Congress reaches a deal to raise the debt limit, but will it pass a vote?
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08/01/11 Joshua Lee Holton
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Sen. Bill Nelson supports the deal on raising the debt by cutting spending.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF (May 2010)

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from both major parties have come to an agreement on a proposed budget deal that would cut trillions of federal dollars from the national budget over the next decade. The deal will increase the borrowing limit, preventing the government from defaulting on it’s debt for the first time in history. The measure would extend the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by up to $2.4 trillion and pare federal spending by more than $2 trillion.

Discretionary spending, which excludes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would be cut by $7 billion in 2012 and $3 billion in 2013, according a summary by Senate Democrats. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the debt ceiling will be raised at least through 2012.

After that, the first phase of cuts would reduce spending by $900 billion dollars over 10 years, and won’t take effect until 2014. A bicameral and bipartisan congressional committee would decide of a second phase of cuts totaling $1.5 trillion. Carney said everything will be on the table for cuts in that committee.

If the committee fails to reach an agreement at that point, there will be automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion. Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps would be exempt from the automatic cuts. Democratic Member of Congress Peter DeFazio agreed to the deal, but criticized his fellow Democrats for caving too much to Republican demands.

Florida’s Democratic Senator Bill Nelson says he’s voting for the debt deal.

But Florida’s freshman Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he won’t vote for the deal. Last night the Florida Consumer Action Network and 35 protesters held a candlelight vigil outside his Tampa office. Timothy Heberlin helped organize the event.

Like both Democrats and Republicans, he said there were both gains and losses in the debt deal.

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