Saturday, July 30 10 AM/ET: What We're Watching for Today

Getty Images

House Republicans will bring up Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s debt limit package just to vote it down, an attempt to show that the legislation is dead in the lower chamber, according to GOP leadership sources, reports Politico.

We don't know what time that is exactly—for the vote.

Reid's package—which includes a single debt limit hike—is likely to see support from House Democrats, but little from the GOP.

The package includes $2.7 trillion in increased borrowing authority, cutting nearly $2.2 trillion from spending while creating a panel to find additional savings.

The Boehner plan would raise the debt limit by $900 billion, requiring another vote to boost the government’s borrowing authority early next year by another $1.6 trillion.

As we know, Boehner's debt limit package passed the House Friday with 218 votes, but was voted down in the Senate.

So it seems turnabout is 'fair play' in the minds of some politicians? Guess these guys need a sandbox to play in.

rong>Saturday, July 30 9:40 AM ET: Like Watching Grass Grow

Silvia Otte | Getty Images

Let's be honest here. It might be a bit slower on the debt ceiling news front during the weekend.

But the minute you say something like that, all hell breaks loose—which is what most journalists live for.

To state the obvious, we'll be on top of things.

It's been a crazy last couple of days, and should be heating up some more as Tuesday's deadline for raising the debt ceiling gets closer.

We're not going anywhere, so stick around.

Saturday, July 30 9:10 AM ET: Bill O'Reilly—The Negotiator

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Peter Adams  | The Image Bank | Getty Images
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

(What About William Shatner?)

Seems TV talk show host, author, speaker, Bill O'Reilly offered to try and end the debt ceiling crisis.

Tongue somewhat in cheek, Bill O'Reilly offered to fly down to Washington to personally broker the stalled talks over raising the U.S. debt ceiling, says the Huffington Post.

Speaking on his Thursday show, O'Reilly noted that he has broken with Republicans such as Michele Bachmann in actually wanting to raise the debt ceiling.

He offered what he said would be his outline for a compromise, which included $2 trillion in spending cuts and a closing of tax loopholes for the wealthy.

FYI.. O'Reilly took some Republicans to task on his Thursday show , saying that they needed to stop their "craziness," tone down their "hateful rhetoric" and pass a debt ceiling increase.

Say, doesn't William Shatner do some negotiating? Oh, wait, that's for airline, hotel prices. Well, if he could go where no man has gone before (Star Trek), what's wrong with stopping off at Capitol Hill on his way to the stars?

Cam Newton
Getty Images
Cam Newton

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Tooga | Getty Images

Okay, let's review just a bit to remind us of why we are in this mess. (with thanks to American Prospect)

Q. What is the debt ceiling?

A. The debt ceiling is the maximum amount of money that the government can borrow to issue payments for programs like Social Security, military salaries, Medicare benefits, and tax refunds.

The debt-ceiling was created in 1917, and was intended to eliminate the need for yearly congressional approval on issuing debt. (ok, but how's that working out now??)

In the past 10 years Congress has voted 10 times to raise debt limits.

Q. What is the current debt ceiling limit?

A. The debt ceiling is currently at $14.294 trillion. Once the debt ceiling is reached, the government can’t make new spending commitments. At the end of March, the U.S. had $76 billion left for making debt payments.

Q. Why do we have this political gridlock?

A. Part of the reason is because of the legislative set up. You see, up until 1974, the House automatically passed a resolution with the budget that changed the debt limit in the budget bill.

But in '74, the Congressional Budget Act established a new procedure—requiring separate legislation to pass the debt limit. This was done so Congress could debate the status and trajectory of the federal debt.

Maybe we want to re-think that last part.

Saturday, July 30 7:20 AM/ET: While We're Waiting ... Debt Ceiling Factoid

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Quick, name the only other democracy besides the U.S. that has a debt ceiling law. Did you saw Denmark? You are correct. (It's on the map—top of Germany)

Denmark has a fixed debt limit comparable to that of the U.S. There, the debt limit is raised through legislation in a separate action from the annual budget process—sort of like what we do in the U.S.

But in Denmark, the debt limit is set at a level so high that the ability of debt managers to issue payments is not inhibited.

Mmmm ... wonder if we should try that here?

The lawmakers of other countries such as Canada and Sweden approve borrowing authority, but it's usually tied to approval of annual budget decisions.

The U.K. New Zealand, and other countries give their treasury departments a lot of room to borrow in the public interest. But these countries have parliamentary systems of government, so borrowing money to fund the government usually requires less deliberation—and a lot less aggravation.

Saturday, July 30 7:05 AM/ET: Good Morning, Good Morning!!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

sot | Photodisc | Getty Images

Let's see where things stand over a cup of coffee. Whether it's a good morning is for another day.

"The GOP-controlled House and the Democratic Senate remain at loggerheads over debt legislation required to avoid a first-ever default on U.S. financial obligations as lawmakers and the White House head into a pressure-packed weekend in search of compromise."

That's what the wire services say. In other words, we're pretty much right where we started on Thursday.

After the House has passed their version of the debt bill Friday night, the Senate killed it less than two hours later.

What's next? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set up a test vote for the wee hours of Sunday morning to break a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

But ... the House was set to even the score by voting Saturday to reject an alternative measure by Reid— even before the Senate has taken it up.

You think these guys would settle this thing just to have the weekend off!!

Meanwhile President Obama is urging both sides to each a deal quickly to keep the government from defaulting on payments to veterans, Social Security recipients and others. This was from his weekly radio/internet address. We're sure they were all listening.

Friday, July 29 9:25 PM/ET: Thanks, But No Thanks Guys

Senate Swiftly Rejects GOP Debt Plan Hours After House Vote(CNBC.com)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The Senate swiftly rejected Boehner's debt-limit plan just hours after the House passed it.

The House plans to vote on Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's plan Saturday, which would pave the way for a bipartisan compromise on the debt ceiling and staving off default.

With time running short ahead of a Tuesday deadline, Republicans pushed their deficit-cutting plan through the House by a vote of 218-to-210 after the leadership reworked the bill to win over anti-tax conservatives in their ranks. They needed 216 to get it passed.

The bill was voted down 59 to 41 in the Senate.

Friday, July 29 8:27 PM/ET: The Senate Voted It Down, D'uh

Senate sidelines Boehner bill

  • Ayes- 59
  • Nays 41

Motion to table the Boehner bill which effectively sets it aside for now.

Friday, July 29 7:48 PM/ET: We're Going Into Overtime!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

From NBC News:

The Majority Leader's office just announced the schedule for Saturday, and they are expecting to consider H.R. 2693, Senator Harry Reid's "Budget Control Act of 2011.

The House will meet at noon on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday for legislative business.

First votes are expected at approximately 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Friday, July 29 7:24 PM/ET: This Just In From The White House

Statement by the Press Secretary

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

"The bill passed today in the House with exclusively Republican votes would have us face another debt ceiling crisis in just a few months by demanding the Constitution be amended or America defaults. This bill has been declared dead on arrival in the Senate. Now that yet another political exercise is behind us, with time dwindling, leaders need to start working together immediately to reach a compromise that avoids default and lays the basis for balanced deficit reduction.

Senator Reid's proposal is a basis for that compromise. It not only achieves more deficit reduction than the bill passed in the House today and puts a process in place to achieve even more savings, it also removes the uncertainty surrounding the risk of default. The President urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House - a plan the President can sign by Tuesday."


Friday, July 29 7:15 PM/ET: Latest In Your Civics Lesson

From NBC's DC Producers:

There will be three votes coming up soon in the Senate - two procedural votes and one on the Boehner bill

The vote on the Boehner bill is a political vote that Democrats want to prove it will go down in the Senate.

Reid has not filed cloture on his bill yet ...

Friday, July 29 6:55 PM/ET: For The Record...When No Means No

From NBC News:

The following 22 GOP House Members votes againstthe Boehner bill:

  • Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
  • Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN)
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
  • Rep. John Duncan (R-SC)
  • Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
  • Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA)
  • Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
  • Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL)
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA)
  • Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL)
  • Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC)
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
  • Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
  • Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
  • Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
  • Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL)
  • Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
  • Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL)

Friday, July 29 6:50 PM/ET: And Now It's Up To You Senator Reid

John Boehner debt ceiling bill passes; Senate deal making begins (Politico.com)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

House Passes Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase (The Caucus Blog, New York Times)

Urging passage for the bill, an emotional Mr. Boehner angrily accused President Obama and his Democratic allies of negotiating in bad faith for weeks and called the bill the only way to “end this crisis now.”

“All they would do was criticize what I put out there,” Mr. Boehner said, his voice rising during a rare appearance on the floor. “I stuck my neck out a mile to get an agreement with the president of the United States. I stuck my neck out a mile. I put revenues on the table.”

He added: “A lot of people in this town can never say yes.”

Democrats in the House sought to embarrass the Republican majority by amending Mr. Boehner’s legislation to require that any deficit reduction be done first by closing tax subsidies for oil companies and corporate jet owners. The amendment was quickly rejected by the Republican majority.

“We face a self-inflicted crisis and the majority’s solution is no solution at all,” Representative Louise Slaughter of New York said during debate before the bill passed.

Friday, July 29 6:31 PM/ET: Breaking Down The Votes

From NBC News:

The House passed the Budget Control Act by a narrow vote of 218-210. Below is the vote breakdown:


The vote breakdown is:

  • Yeas - 218 (218-GOP; 0-Dems)
  • Nays - 210 (22-GOP; 118-Dems)
  • No Votes - 5

Friday, July 29 6:30 PM/ET: It's Official, But...

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Peter Adams  | The Image Bank | Getty Images
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

US House Votes To Approve Boehner Debt-Ceiling Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed Republican legislation providing a short-term, $900 billion increase in the nation's borrowing limit by 218-210 votes.

The legislation, which also contains $917 billion in spending cuts over a decade, now goes to the Senate.

Democrats who control that chamber vow to block it in favor of a longer-term $2.5 trillion debt limit increase with about $2.2 trillion in spending cuts.

Friday, July 29 6:22 PM/ET: 216 plus 2!

Enough Republicans have voted on Friday for their leadership's $900 billion short-term debt limit increase to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.

Voting in the House continued on the bill, which would cut $917 billion in spending over the next ten years. (Reuters)

Friday, July 29 6:20 PM/ET: Alert: Boehner Debt Bill Tally Reaches 216 Supporters, Voting Continues - Final Tally Pending (DJ Wires)

Friday, July 29 6:13 PM/ET: Alert: House Begins Vote On Bill To Raise Debt Ceiling By $900B (DJ Wires)

Friday, July 29 6:12 PM/ET: Boehner: 'I Stuck My Neck Out A Mile'

Boehner Brings Debt Bill to Floor

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


U.S. House Speaker John Boehner brought a revised bill to raise the debt ceiling, cut spending and call for a balanced-budget amendment to the House floor for a vote Friday evening.

Boehner said the bill was necessary "after I stuck my neck out a mile trying to get an agreement with the president of the United States."

"But a lot of people in this town can never say yes. This house has acted and it is time for this administration to put something on the table, tell us where you are."

Boehner on Thursdayfailed to round up enough support for his plan, exposing a rift in the Republican Party.

Friday, July 29, 5:15 PM/ET: What's On TV Tonight?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Getty Images

From NBC:

At approximately 5:00-5:15 p.m. we will have the second vote of the day on the modification Rule. We will then move into debate on the Budget Control Act (Boehner Bill).

  1. (Watch it NOW)

There is 1 minute left in the debate on the Boehner Bill, which will likely be taken up by Speaker Boehner, and will last longer than one minute.

Members are being encouraged to remain on the Floor during debate between our second and third vote series.

At roughly 5:45-6:00 p.m. we will have the third and final series of votes for the day on passage of the Boehner Bill.

They are expected to walk off the floor at roughly 6:30-7:00 p.m.

Friday, July 29, 5 PM/ET: Heating Up ... Again!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

An ice cream vendor pushes her cart near the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Getty Images
An ice cream vendor pushes her cart near the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

From NBC News:

Rep Gerald Connolly (D-VA) just got heated while debating on the House floor:

This bill is a blatant cynical exercise in raw political muscle, and nothing more.

To the house republicans bent on turning our founding fathers into deadbeat dads, I would respond using Speaker Boehner's own words from last year: "Hell no, you can't!"

Friday, July 29 4:45 PM/ET: That's Some Spin Mr DJ

From NBC News Producers:

A little bit of fun in DC:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said, "Speaker Boehner's theme song should be 'It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."

Hmmmm, what should the theme song be? Leave your comments below.

Friday, July 29 4:35 PM/ET: Snake Oil in DC? No Way.

Balanced Budget Amendment Wins Plaudits and Jeers

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Source: Lucasfilm

(Associated Press)

A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget is the best way to force dawdling politicians to finally mop up the record red ink plaguing Washington. Or it is snake oil that would let those same politicians pose as serious deficit warriors while, as always, leaving the real work for later.

Either way, the proposal — a Washington staple for decades that as usual faces long odds for passage — took center stage Friday as a potent vote-getting device for conservatives.

Friday, July 29 4:20 PM/ET: Happy Hour aka - Vote Timing, Updated

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Women drinking cocktails at a club.
Women drinking cocktails at a club.

From NBC News DC Producers:

The House has moved into debate on the modification Rule.

At approximately 5:00-5:15 PM we will have the second vote of the day on the modification Rule. We will then move into debate on the Budget Control Act (Boehner Bill).

There is 1 minute left in the debate on the Boehner Bill, which will likely be taken up by Speaker Boehner, and will last longer than one minute.

Members are being encouraged to remain on the Floor during debate between our second and third vote series.

At roughly 5:45-6:00 PM we will have the third and final series of votes for the day on passage of the Boehner Bill.

They are expected to walk off the Floor at roughly 6:30-7:00 p.m.

Friday, July 29, 3:40 PM/ET: Who's To Blame For This Mess Poll!

We'd like to hear what you think.

Take our poll. It's completely unscientific—just for the record.

Vote to see results
Total Votes:

Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

But your thoughts are important to us. One of us may even write a book about what you said.

Results may vary depending on where you live and what you might have had for lunch.

Polls will stay open through the weekend.

No ID required. You don't have to be 18 to vote. You don't have to register.

Just click.

And tell your friends!!!

Tell your family!! Tell anyone! (We want the page views)

Friday, July 29 3:19 PM/ET: In Case You Missed It—Cramer's "Mad as Hell" MSNBC Moment

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

On MSNBC's Show, Andrea Mitchell Reports, our own Jim Cramer schooled us.....big time.

He says even if the US does not default - a credit downgrade is still a very real possibility.

Cramer laid out three possibilities of what could happen.

WARNING:not for the timid.

Jim's a tad worked up! But c'mon, that's what you love most about the guy.

Friday, July 29 3:00 PM/EC: First, Lord of the Zings McCain Calls Them "Hobbits" And Now This?

Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Jonah Light | Getty Images

The Psychology of Political Stubbornness (Miller-McCune.com)

Politicians: They’re slick and soulless, shifting positions shamelessly to stay ahead of public opinion. Unless they’re ridiculously rigid and inflexible, sticking to their principles even when doing so courts disaster.

Unfair clichés? To be sure. But in rough, unsophisticated terms, these stereotypes delineate the extreme ends of our Congressional continuum. They’re reminders that even politicians from the same party, who advocate the same policies, can have dramatically different personalities.

...This dynamic helps explain the rigidity of thought we’ve been witnessing in recent weeks among members of Congress. For many, bending would mean betraying their own sense of who they are and why they’re in office.

But that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to eternal gridlock.

Friday, July 29 2:40 PM/ET: Give 'em Hell Harry 2.0

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Reid: "The Only Compromise There Is, Is Mine"


"Obvious what is being done in the House is not compromise.

It is being jammed through with all kinds of non-transparent dealings, people shuffling in and out of the Republican Leader's office.

We're recognizing that the only compromise that there is, is mine," Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said.

You can watch more here.

Friday, July 29 2:31 PM/ET: Latest Vote Timing Guidance From NBC


We are currently debating the same day Rule.

  • At approximately 2:40-2:50 p.m. we will have our first series for the day on the same day Rule. Following this series we will begin debate on the modification Rule.
  • At roughly 4:45-5:15 p.m. we will have our second vote of the day on the modification Rule. We will then move into debate on the Budget Control Act.
  • At roughly 5 :45-6:15 p.m.we will have our third and final series for the day on passage of the Budget Control Act.

Friday, July 29 2:30 PM/ET: And Now, A Word From.....You, Dear Readers.

Thought we'd take a minute and share some of the comments we're getting here on the blog:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

philosophy2536 writes:Are we done with the stupidity of Boehner, tea party and others alike. Their is more important issues than that, we are just wasting time and money of the Citizens. How can elected people be so disgusting and idiots

TxChristopher writes:For thew last time, executive orders do not carry any force of law. The president cannot create law, congress does that. the president cannot pass budgets, congress does that. As much as all you losers would seemingly like it, we do not live in a dictatorship. Damn. The American people ars stupid.

Smitty68 writes:Bottom line - How long can the democrats say no but offer nothing in return - they are sickening emabarrasement to this country - to allow them to focus on perserving their seats vs doing what they were elected to do has got to stop _ Reid is now is now a problem for all of us not just the great state of Nevadadue due to his poor leadership - but all he is been is professional politican - should we expect anymore???? We all better get our act together and SOON!!!

Jrod2530 writes:When the govt says it will pay the debt and interest payments, does this include the Federal Reserve. In other words, are we going to default because we want to pay ourselves?

everettoncnbc writes:"Countdown to Debt Ceiling "D-Day" ?? Really? I find it totally irresponsible of CNBC to place such words as "D-Day" on the front page of their website. While agreed the August 2nd deadline is fast approaching CNBC should not be fanning the flames with this propaganda - people NOT in the financial industry trust this site for news, information and insights - not for the propigation of speculation and rumors. Shame on you CNBC

a2burns writes:i want to watch boehner cry some more !!!!!!!!!!

unity57 writes:I didn't see this coming: Boehner is the one who must fall on his sword. The only solution is compromise with the dems. Poor Boehner. Now I know why he cries. His career is finished. As a politician.

Friday, July 29 2:14 PM/ET: The Twitter Hashtag That Can't Be Printed Here.

'Cause you know, the boss will keeeeeeell me if I use that word...but the #F-bomb has landed - and the people have tweeted.

Friday, July 29 2:10 PM/ET: Debtmageddon - The Debate Begins, AGAIN!

You can watch it all here on CNBC.

Friday, July 29 2:00 PM/ET: Boehner's Got Mo'?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Balanced Budget Amendment Adds Momentum to Boehner Plan (Politico.com)

House Republican leaders will tie a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution to their two-step debt-ceiling bill — a move that is all but certain to clinch the necessary votes to pass Speaker John Boehner’s proposal a day after it stalled.

“I think this passes,” Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) said.

Several GOP conservatives had held back their support for Boehner’s bill because they wanted the balanced budget amendment provision included. It was the main point of contention in Thursday night’s talks between GOP leaders and the holdouts.

The House plans to vote on the bill Friday.

Friday, July 29 1:50 PM/ET: These Cats Are Really On Top Of This Debt Crisis

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Source: debtceilingcat.tumblr.com

C'mon, throw us a bone, we've been live blogging this since Tuesday.

Wanna see more Debt Ceiling Cats - click here...they're purrrrrfect .

Friday, July 29, 1:40 PM/ET: Forget the 14th ...:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The Beatles
John Pratt | Keystone | Getty Images
The Beatles

This just in from Reuters: The White House Friday addressed increasing calls by some Democrats for President Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling on his own by invoking the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

"This administration does not believe that the 14th amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

A clause dating from the Civil War era of the 1860s says the U.S. public debt "shall not be questioned." The White House has resisted taking such a step.

One thing you can remember about the 14th of August anyway: the Beatles taped an appearance for the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965.

Friday, July 29, 1:30 PM/ET: Another Long Night?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

sot | Photodisc | Getty Images

Let's see where things stand over a cup of coffee. Whether it's a good morning is for another day.

"The GOP-controlled House and the Democratic Senate remain at loggerheads over debt legislation required to avoid a first-ever default on U.S. financial obligations as lawmakers and the White House head into a pressure-packed weekend in search of compromise."

That's what the wire services say. In other words, we're pretty much right where we started on Thursday.

After the House has passed their version of the debt bill Friday night, the Senate killed it less than two hours later.

What's next? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set up a test vote for the wee hours of Sunday morning to break a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

But ... the House was set to even the score by voting Saturday to reject an alternative measure by Reid— even before the Senate has taken it up.

You think these guys would settle this thing just to have the weekend off!!

Meanwhile President Obama is urging both sides to each a deal quickly to keep the government from defaulting on payments to veterans, Social Security recipients and others. This was from his weekly radio/internet address. We're sure they were all listening.

Friday, July 29 9:25 PM/ET: Thanks, But No Thanks Guys

Senate Swiftly Rejects GOP Debt Plan Hours After House Vote(CNBC.com)


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Friday, July 29 1:20 PM/ET: Oh, Those Critics!:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The Producers
Greg Wood | AFP | Getty Images
The Producers

The White House is dismissing the latest debt-ceiling bill from House Speaker John Boehner as overly partisan and a dangerous waste of time. (AP)

The reworked version of Boehner's bill, designed to attract conservative votes, would condition a future increase in the debt ceiling on passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. That would require approval by two-thirds majorities in both houses in Congress.

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney said Friday that given Boehner's difficulty in getting a bare majority for his bill, it's not realistic to hinge future measures on something that needs a two-thirds vote.

With the debt-ceiling default looming Tuesday, Carney said Boehner's bill amounts to a dangerous game and not what the American people want their elected representatives to be doing.

Friday, July 29 1:11 PM/ET: For Your Viewing Pleasure

Will Crocker | Getty Images

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Treasury Building
Treasury Building


The U.S. Treasury will not unveil a plan on Friday on how the government will operate and pay its bills if Congress does not raise the debt cap in a timely manner, a source familiar with the administration's thinking said.

As Tuesday's deadline to raise the country's $14.3 trillion debt limit draws near, Treasury has said it will provide more information on how the government will operate without the authority to borrow more funds to pay its bills.

Friday, July 29 1:01 PM/ET: White House Briefing Happening Now - We'll Keep You Posted

Friday, July 29 1:00 PM/ET: Yep, There's Time For Lunch

From NBC News:

The House will reconvene at 2pm.

The House Rules Committee is beginning debate on the new Boehner Debt bill now.

NO clear timetable as of now when the Boehner bill hits the floor but if debate is limited (real possibility because so many spoke on the floor yesterday) we expect it to happen before 6:30pm and or when Nightly News goes to air. However, on Capitol Hill, nothing is agreed to unless everything is agreed to.

Friday, July 29 12:57 PM/ET: What's Missing Here Is Some Good O' Fashioned Panic

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Source: Allied Artists Pictures
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Dave Bradley Photography | Getty Images

They're Not That Far Apart (Politico.com)

As bad as Washington looks—and it does look really bad right now — there’s a path to compromise on the debt crisis if only the two parties would step back and take stock of their fundamental goals — and use a little first-grade math.

For better or worse, Speaker John Boehner has locked in on the standard that any debt increase must be matched “dollar-for-dollar” with deficit reduction. This is his mantra, which he can’t be expected to surrender. But he could give President Barack Obama more flexibility in meeting this goal and stop using a nuclear weapon—default— as a way to force action from a Congress that doesn’t fully understand what he is talking about.

Friday, July 29 12:35 PM/ET: Retooling For The Rebels

Republican leaders rushed to retool their debt plan in hopes of gaining enough votes. Here's more on the language change from NBC News:

The change to House Speaker Boehner's bill is in the form of an amendment to his original bill. The amendment changes the language saying that during the second round of cuts, requiring them to be "greater than $1,600,000,000,000".

The amendment adds the following stipulation:

That the cuts are "greater than $1,600,000,000,000 and the Archivist of the United States has submitted to the States for their ratification a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States pursuant to a joint resolution entitled 'Joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States'.

Friday, July 29 12:30 PM/ET: The Read on Reid

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

From Reuters:

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Friday his budget legislation would increase the nation's borrowing authority until March, 2013 and reiterated that he would not accept a short-term debt limit increase as Republicans are insisting.

Earlier in the day, Reid called on Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to sit down with him to work out a compromise for cutting federal spending and raising the debt limit by the Aug. 2 deadline.

McConnell has thus far thrown his support behind a House of Representatives Republican bill that has been refined and could be voted upon later in the day. Reid has vowed to defeat that bill, which would extend the debt limit for only a few months.

Friday, July 29 12:28 PM/ET: Alert: US Democratic Senator Schumer Says Hopes For Debt Limit Compromise With Republican Leader McConnell By End of Friday.(Reuters)

Friday, July 29 12:27 PM/ET: Grab Your Partners, We've Got Us A Hoedown

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Peter Essick | Aurora | Getty Images

G.O.P. Fervor Cuts 2 Ways for Boehner (NYTimes)

There is an old Texas saying often applied to politics that you need to “dance with the one that brung you.” But many of the Tea Party-infused freshmen who helped the Republican Party take control of the House last November are here to polka while their leadership is begging them to waltz.

No matter the outcome of the effort by the House speaker, John A. Boehner, to jam his debt ceiling bill through the House over the opposition of a band of freshmen and other conservatives, it is increasingly clear that the same political insurgency that put Republicans into power also has the potential to leave the party so divided that it struggles to govern.

Friday, July 29 12:15 PM/ET: Reid: "Stakes Couldn't Be Higher"

Headlines from Reid:

-He will not accept short-term debt limit increase
-Plans to keep the Senate in session through the weekend
-2nd time this week that conservative opposition have postponed a vote
-No democrats pledged support to the Boehner bill in the House
-Republicans race to revive debt plan after vote postponed last night
-He may advance his own bill rather than wait for Boehner bill

Friday, July 29 12:14 PM/ET: Harry Reid Talking Now

Friday, July 29 12:13 PM/ET: What Boehner Said

From NBC's DC Producers:

From an aide inside the meeting, House Speaker John Boehner told this to the GOP conference:

"If we pass this today, we will have sent not one, but two bills to the Senate that would end this crisis. All that will stand between the American people and a resolution to this crisis will be the Senate, which has passed nothing."

Friday, July 12:08 PM/ET: From the Twitterer-in-Chief:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Friday, July 12:06 PM/ET: Rules To Live By

From NBC News DC Producers:

The Rules Committee will hold an emergency meeting today on Boehner's new plan at 12:50 p.m. in H-313 Capitol. Yesterday the Rules Committee voted to allow Boehner's bill to be introduced and voted on in the same day.

Friday, July 12:01 PM/ET: Springtime in DC - Could Things Be Looking up?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

NBC DC Producers are reporting: GOP Members on New Plan

House GOP members left their conference meeting this morning optimistic that Boehner's new plan would pass the House. The new plan would require both the House and the Senate to pass a version of the Balanced Budget Act, and send it to the States for ratification, before the second tranche in the increase of the debt ceiling.

Rep. Gingrey (R-GA) left the meeting and says the new BBA stipulation has changed him from a no to a yes.

Rep. Gohmert (R-TX), who was a definite no yesterday ("bloodied and beaten no" as he put it) is on the fenceleaning on yes.

Others were optimistic but skepticalof the new bill, saying they needed to see if before they made a decision.

This is looking good for Boehner, but many of the members want to see what version of BBA ends up on the actual bill. Also, another major hurdle is that the BBA is likely to be dead in the Senate, as it requires a 2/3rd majority. which means we could be back to square one later this year (if this bill passes) when the newly formed committee recommends the cuts for the 1.8 trillion increase but cannot raise the debt ceiling because the BBA hasn't passed.

Friday, July 29 11:54: Alert: Majority Leader Cantor: Have Enough Votes To Pass Debt Ceiling Bill (DJ Wires)

Friday, July 29 11:52 AM/ET: Caller, Are You There?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Alfred Gescheidt | The Image Bank | Getty Images

From NBC News:

Staff in the House of Representives are again getting the below email warning that the House telephone circuits are again near capacity, resulting in outside callers occasionally getting busy signals.

This on the heels of President Obama again calling on Americans to call their members about the debt limit negotiations.

From: Call Center
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2011 11:21 AM
To: System Administrators, All

Subject: System Alert - House Telephone Circuits Near Capacity

Due to the high volume of external calls, House telephone circuits serving 202-225-XXXX phone numbers are near capacity resulting in outside callers occasionally getting busy signals. Outbound calls are unaffected.

During this time offices may wish to provide district office staff and key contacts with an alternate 202-226-XXXX extension, if available, until call volumes subside.

If you have any questions, please contact the CAO Technology Call Center

Friday, July 29 11:46 AM/ET: While Rome Burned, They Tweeted.

Sen Harry Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson just tweeted:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


As Debt Ceiling Deadline Looms, Default or Compromise? (Politico.com)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed to return to his bill Friday, but Thursday’s chaos — hours of private meetings, praying and postponed votes — raises fresh concerns that the country is stumbling toward a possible default and downgrade of its credit rating.

“I felt for some time that a default was likely,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, told POLITICO. “Now, it’s more likely than not.”

Friday, July 29 11:37 AM/ET: Tea Party Holdout

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

On CNBC this morning, Congressman Todd Aiken was asked why he would not support speaker Boehner's bill?

He began his answer by saying, "One of the things people don't understand is the magnitude of how much debt we really have. If you really think of the government and all of the defense department and all of the other things the government does, all of that is being financed right now by debt, so the crisis that we're facing is far bigger than, I think, people realize."

Friday, July 29 11:30 AM/ET: Well, At Least He Is

NBC DC Producers:

Speaker Boehner was asked if he had a deal as he departed the House GOP Conference meeting this morning. He responded " I'm smiling."

Friday, July 29 11:25 AM/ET: From Their Jackson Hole Soire

Dennis P. Lockhart to CNBC's Steve Liesman:

Liesman: How is a fed policymaker such as yourself processing the potential for a downgrade or a default?

Lockhart: I think it's just essential that this debt ceiling increase gets done and I am really reticent to speculate on how the markets will react given the scenario that you've laid out."

Friday, July 29 11:20 AM/ET: "Nobody Likes Obama." - What, Nobody?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

President Barack Obama speaking at the White House on raising the debt ceiling, July 29, 2011
President Barack Obama speaking at the White House on raising the debt ceiling, July 29, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday called for a compromise to resolve the debt limit crisis, saying a bill put forward by House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner "does not solve the problem." "What's clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan," he said at the White House. (Reuters)

Friday, July 29, 10:44 AM/ET: Chchchch..Changes (thanks to David Bowie):

AP Source: House GOP to change stalled bill, vote as soon as Friday. House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier said the retooled bill would place tougher requirements on Congress for passing a balanced budget constitutional amendment.

House Republicans leaving a briefing with their leaders told reporters the revised bill was attracting more support from conservatives who had blocked an earlier version of a debt limit bill from coming to a vote late on Thursday.

Friday, July 29, 10:38 AM/ET: Barack Obama:

What He Said:House plan would force us to relive the debt ceiling issue. There are multiple ways to solve this problem. Lower creidit rating would result in tax increase. Parties are not that far apart. We will solve this. Time for putting party first is over ... He warns US will lose top credit rating in default, urges people to pressure Congress.

Friday, July 29, 10:35 AM/ET: Barack Obama:

He's speaking now... !!

Friday, July 29, 10:33 AM/ET: Barack Obama:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

They put a book that contains his remarks on the podium at the White House. Waiting ... waiting ...

Friday, July 29, 10:28 AM/ET: George W. Bush:

Wasn't he always on time?

Friday, July 29, 10:27 AM/ET: Bill Clinton:

Wasn't he always late??

Friday, July29, 10:22 AM/ET: Waiting on Obama ...

Nothing else to say except ... waiting on Obama. Any moment now.

Friday, July 29, 10:06 AM/ET: Just Say No?!:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Getty Images

That plan Harry Reid had about getting something done in the Senate today? Forget about it. And forget the handshake. ( We're just being a bit cynical with the image)

GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell gave John Boehner strong backing this morning on the Senate floor as Boehner tries to push his bill through the House—McConnell said "You've got the Speaker of the House doing his job"

McConnell did not accept Reid's invitation to get together and compromise—instead he attacked Senate Dems. "Our Democrat friends here in the Senate have offered no solutions to this crisis that could pass either chamber." Ouch!

Friday, July 29, 9:57 AM/ET:Excited to Be Back!:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Tiger Woods
Getty Images
Tiger Woods

Not Congress, Tiger Woods.

After missing two majors during an 11-week break to make sure his left leg was fully healed, Woods announced Thursday evening on Twitter and on his website that he would return next week at the Bridgestone Invitational.

"Feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week. Excited to get back out there!" he tweeted.

Ok, we're off target here, but at least Tiger's ready to do some work.

Friday, July 29, 9:51 AM/ET: Weekend Duty:

The Senate Democratic leader says he will move ahead with a debt-limit bill as a rival proposal remains stalled in the House. (AP)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday that his plan would cut $2.5 trillion from the deficit over a decade and avert a debilitating default. He said it's likely the last chance to save the nation from default with a Tuesday deadline looming.

The Nevada Democrat said he has invited his counterpart, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, to negotiate with him. Reid's move sets up a potential showdown vote in the Senate on Sunday.

Friday, July 29, 9:50 AM/ET: Going to the Chapel:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Church of England
Church of England

Interesting report from AP about what happened before Thursday's non vote:

The stare-down over the debt limit debate had become so fierce that a trio of South Carolina Republicans, pressured by their leaders to agree to a bill they didn't like, sought answers from a higher power.

"I'm going to pray on it," Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., said late Thursday. He ducked into a locked, little-known room tucked between the Rotunda walls and House Speaker John Boehner's office.

Soon, fellow South Carolina Republicans Mick Mulvaney and Tim Scott punched the door combination and joined him.

Scott seemed the least burdened of the three. For him, "divine inspiration already happened." "I was a lean no. Now I'm a no," he said with a grin.

The trio settled into chairs in the small, high-ceilinged room, which is dominated by a stained glass window that does not face the outside and fills the entire wall.

A light behind it reveals George Washington at its center, on bended knee.

Their retreat lasted about 10 minutes.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, deep into the difficult task of rounding up enough votes to pass Boehner's debt ceiling plan, had summoned the lawmakers to his office for pizza and a chat.

They ambled downstairs and joined a parade of Republican colleagues filing into McCarthy's office who had not committed to voting for Boehner's bill.


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Peter Dazeley | Getty Images

According to House GOP leadership, the House will meet at 9 am EST for legislative business, (which means they're meeting now) do 10 one minute speeches (5 per party), and then immediately go into recess until they are ready to vote on the Boehner bill. (NBC News)

According to the whip's office—Rep. Eric Cantor— "There are multiple moving parts to today's schedule, and we expect to know more about how the rest of the day plays out by mid to late morning."

No matter what happens, we should not expect any votes before 11 am.

Friday, July 29, 9:20 AM/ET: How Short Were They?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Robert Hsu | Getty Images

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that his party was between two and six votes short of having sufficient support to pass Boehner's plan on Thursday night. (Huffington Post)

FYI: The deadline for extension is 4 days and a half days away.

Friday, July 29, 9:15 AM/ET: Obama Speaks:

President Obama will deliver a statement on the status of debt ceiling negotiations at 10:20 AM EST. We'll have it live for you.

Friday, July 29, 9:00 AM/ET: Re-Cap:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Travelif | Photodisc | Getty Images

Here's where things stand. House Republicans called off the vote last night to pass Speaker John Boehner's debt limit bill. Not enough GOPers were behind for various reasons.

The vote, originally scheduled for 6 p.m .,says web site TPM, was delayed at the last minute, when Boehner and his leadership team finally faced the harsh reality: despite a swing of momentum in their direction over the previous 24 hours, they didn't have the votes.

And with no Democrats there to help them, they needed 217 Republicans to be on board. They were not.

Word is that many Republicans are meeting this morning to figure out what's their next move.There is talk that a vote could come today. Even if it passes the House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared it "dead on arrival" in the Senate.

Friday, July 29, 8:50 AM/ET: Naked Gun?:

The Washington Post reports on some of the arm-twisting that went on behind the scenes as Republicans tried to convince undecided members to vote for Boehner's debt ceiling plan:

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Naked Gun
Naked Gun

The lobbying for Rep. Tim Walberg’s debt-ceiling vote began early Thursday morning. The third time it happened, it was only 7:20 a.m. and he was ‘naked.'

"Hey, Walberg!” a voice called out to the two-term Republican congressman from Michigan, who was in the shower at the House gym. “Are you with us?”

Walberg, 60, would not disclose the name of the other congressman, who wanted to know: “Have you come on over?”

Walberg gave the same answer he had already given twice that morning. “Still undecided,” he said uncomfortably. “But let’s do this at some other time.” (Washington Post)

Friday, July 29 8:30 AM/ET: Morning Constitutional:

Following last night's no vote in the House, there's more calls for President Obama to invoke the 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling. (USA Today)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Eggs and bacon
Andrew Unangst | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images
Eggs and bacon

But can he legally do it? Seems there's no clear cut answer. Technically, the part in the amendment that could be invoked reads: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

Obama and his aides say he lacks the constitutional power to raise the debt limit, but that hasn't stopped a rising number of Democratic lawmakers and legal analysts from pushing him to change his mind, says USA Today

FYI: Ratified in 1868, shortly after the Civil War, part of the 14th Amendment obligates Congress to fund the repayment of federal debts—a key issue after the Civil War. But the main part of the amendment was to grant African-Americans citizenship.

And it has the important Due Process Clause which prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness.

Friday, July 29 7:04 AM/ET: Good Morning DC! The Country Hates You ...

Rasmussen Poll: Record Low Approval for Congress ...6 out of 7 believe that most

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Altrendo Images | Altrendo | Getty Images

members of Congress are there to help themselves rather than the country and nearly half of Americans think most members of Congress are corrupt.

Additionally, most believe that the person they sent to Congress from their own district probably accepts bribes to sway votes.

And only 31 percent of voters think their own representative is the best person for the job. ( Read more )

Meanwhile, some morning headlineson where the debt saga stands ...

Republicans Race to Revive US Debt Plan (Reuters via CNBC.com)

America's 'Fiscal Swamp' Raising Global Risks: Citi (CNBC.com)

For Boehner, 'It's All on the Line' (Politico)

Thursday, July 28 11:24 PM/ET: Republicans Putting Us at Brink of Economic Chaos: Pelosi

Statement from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi after House Republicans made the decision to delay a vote on their debt bill:

“Hopefully, now the Republicans will come back to the table to negotiate a bipartisan, balanced agreement that is overwhelmingly supported by the American people.

Republicans have taken us to the brink of economic chaos. The delay must end now so we can focus on the American people’s top priority: creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Latest on the vote:U.S. House Republicans now will meet at 10 a.m. EST on Friday to assess their options, according to Representative Mike Pence.

Thursday, July 28 10:31 PM/ET: Voters Calling It Quits for the Night

After keeping global markets on edge, U.S. House of Representatives will not be voting on Boehner's debt plan on tonight afterall, says House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

We have no details yet on when the vote will happen.

The poor dollar gets another knock on the news, falling to a four-month low against the Japanese yen.

Thursday, July 28 9:58 PM/ET: No More Pizza, But The Party's Not Over Yet

From NBC News DC Producers:


"Thank you for your patience. We hope to reach a decision soon on the schedule for the rest of night.

Members are advised to stay nearby as we still expect to vote later tonight. Please stay tuned to future updates for more accurate timing. I will relay any new information I have as soon as possible.

Again - Thank you for your patience."

Thursday, July 28 9:29 PM/ET: To Quote Nancy Kerrigan,"Whyyyyyyy?"

Steve Ryan | Photodisc | Getty Images

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Glow Images | Getty Images

Boehner Strongarms GOP in Vote Delay (Politico.com)

House Republican leaders delayed a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s debt limit bill Thursday evening, sparking a series of emergency meetings and arm twisting as the fate of a trillion dollar deficit package hung in limbo.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office says the vote will still be held Thursday night, but the delay is an indication the votes aren’t totally locked down for passage.

For hours, Boehner has been engaged in intense one-on-one meetings with Republicans in an effort to win today’s fight. Still lacking the votes at 9 p.m., Republicans were considering sending their bill back to the Rules Committee for minor tweaks to win more votes.

Several sources say the South Carolina delegation — which includes five Republicans — could be key in getting the vote across the finish line. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) visited the leadership office suite in the Capitol Thursday evening.

Adding even more drama to an already chaotic evening in the Capitol, several members of the South Carolina delegation retreated to an ornate chapel to pray on the issue.

Asked whether divine inspiration might hit during prayer, Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a freshman from Charleston, replied: “Divine inspiration already happened. I was a lean no, and now I’m a no.”

...Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), a bulky former Notre Dame football player, gave a rousing football-themed speech and said he would vote for the bill. He told colleagues they needed to do three things: Put on your helmet, put in your mouthpiece and tighten your chin strap. He gave out signs with the Notre Dame football saying, “Play like a champion today.” “Let’s kick the s—- out of them,” Kelly said in the meeting, according to several sources .

Thursday, July 28 9:09 PM/ET: Treasury Gets Ready to Make a House Call

Treasury Calls Bankers to New York Meeting on Debt

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Gregory Costanzo | Photodisc | Getty Images


Executives from the largest U.S. banks will have an opportunity Friday to ask Treasury Department officials face to face about what will happen if Congress fails to raise its borrowing limit before next week's deadline.

The Treasury late Thursday invited 20 of the largest banks to a meeting to discuss an upcoming quarterly auction of government debt.

The discussions will take place at noon at the New York Federal Reserve.

Thursday, July 28 8:58 PM/ET: Order Up Another Case of Red Bull

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Barack Obama
Getty Images
Barack Obama

Obama Losing Sleep as Debt Deal Goes Down to Wire (Reuters via New York Times)

"He's getting absolutely no sleep. He's working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise," top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett told Reuters Insider.

White House officials have blanketed U.S. cable television in the last few days to get their message over that Republicans were harming the U.S. economy by refusing to compromise over measures to cut the deficit and lift the borrowing ceiling.

Thursday, July 28 8:24 PM/ET: "I'm smart! Not like everybody says... like dumb... I'm smart and I want respect!" - Fredo Corleone

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Vice President Joe Biden
Mandel Ngan | Getty Images
Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden Could Be Key to Debt Limit Compromise (CBS News)

Speaking of the debt limit fight Thursday evening, a White House official said, "this thing is a mess." Sources tell CBS News that the president is going to be relying on his vice president, Joe Biden, to leverage his longstanding Senate relationships to try and forge a compromise out of it.

I'm told the vice president - who has been involved in these negotiations for the past three months - is still very much engaged.

With the House GOP bill faltering, the key to any deal may be the Republican leader in the Senate: Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Sources say the vice president and Sen. McConnell have discussed multiple scenarios in the past about how to solve this deficit debacle. The two have a very good relationship.

Thursday, July 28 8:16 PM/ET: So, Who's Going To Blink First?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Mike Timo | Getty Images

Path to a Debt Deal Becoming Clearer, but Someone’s Got to Give (The Hill.com)

So, it all comes down to this: Who’s going to cave?

Both chambers were making a show Thursday of standing their ground in the debt ceiling debate, with House GOP leaders insisting on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) deficit-cutting plan attached to a $900 billion debt limit increase, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promising to kill it.

With just a few days before the Treasury Department says the U.S. needs a debt limit increase or risks default on its obligations, both sides were increasing the brinksmanship. But for all the partisan back-and-forth, the endgame comes down to whether Senate Democrats and the White House will swallow a short-term debt deal or whether House Republicans agree to a compromise that takes default off the table through 2012.

“The short-term is not a minor detail,” a senior Senate Democratic aide insisted. “It is the whole ballgame. We will never, ever pass it.”

Thursday, July 28 7:55 PM/ET: Momma Grizzly Has A Warning

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

sarah palin
Getty Images
sarah palin

Palin’s Well-Timed Reminder to Freshmen (The Caucus Blog, New York Times)

Sarah Palin has impeccable timing.

The former Republican vice presidential nominee took to her Facebook page Thursday afternoon to warn freshman Republicans in the House that they just might face primary opposition if they cave in to demands by their party to raise the debt ceiling.

“All my best to you, GOP Freshmen, from up here in the Last Frontier. Sincerely, Sarah Palin,” she wrote. “P.S. Everyone I talk to still believes in contested primaries.”

Thursday, July 28 7:47 PM/ET: I Better Get A Comp Day For This!

NBC Reports:

Sen. Harry Reid on the Floor:

"I don't expect or anticipate any action here before 9pm"

Thursday, July 28 7:44 PM/ET: Dialing for Dollars 2.0

Uncle Sam and money
Uncle Sam and money

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Barack Obama
Jewel Samad | AFP | Getty Images
Barack Obama

Obama Rates Higher Than Boehner, Reid on Debt Situation (Gallup.com)

Americans are more likely to approve of the way President Obama is handling the negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling than they are to approve of the handling of the situation by Speaker of the House John Boehner or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, although opinions about all three are more negative than positive.

Half of Republicans approve of Boehner's handling of the situation. You can read the full survey here.

Thursday, July 28 7:17 PM/ET: Update From Reid

From NBC News DC Producers:

Sen. Harry Reid came to the floor to say the Senate is waiting on the House- he says at 830pm/et they'll have a better idea of what's next.

Here's what he said:

"The reason we're extending morning business, the [house] having trouble passing the bill, I understand, and so we're waiting until action is taken.

They started at 4:30 and it's taking a lot longer than they anticipated. I understand they have another caucus that they're now engaged in.

It's 7:00.

that's why I thought at 8:30 we'd have a better idea if they're going to take action tonight. I would note the absence of a quorum."

Thursday, July 28 7:15 PM/ET: It's Getting Hot In Here...

From NBC News(Scene and Heard in DC)

"About 20 minutes ago there was a verbal altercation between members of the Capitol Hill Press Corps and Capitol Hill Police.

The police became concerned that the press were crowding around Boehner's office and not allowing for an exit. One officer tried to clear out the reporters at which point many reporters objected and reminded the officer of the 1st Amendment.

Back-up officers were called and order was restored. The press now has been put into what looks like a human tic-tac-toe board to allow traffic through.

Boehner's Office tells NBC News they had nothing to do with the action the police took and did not call for it."

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Thursday, July 28 7:00 PM/ET: And Now We Wait...And Wait...And Wait.

Dieter Spears | Vetta | Getty Images

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Shawn Gearheart | Vetta | Getty Images

Debt deal compromise suggested by Democrats (Politico.com)

Democrats are aiming for a debt-limit compromise similar to the House Republican plan, with at least one major difference: The second vote on raising the debt ceiling would not depend on Congress passing a broader deficit-reduction package.

Under the possible compromise, Congress could still get a second crack at voting on the debt limit within months. But rather than linking the vote to Congress approving the recommendations of a new 12-member committee — as it would be in Boehner’s bill — Democrats prefer McConnell’s proposal that allows President Barack Obama to lift the debt ceiling unless two-thirds of both chambers override his veto, the officials said.

Thursday, July 28 6:07 PM/ET: From Our Eyes and Ears on Capitol Hill

NBC News Producers Report:

"Louie Ghomert (R-TX), Joe Walsh(R-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) just walked out of Boehner's suite. Ghomert and Walsh said they are still nos. Flake and Franks would not say either way.

Joe Wilson (R-SC) is meeting with Cantor, says he's still a no."

Thursday, July 28 6:03 PM/ET: More On The Delay

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Visions Of Our Land | Getty Images

GOP Leadership Aide Confirms Debt Ceiling Bill Vote Delayed, Says Will Be Later Thursday (DJ Wires)

House Republicans said they have delayed a vote on legislation to increase the country's $14.29 trillion debt ceiling, in an indication they haven't yet been able to line up the 216 votes needed to approve the measure. A senior Republican leadership aide said the vote would still take place later Thursday evening.

It isn't clear how long the delay will be or how many votes Republicans need to pass the bill. At least 19 Republican lawmakers have publicly declared opposition to the measure.

GOP leaders can't have more than 24 members of their party vote against the bill, with Democrats possibly opposing it unanimously.

Leaders have been working for days to solidify the votes needed to approve the legislation to increase the debt ceiling by $900 billion and to cut federal spending by slightly more than that amount. But some Republicans have criticized the legislation for not cutting enough from the federal budget. The vote had originally been scheduled to take place around 6 p.m. EDT. House Democratic leaders, in a notice distributed on Capitol Hill, told the lawmakers Thursday afternoon that a vote on a GOP-backed plan to raise the debt ceiling has been "postponed."

Thursday, July 28 5:55 PM/ET: Tweet Wars!

Sen Harry Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson just tweeted :

"The Senate stands ready to defeat the Boehner plan whenever House Republicans can get their act together."

Thursday, July 28 5:53 PM/ET: Grab Your Popcorn Now

From NBC News:

The GOP just ended debate on the Boehner bill with 1 minute left for debate.

That 1 minute is presumably to allow Boehner to speak on the House floor IF they bring the bill back up for a vote.

The House is now naming Post Offices.

There are 40 minutes of debate for each of the 8 bills...a potential of 320 minutes of debate could occur before the Boehner Bill could be brought back up.

Thursday, July 28 5:50 PM/ET: Yo DC, They're Really, Really Concerned - Really!

French finance minister Christine Lagarde is seen as a front-runner to succeed Strauss-Kahn.
Yoshikazu Tsuno | AFP | Getty Images
French finance minister Christine Lagarde is seen as a front-runner to succeed Strauss-Kahn.

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Visions Of Our Land | Getty Images

GOP Leadership Aide Confirms Debt Ceiling Bill Vote Delayed, Says Will Be Later Thursday (DJ Wires)

House Republicans said they have delayed a vote on legislation to increase the country's $14.29 trillion debt ceiling, in an indication they haven't yet been able to line up the 216 votes needed to approve the measure. A senior Republican leadership aide said the vote would still take place later Thursday evening.

It isn't clear how long the delay will be or how many votes Republicans need to pass the bill. At least 19 Republican lawmakers have publicly declared opposition to the measure.

GOP leaders can't have more than 24 members of their party vote against the bill, with Democrats possibly opposing it unanimously.

Leaders have been working for days to solidify the votes needed to approve the legislation to increase the debt ceiling by $900 billion and to cut federal spending by slightly more than that amount. But some Republicans have criticized the legislation for not cutting enough from the federal budget. The vote had originally been scheduled to take place around 6 p.m. EDT. House Democratic leaders, in a notice distributed on Capitol Hill, told the lawmakers Thursday afternoon that a vote on a GOP-backed plan to raise the debt ceiling has been "postponed."

Thursday, July 28 5:55 PM/ET: Tweet Wars!

Sen Harry Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson just tweeted :

"The Senate stands ready to defeat the Boehner plan whenever House Republicans can get their act together."

Thursday, July 28 5:53 PM/ET: Grab Your Popcorn Now

From NBC News:

The GOP just ended debate on the Boehner bill with 1 minute left for debate.

That 1 minute is presumably to allow Boehner to speak on the House floor IF they bring the bill back up for a vote.

The House is now naming Post Offices.

There are 40 minutes of debate for each of the 8 bills...a potential of 320 minutes of debate could occur before the Boehner Bill could be brought back up.

Thursday, July 28 5:50 PM/ET: Yo DC, They're Really, Really Concerned - Really!


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Thursday, July 28 5:25 PM/ET: "Everyone Was Verklempt"

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Ryan McVay | Getty Images

Boehner’s Teary Moment (The Caucus Blog, New York Times)

By all accounts, House Speaker John A. Boehner has been a relentless, cold-eyed negotiator in the debt ceiling face-off with President Obama.

But sentimental stories tend to get Mr. Boehner misty-eyed. And we now have the first official indication of what is enough to make the speaker cry when it comes to the debt ceiling issue.

At a meeting of the House Republican freshmen and their leaders on Wednesday, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room — including the speaker’s .

Thursday, July 28 5:04 PM/ET: Well, At Least We Don't Have to Pay Them Overtime

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


The House Will Be In Session This Weekend - NBC News

From Rep. Eric Cantor:

"Members are advised that the House will now be in session on Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31. First votes on both days are not expected prior to 1:00 p.m. More information regarding the exact schedule will be released as soon as it is available.

In addition, Members are advised that the House will meet, as previously scheduled, at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, July 29. Since Friday will no longer be a last day in session this week, votes are now likely after 3:00 p.m.

Legislation this weekend is expected to include continued consideration of the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill while the House waits for the Senate to pass either the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act or the bipartisan negotiated Budget Control Act. No other legislative action on the debt limit-other than a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution-is expected in the House."


Thursday, July 28 4:55 PM/ET: Jeopardy!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

There's that word again.

A Democrat says we're in Jeopardy over this. Where's Alex Trebek when you need someone to step in and ask the right questions.

Oh boy ... double jeopardy now, someone says.

Final Jeopardy anyone?

They're still going on-

And you can catch it all on CNBC.

Thursday, July 28 4:45 PM/ET: Debate, Debate Debate ...?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Visions Of Our Land | Getty Images

Not sure you can call it a true debate. Both are talking past each other right now. One side gets a few minutes to speak and then the other side takes the floor.

Thursday, July 28 4:35 PM/ET: Obama

The word is that President Obama will speak after the House vote. Alert the media. Then again he may not. We'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, July 28 4:25 PM/ET: Your Evening Schedule

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Getty Images

Depending on where you live, here's the rundown for the House vote on the GOP debt ceiling bill:

The vote in the House is tentatively scheduled between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. EDT.

Can't pin it down more than that. Check your local listings—and catch it all on CNBC.

They're debating right now.

Thursday, July 28 4:15 PM/ET: New Segment—"I Predict!"

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Rep. Steny Hoyer
Getty Images
Rep. Steny Hoyer

Representative Steny Hoyer, the top Democratic vote counter in the U.S. House of Representatives, Thursday predicted that no Democrats would vote in favor of a Republican proposal for a short-term increase in the debt limit.

"I predict, there will be no Democrat for this bill," Hoyer said on the House floor a couple of hours before a scheduled vote on the deficit reduction bill presented by House Speaker John Boehner. (Reuters)

Meanwhile, the GOP says (sorry, predicts) their bill will pass—sort of.

Thursday, July 28 4:11 PM/ET: Should U.S. Borrow Money From Apple?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Apple's iAd Network
Source: advertising.apple.com
Apple's iAd Network

Seriously: with $81 billion cash on hand and falling, the U.S. government barely has more cash on hand than Apple does with $76 billion and rising—CNBC's Jonathan Fortt.

Thursday, July 28 4:05 PM/ET: He Said What?

House Speaker John Boehner leveled tough words at fellow Republicans Wednesday, telling conservatives who are unhappy his bill doesn't go far enough to "Get your ass in line ."(CNN)

He said that? He really did. We don't have an image for it. Not sure which behind he was referring to.

Thursday, July 28 4:00 PM/ET: Cracking the Whip ...

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Tom Schierlitz | Stone | Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner took time during the 1:30 pm votes to whip undecided members of the Republican caucus. The meetings in his ceremonial office just off the House floor were short, and broken up by members running in and out for votes. (Ouch!)

Boehner met one-on-one with Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), neither of which disclosed if the meeting had swayed them either way.

Thursday, July 28 3:49 PM/ET:In other news ...

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

There's that word again.

A Democrat says we're in Jeopardy over this. Where's Alex Trebek when you need someone to step in and ask the right questions.

Oh boy ... double jeopardy now, someone says.

Final Jeopardy anyone?

They're still going on-

And you can catch it all on CNBC.

Thursday, July 28 4:45 PM/ET: Debate, Debate Debate ...?

ColorBlind Images | Iconica | Getty Images

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Tea Party activists gather on Capitol Hill for a 'Hold the Line' rally on June 27, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images
Tea Party activists gather on Capitol Hill for a 'Hold the Line' rally on June 27, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Tea Party activists gathered on Capitol Hill for a "Hold the Line" rally Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

With the debt limit impasse reaching a critical juncture, activists from all sides of the debate are reaching out to members of the U.S. Congress.

Click here to see some of the photos from the Tea Party's "Hold the Line" Rally .

There are some real classic ones.

Thursday, July 28 3:11 PM/ET: Deal Schmeal

Dennis Gartman: With or Without Debt Deal, These 2 Trades Still Work

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


"We could get an agreement and it would send the Dow up 150 points, or we could see some further stalling and that would cause the Dow to drop 200 points,” said Dennis Gartman.

However, if you must put money to work, Gartman does see some opportunity in select areas – gold and the refiners.

Here are his trades.

Thursday, July 28 3:05 PM/ET: She said WHAT?????

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Source: DC Comics

Pelosi's Reactionary Liberalism (WeeklyStandard.com)

"What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today" said Nancy Pelosi on today's vote.


What's so great about life on this planet as we know it today? Let liberals defend the status quo. We conservatives seek to improve life on this planet. If I could paraphrase Bobby Kennedy: There are those, like Nancy Pelosi, who look at things the way they are, and ask why. We dream of things that never were—like reducing domestic discretionary spending, year over year—and ask why not!

Thursday, July 28 2:51 PM/ET: My Precious!

The $1 Trillion Coin Solution to the Debt Ceiling

Source: New Line Cinema

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Hill Street Studios | Blend Images | Getty Images


"I still believe in 11th-hour miracles. Congress will put something together that at least raises the debt ceiling so we do not get into any kind of selective defaults, Sam Stovall, S&P's chief market strategist said.

"But it might leave open the question of a potential downgrade if it's not meaningful enough to keep our debt-to-GDP ratio below 100 percent over the coming couple of years."

That hope for a decent deal to get made is what has some strategists still touting the benefits of gridlock.

Thursday, July 28 2:39 PM/ET: The Freshman Fights Back (MSNBC)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Mrs. Potts from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"
Source: Disney
Mrs. Potts from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"

In an interview on MSNBC, Freshman Republican - and Tea Party member Tim Huelscamp from Kansas said he will vote against the Boehner plan - despite the Speaker's appeal to the caucus yesterday to "get their ass in line."

Huelscamp said:

"I don't think it goes far enough. I don't think it solves our long-term problems. It's better than doing nothing but when you're looking at $10 trillion of debt, new debt in the next ten years, and we're only going to deal with maybe $1 trillion of that problem, we've got a long ways to go. Cut, cap and balance is the house position that's passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. I encourage the senate to actually take it up for actual debate and we might be surprised what happens."

When it was pointed out to him that Cut Cap and Balance was not going to pass - and that John McCain had said insistence on it by the freshmen was "foolish" "bizarro" - and deceiving the constituents - he said:

"Well, John McCain has been around a long time. I appreciate his service. But folks like myself who are newly elected, we heard from the American people. They want change in Washington. They don't want more of the same. What we have here going on, the blame game, not providing solutions, Americans don't want a deal. They want a solution."


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Sean Justice | Stone | Getty Images

A U.S. deficit reduction plan that promises $4 trillion in savings over time would be a "good down payment" on getting the country's strained public finances under control, ratings agency Standard & Poor's said Thursday. (Reuters)

That may be nice, but both GOP and Dem plans fall short of $4 trillion in savings over the next decade or so.

Want to try for $3 trillion S&P?

Thursday, July 28 2:18 PM/ET: In the name of Samuel L Jackson

Anchor Suggests Congress May Want to 'Go the F-- to Sleep'

Samuel L. Jackson
Jeff Pachoud | AFP | Getty Images
Samuel L. Jackson

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Source: Twitter

This is from NBC News. Jentelson is Harry Reid's spokesman. (Reid's image is below if you need a look. He's Senate Majority leader.)

Thursday, July 28 2:05 PM/ET:They Know Something We Don't?

Differences appear to have narrowed between the GOP and Democratic plans, raising hope a compromise on the debt ceiling can be reached by next Tuesday's deadline. (AP)

Thursday, July 28 1:53 PM/ET: Tougher tough talk?

Cantor just challenged the Democratic-led Senate to accept a House-passed bill raising the debt limit or suffer the consequences of default. (Reuters). (We'll get an image of him in as soon as we have more room.)

This may fall on deaf ears. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Senate Democrats would reject the revised plan crafted by Boehner. This just keeps, going and going and going ....

Thursday, July 28 1:40 PM/ET: GOP Talking

Republicans are talking to the press right now. House Speaker John Boehner said:

John Boehner (R)
Getty Images
John Boehner (R)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Alan Powdrill | Getty Images

US Is 'Not a Triple-A Credit': David Stockman (CNBC.com)

"The system is totally broken. There is a complete stalemate," David Stockman, former federal budget director under President Reagan, told CNBC Thursday.

"They [credit agencies] aught to get it over with, cut the rating and begin to create some reality both in terms of the financial markets and the American public," he added.

"We are going to be facing a day of reckoning here, and I don't know whether it's six months from now or a year from now," Stockman concluded .

Thursday, July 28 1:15 PM/ET: Pelosi and the "Force Within" (NBCNews)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Source: DC Comics

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had some harsh words for the Boehner bill at a press conference today, saying his bill, "in one fell swoop, just pulls the plug on progress for America's families."

Pelosi explained that she is "proud" of the Democratic caucus' enthusiasm for something other than the Boehner Bill, adding that "the Boehner bill will not pass because it has democratic votes." This may not be true though, as 5 democrats voted for the Cut, Cap and Balance Act earlier this month.

But even though Pelosi does not support the bill, she gives Speaker Boehner the benefit of the doubt, citing factions in the Republican Party as the catalyst for his plan. "If he could do the right thing he would," she said, "but there are forces within this caucus that are not enabling him to do that."

Either way the bill will be on the floor this afternoon, and Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer are still actively whipping against this bill. "All I know, is whatever way it gets to the floor is a grave disservice to the American people, the middle class and America's future," she said.

Thursday, July 28 1:08 PM/ET:Remember "W" and stay the course

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

10 Reasons Not to Move Your Money Now (Reuters)

With the markets getting more and more nervous as the days tick by to August 2 without a debt deal, one thing that might be keeping the bottom from falling out is the calm of financial advisers.

To borrow from former President George W. Bush, they are urging clients to “stay the course.” And behold, they cite many sensible reasons for doing so.

Reuters Money reached out to members of the financial community to see how they’re calming the folks they advise. An overwhelming majority expressed faith that lawmakers would broker a deal by the deadline, and markets would adjust regardless .

Thursday, July 28 12:56 PM/ET:Reid's calling for the vote - tonight!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

US Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid
Getty Images
US Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid

Senator Reid just announced that the Senate will be voting down Speaker Boehner's bill tonight.

Here is his statement. (NBC News)

"Today the House of Representatives will vote on Speaker Boehner's short-term plan to raise the debt ceiling. As soon as the House completes its vote tonight, the Senate will move to take up that bill. It will be defeated. No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now.

"Economists have said a short-term deal holds many of the same risks as a technical default. Democrats are not willing to put our economy on the line like that. Our economy and the financial markets desperately need stability. Speaker Boehner's bill does not provide it. It is time for Tea Party Republicans to stop resisting compromise. They must join Democrats in putting the good of our economy ahead of politics."

Thursday, July 28 12:50 PM/ET:Alert:Majority To Pass Boehner's Debt Plan Drops To 216 Due To Lawmaker Absence (DJ Wires)

Thursday, July 28 12:48 PM/ET:Alert:US Senate to Vote on Thursday on House Republican Plan, Will Defeat It - Senate Democratic Leader Reid (Reuters)

Thursday, July 28 12:43 PM/ET:Argh, Where are you Captain Fed-Eye?

Fed Under Fire Over Default Talks

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


Wall Street bankers, from senior executives to traders, are complaining that the Federal Reserve is refusing to engage in scenario planning for a U.S. downgrade or default.

“The responsible government people aren’t engaging, and I bet a piece of it is they are really not sure what to do,” said one person on the industry side.

Another said: “We don’t have any information from them. For the government shutdown [when budget disagreements nearly closed down the federal government] at least we had a road map.”

Thursday, July 28 12:26 PM/ET:The way they see it from across the pond.

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Happy Hour 11-5pm
Happy Hour 11-5pm

GOP Bad Faith On the Debt Ceiling: (The Guardian/UK.Com)

Let's get one thing straight: the Republicans created this deficit. Now they're holding a gun to our heads to pay it down?

President Obama has the economic and moral high ground on the debt ceiling debate – but won't take it. With an eye next year's elections, the Republicans are putting Obama on the defensive by using the debate to paint Obama as a big spending Democrat.

Let's get the facts straight on a few things: the Republicans are largely responsible for the debt problem because they spent too much and taxed too little during the Bush years; and austerity economics doesn't bring economic growth.

Why don't we hear that from the White House?

Thursday, July 28 12:12 PM/ET:I knew it! All the real superheros wear black turtlenecks.

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Steve Jobs
Getty Images
Steve Jobs

IPhone could solve debt ceiling stalemate (CNN.com)

Little did Steve Jobs know in January 2007 that he was about to unveil a device that, four and a half years later, could help end a vicious debate about raising America's debt ceiling.

Well, sort of.

But tucked inside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill to raise the debt ceiling is a proposal to make money by auctioning government-owned wireless spectrum to cell phone companies.

Reid's plan, by selling spectrum, would reduce the deficit by a net $13.1 billion over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. It's a drop in the bucket when Reid needs $2.7 trillion in spending cuts to raise the debt ceiling by the same amount, but every bit counts.

Thursday, July 28 12:07 PM/ET: Alert:White House Says Boehner Bill Doesn't Represent Compromise (DJ Wires)

Thursday, July 28 12:06 PM/ET:Alert:White House Says Boehner Bill Won't Pass Senate (DJ Wires)

Thursday, July 28 12:05 PM/ET:Alert:White House: Boehner Bill Would Force 'Draconian' Cuts (DJ Wires)


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Thursday, July 28 11:58 AM/ET:"For the life of me I cannot remember What made us think that we were wise and We'd never compromise For the life of me I cannot believe We'd ever die for these sinsWe were merely freshmen ..."

Freshman Republicans Face Defining Debt Vote (The Caucus Blog, New York Times)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Joos Mind | Getty Images

As a group, they are often broadly referred to as the Tea Party freshmen, swept into office on a wave of voter anger and small-government philosophy that gave Republicans the majority in the chamber again.

But now, many of them are poised to cast a vote that may not sit well at home and could invite the same kind of voter anger in 2012 — this time directed at them. With several freshmen already bracing for primaries back home, the vote could even prompt a new wave of sweep-them-out sentiment.

Thursday, July 28 11:50 AM/ET:Smackdown!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

David McNew | Getty Images

How Low Democrats Can Go: Democrats Throw “Civility” to the Wind in a Rhetorical Race to the Bottom (NRCC.org/blog)

"Gaffe-prone Democrat attack dog Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Jim Clyburn ironically held a press conference Wednesday accusing House Republicans of not being “civil” in the ongoing debt debate, perhaps following-up on a short-lived earlier call from President Obama to restore a “civil and honest” public discourse.

  • That same day Wasserman Schultz and her fellow Democrats ignored their own call for civility and took a decidedly uncivil tone in a series of rants that conjured up violent imagery.
  • Wasserman Schultz’ uncivil hypocrisy is not new. Many of her and her fellow Democrats’ statements belong in the rhetorical Hall of Shame."
  • Wasserman Schultz must have forgotten her call for "civility" mere hours later when she accused Republicans of wanting to impose a "dictatorship."

You can read it all here in the NRCC blog.

Thursday, July 28 11:46 AM/ET: Alert:White House Says There Are A Lot Of Ways To Compromise And Get To Debt And Deficits Accord. (Reuters)

Thursday, July 28 11:43 AM/ET:Alert:White House Says "Chance Aren't Great" to Achieve Sweeping Grand Compromise on Deficits and debt by Aug 2 But Remains Available As Option. (Reuters)

REUTERSThursday, July 28 11:41 AM/ET:Alert: White House Says Obama-Boehner "Grand Bargain" on Deficits and Debt has Never Been Off the Table. (Reuters)

Thursday, July 28 11:38 AM/ET:Alert:CNBC's John Harwood reporting, "Stopgap Bill Being Discussed"


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The Grinch
Source: Dreamworks, LLC
The Grinch

Thursday, July 28 11:34 AM/ET: Boehner is out to spoil Christmas?

GOP Aims to Gut Christmas, White House Alleges (TheDailyCaller.com)

House Speaker and national grinch John Boehner is planing to spoil Christmas, White House officials are claiming, as they try to head off passage of Boehner’s two-stage debt ceiling bill.

“Happy Holidays America: Boehner plan would have the debt ceiling all over again during the holiday season, which is critical for the economy,” White House deputy spokesman Dan Pfeiffer declared today.

Thursday, July 28 11:24 AM/ET:DJ White House 'Optimistic' Congress Will Reach Debt Compromise (Wires)

Thursday, July 28 11:21 AM/ET:So much for "shock and awe."

Eightfish | Getty Images

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Thursday, July 28 10:55 AM/ET:Now you too can enjoy the show.

Live Streaming - GOP Freshmen on Debt Ceiling Debate (CNBC.com)


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Thursday, July 28 10:53 AM/ET:Where did our love go?

Lost Amid Debt Talks: How 'Grand Bargain' Fell Apart

Noel Hendrickson | Getty Images

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Ojo Images | Getty Images

Boehner Orders GOP to Fall in Line on Debt (Washington Post.com)

House GOP leaders mounted a furious bid Wednesday to win support for legislation designed to ease the nation’s debt crisis, delivering a tongue-lashing to their most conservative lawmakers and casting Thursday’s roll call as nothing less than a vote of confidence in their stewardship of the chamber.

Republicans claimed that momentum was on their side as Boehner spent Wednesday afternoon huddling with members of the 87-strong class of freshmen that delivered him the gavel after the 2010 midterm elections. But aides and lawmakers suggested the decisive votes could belong to about two dozen veterans with no strong allegiance to their leadership. Some estimates showed nearly 20 Republicans declaring their intent to oppose the bill.

Thursday, July 28 10:39 AM/ET:Cause you know, it's all about me, me, me

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


The Debt Standoff And Your 401(k) (NPR.org)

Most analysts still predict that a compromise will be reached before the government defaults on its debts. But many Americans saw what happened to their retirement savings and stock portfolios in the financial crisis just three years ago. And some are getting nervous about their 401(k)s.

Liz Anne Sonders, chief investment strategist for the brokerage firm Charles Schwab, says "nerves are rattled." But she adds, "our advice no matter what the crisis is not to panic."

David Glockeis a top portfolio manager at Vanguard, and oversees the firm's Prime Money Market Fund, which means he's managing more than $100 billion. He says his funds don't have any mandates that would force him to sell Treasuries in the event of a downgrade, and even in the market overall, he says "it's hard to imagine there would be any forced selling."

Glocke says he's been doing some re-juggling of which Treasuries he's holding in his portfolio.

Click here to read/hear the NPR interviews.

Thursday, July 28 10:30 AM/ET:This just in...

Hoyer: House Dems Almost Unanimously Oppose Boehner Plan (CNBC Alert)

Thursday, July 28 10:30 AM/ET:They walk alike, they talk alike, at times, they even sound alike.

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Tim Graham | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Republicans And Democrats Decry Each Other’s Nearly Identical Debt Limit Plans (TalkingPointsMemo.com)

The irony in all this is that while both complaints are pretty fair, the plans themselves are so similar that under normal circumstances merging them into one bill would be easy.

And yet, with the country's borrowing authority set to expire in less than a week, that isn't happening — at least not until House Republicans choreograph one more symbolic vote, and heighten the Congress', the market's, and the country's growing sense of urgency.

Thursday, July 28 10:14 AM/ET:Mark your calendars...there could be a "VOTE"

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The U.S. House of Representatives is tentatively scheduled to vote between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m EDT/Thursdayon a proposal to cut the deficit and raise the debt limit by $900 billion, a congressional aide said.

The proposal by House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, is seen facing a close vote and its chances appear too close to call despite his fierce lobbying efforts over the past few days. Aides said the scheduled vote time was subject to change.

Thursday, July 28 10:05 AM/ET:Send in the clowns - oh wait, they're already here.

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Renee Keith | Vetta | Getty Images

Obama-GOP standoff in debt ceiling talks triggers public disgust (LA Times)

"Lunacy … embarrassment … clowns."

Those were the reviews of Washington's performance from beltway-adjacent Americans interviewed this week as the country barreled toward the financial cliff. Few thought it would ever get this far — just days to go before the government defaults on its debt. Everyone, regardless of party or persuasion, agreed the my-way-or-the-highway tactics intolerable on a playground were beneath a nation desperately seeking statesmanship.

Thursday, July 28 9:59 AM/ET:The risk of becoming the "Spectator in Chief?"

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

US President Barack Obama speaks in a rare prime-time address to the nation on July 25, 2011 from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, as polarized lawmakers failed to rally behind a plan to avert a disastrous debt default perhaps just one week away.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
US President Barack Obama speaks in a rare prime-time address to the nation on July 25, 2011 from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, as polarized lawmakers failed to rally behind a plan to avert a disastrous debt default perhaps just one week away.

President on Sidelines in Critical Battle Over Debt Ceiling (White House Memo Blog, New York Times)

Having already deployed the heavy weapons from the presidential arsenal, including a national address on Monday night and a veto threat, Mr. Obama is in danger of seeming a spectator at one of the most critical moments of his presidency. Having been unable to get the grand bargain he wanted — a debt limit increase and up to $4 trillion in debt-reduction through spending cuts and taxes — Mr. Obama’s challenge now is to reassert himself in a way that produces the next-best outcome, or at least one that does no harm to his re-election hopes.


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Thursday, July 28 9:52 AM/ET:Them there is fightin' words!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Ken Langone
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Ken Langone

Obama 'Unpresidential,' 'Petulant' 'Dividing Us': Langone (CNBC.com)

President Barack Obama's conduct during the debate over the debt ceiling has divided the country and will inflict damage that will last well after the battle is over, former New York Stock Exchange director and Wall Street stalwart Ken Langone said.

"He is dividing us as a nation," Langone said. "He's not bringing us together. He's willfully dividing us. He's petulant."

And.... Langone also said, "People like me have to understand that it isn't business as usual," he said. "I think it's a travesty for a man of my success and my means to get anything from the federal government. I think I should pay more taxes."

You can watch the interview here.

Thursday, July 28 9:48 AM/ET:Remember what happens when you "assume!"

US Downgrade Good for Dollar? Don't Rule It Out

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....


Chief executives from the nation's largest financial firms Thursday pressured the White House and Congress to reach a deal on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, saying the consequences of inaction "would be very grave."

JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon , Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and Bank of America's Brian Moynihan , among others, said in a letter that an agreement needs to be reached this week.

"A default on our nation's obligations, or a downgrade of America's credit rating, would be a tremendous blow to business and investor confidence — raising interest rates for everyone who borrows, undermining the value of the dollar, and roiling stock and bond markets — and, therefore, dramatically worsening our nation's already difficult economic circumstances," the letter said.

You can read the full letter here

Thursday, July 28 9:27 AM/ET:Fasten your seatbelts boys, it's going to be a bumpy day!

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The U.S. House of Representatives is tentatively scheduled to vote between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m EDT/Thursdayon a proposal to cut the deficit and raise the debt limit by $900 billion, a congressional aide said.

The proposal by House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, is seen facing a close vote and its chances appear too close to call despite his fierce lobbying efforts over the past few days. Aides said the scheduled vote time was subject to change.

Thursday, July 28 10:05 AM/ET:Send in the clowns - oh wait, they're already here.


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Wednesday July 27 9:21 PM/ET:Cause you know, nice guys finish last.

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

U.S. Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner
Getty Images
U.S. Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner

With G.O.P. Unity at Risk, Boehner Tries Tougher Style - (New York Times)

Speaker John A. Boehner is a laid-back leader who likes to say that his role is to let the House work its will. But with the nation’s economic standing and his own political future at risk, Mr. Boehner jettisoned his usual laissez-faire approach on Wednesday.

“I didn’t put my neck on the line and go toe to toe with Obama to not have an army behind me,” Mr. Boehner declared at a private party meeting, according to some House members. He demanded the fealty of conservatives who were threatening to sink his budget proposal and deny him the chance to confront the Senate with a take-it-or-leave offer on a debt ceiling increase.

Wednesday, July 27, 7:08 PM ET:Did someone just blink?

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

US Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid
Getty Images
US Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid

Reid's Strategy: Wait for Boehner Plan to Fail(CNBC.com)

Six days before the U.S. government has to start ducking phone calls from debt collectors, congressional leaders are mapping out an endgame for avoiding a default that could shake the world economy.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner unveiled his revised plan to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, which includes an additional $65 billion in cuts over a 10-year period.

The top Democrat in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has sensed the vulnerability of Boehner amid a rebellion among Republican ranks.

Reid is maneuvering to make his own budget proposal the equivalent of the last man standing among the competing bills in Congress, according to congressional aides.

Wednesday, July 27 7:08 PM/ET:The separation of Stocks and State

Sen. Conrad: Congress Won't Let US Default (Mad Money with Jim Cramer, CNBC.com)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

"Leadership on both sides understand it would be catastrophic to default, so I think we will avoid that," Conrad told Cramer, adding that debt reduction should be the government's main priority. "We've got to get our debt under control. Just extending the debt limit is important, but at the end of the day it's not sufficient."

Conrad said lawmakers should make changes to the government's spending habits and revenue streams, but didn't elaborate. To get anything done, Conrad said Congress will need to overcome "very deep" and "very serious" partisanship. He said much of Washington is involved in political theater, including some who can't "differentiate theater from reality."

Wednesday, July 27, 6:38 PM/ET: Wait, What? He found more money?

John Boehner (R)
Getty Images
John Boehner (R)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Standard & Poor’s government-credit-ratings guru David Beers played his cards close to the vest on the topic of a U.S. downgrade in our CNBC interview this week . However, this head of S&P’s global sovereign-ratings business — with a staff of 80 covering 126 countries — issued three strong warnings to the debt-ceiling negotiators in Washington .... Mr. Beers is looking carefully at all the debt plans on the table, and he wants to know three things: Are they actionable? Can they be implemented? And are they credible?

In particular, he’s looking for “some buy-in across the political divide, across both parties, because politics can and will change . . . And if there’s ownership by both sides of the program, then that would give us more confidence.” In other words, bipartisanship compromise.

Wednesday, July 27 6:12 PM/ET: This email just in from the CBO

"Just a heads up that we have posted a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, estimating the impact on the deficit of the Budget Control Act of 2011, with a further amendment that was proposed today."

Letter's summary:

"The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the impact on the deficit of the Budget Control Act of 2011, as posted on the Web site of the Committee on Rules on July 25, 2011, with a further amendment proposed on July 27, 2011. The legislation would:

  • Establish caps on discretionary spending through 2021,
  • Allow for certain amounts of additional spending for "program integrity" initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of improper benefit payments,
  • Make changes to the Pell Grant and student loan programs,
  • Establish procedures for Congressional consideration of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution,
  • Establish procedures to increase the debt limit by up to $2.5 trillion,
  • Reinstate and modify certain budget process rules, and
  • Create a joint Congressional committee to propose further deficit reduction."

You can read the full letter here.

Wednesday, July 27, 5:30 PM/ET:This email just in from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa:

“Under Speaker John Boehner’s leadership, the House of Representatives has advanced the most serious spending reforms considered during my tenure in Congress. From the House Republican Budget to the Cut, Cap and Balance plan passed last week, our proposals to rein in government spending have been serious, substantive and responsible.

The same cannot be said about the Democrats that control Washington. Neither Senator Harry Reid nor President Barack Obama have taken seriously the mandate from the American people to rein in out-of-control government spending, and in the case of Senator Reid, he has abdicated his responsibilities– offering no legislative alternative to the spending proposals that have passed the House.

In discussions with the White House and Senate over spending and the debt limit, Speaker Boehner has been the adult in the room, with a serious and substantive plan. He rightly left the negotiations when the President, by his own admission, moved the goal posts and demanded dramatically higher tax increases.

Some outside groups are comparing the upcoming vote on raising the debt limit to the vote on TARP. They are quite simply wrong. I was a leading opponent of TARP because it created a massive slush fund that invited abuse. It eroded moral hazard in the marketplace and placed the taxpayers on the hook to pay for the folly of Wall Street investment banks – it took the country in the wrong direction.

The debate today is over how much spending will be cut in exchange for an increase in the debt limit. That is movement in the right direction. Many of us, myself included, would like to go further and are disappointed by the bad faith that has become a hallmark of the White House and our Senate counterparts, and in fact we have voted for more substantive reforms.

Speaker Boehner has empowered members of our conference to be leaders and the results are reflected in the passage the Ryan Budget and Cut, Cap and Balance and he continues to ably represent us in negotiations over the debt limit. The result of those discussions, limited as they may be, will be a significant step in the right direction – toward fiscal responsibility and a government that lives within its means. The Speaker has my full support and the support of our conference as he negotiates on behalf of the House of Representatives and the American people.”

Wednesday, July 27, 4:51PM/ET:If a picture is worth a thousand words

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

What Happens If the US Is Downgraded? A very special slideshow.(NetNet/CNBC.com)

If the U.S. debt ceiling is raised, a short-term deal that does little to raise revenue or cut spending might result in a downgrade of the country's long-term debt. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s might decide that the failure to produce a longer-term solution to the U.S. debt burden indicates that the country's debt is riskier and its credit rating must be downgraded.

So what happens next? Do global markets sell Treasurys? Do mutual funds, insurance companies, pension funds, individual holders, and central banks have to sell? Does the Federal Reserve ride to the rescue?

Forget about what you've read - we've got it all in pictures .

Wednesday, July 27 4:13 PM/ET:The Dollar Drama

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

What a Downgrade Would Mean for the Dollar (Money in Motion blog, CNBC.com)

United States debt has been AAA-grade stuff ever since credit ratings were invented, for Pete's sake. So it's jarring to realize that a downgrade is a real, and growing, possibility. But that's the reality we're living - and trading - in. So what would a rating cut mean for the dollar ?

The short version: nothing good. But then the experts differ.

Wednesday, July 27 4:08 PM/ET:YIKES! It's getting hot in here.

Sen. John McCain (R)
Getty Images
Sen. John McCain (R)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Image Source | Getty Images

Debt-Limit Talks Become More Divided Than Ever. (CNBC.com)

One week before a deadline to act, the two sides pursued competing plans to raise the debt ceiling that appeared to have little chance of winning broad congressional approval.

Wall Street banks are preparing for the real possibility that the United States will lose its top credit rating, which they say will cost the country $100 billion in additional interest payments and hurt both consumers and the economy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM/ET:Maybe what's needed is some divine inspiration?

Jan Stromme | Riser | Getty Images

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Dave Bradley Photography | Getty Images

Emergency Team Of 8th-Grade Civics Teachers Dispatched To Washington (TheOnion.com)

With lawmakers still at an impasse over increasing the debt ceiling, a special team of 40 eighth-grade civics teachers was air-dropped into Washington earlier today in a last-ditch effort to teach congressional leaders how the government’s legislative process works. “We started them off with the basics, like the difference between a senator and a representative, and then moved on to more complex concepts, like what a resolution is,” Bozeman, MT social studies teacher Heidi Rossmiller told reporters as all 535 members of Congress copied down the definition of “checks and balances” from a whiteboard in the House chamber.


rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

Tuesday, July 26 5:08 PM/ET:OMG it's "Debtmageddon" - How a California girl sees it.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Source: Allied Artists Pictures
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The Debt Crisis and Mortgage Rates (Realty Check Blog, CNBC.com)

As we edge ever closer to D-Day (default day, debt ceiling day, however you choose to see next Tuesday, August 2nd), those of us who live and breathe the housing market are trying to figure out what this will mean to mortgage interest rates.

They are currently bouncing around historic lows and have been for some time. Refinances are surging, as the seven people left who haven't yet refied are scrambling to do so.

But are we all worried over nothing?

"The debt crisis is probably the biggest factor hanging over mortgage rates at the moment," says Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance. "Once investors feel there is any uncertainty about the U.S. government’s ability to guaranty its debt, Treasury rates and mortgage rates will start to rise – probably by at least 25-50 basis points."

Tuesday, July 26 2:53 PM/ET:Forget about the Gang of Six, we've got the Fab Four

rong>Saturday, July 30 8:20 AM/ET: In Sports ....

The Beatles
John Pratt | Keystone | Getty Images
The Beatles

If There's a Debt Deal, These Four Will Make It Happen (CNBC.com)

It's this quartet — Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the House; Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the Senate — who will have to draw on their experience, skill and charm to find the deal and the votes to pass it for averting an unprecedented government default next week.

It also has to be a deal that can get President Barack Obama's signature.

Deadline pressure is testing those abilities, and their tempers.

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