American Morning

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August 1st, 2011
10:32 AM ET

Sen. Durbin: Democrats gave in to 'political extortion,' but default would have been totally irresponsible

Washington (CNN) - Congress is expected to vote Monday on a last-minute agreement to raise the federal government's debt ceiling while imposing sweeping spending cuts, a bipartisan deal that promises to narrowly avert an unprecedented national default with catastrophic economic consequences.

The deal calls for $2.4 trillion in cutsover the next decade, raises the debt ceiling through the end of 2012, and establishes a special congressional commission to recommend long-term fiscal reforms.

The measure needs to reach President Barack Obama's desk by Tuesday night. If the current $14.3 trillion debt limit is not increased by that point, Americans could face rapidly rising interest rates, a falling dollar, and shakier financial markets, among other problems.

But with no tax increases in the deal, can Democrats get on board?

This morning on American Morning, Carol Costello talks with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin about whether Democrats will be able to agree to the plan.

At one point, Costello asks Durbin if he felt Democrats were giving in to extortion by agreeing to a plan that they are not satisfied with if Tea Party members were willing to let the country default.

"Of course, it is," Durbin says. "It's political extortion and if you say that you're prepared to call somebody's bluff using other people's chips, that's what we're down to. A lot of innocent people would have suffered if we would, in fact, have gone into this default. We avoided that and that was something we had to do."

See the entire interview above.

Filed under: Budget • Debt • Debt ceiling • Deficit
August 1st, 2011
10:06 AM ET

What exactly is in the debt-ceiling deal? Jay Powell explains

President Obama and Congressional leaders struck a deal on a legislative package yesterday that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps.

The proposed deal includes $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years while authorizing an increase in the federal debt ceiling by a slightly smaller amount to allow the government to pay its debts through 2012, according to information from the White House and a presentation for his Republican colleagues by House Speaker John Boehner.

Jay Powell, Treasury Under Secretary under President George H.W. Bush, talks with Christine Romans on American Morning today about the details of the deal and the possibility of a U.S. credit downgrade.

Filed under: Budget • Debt • Debt ceiling • Deficit
August 1st, 2011
10:03 AM ET

Gene Sperling: 'There's more shared sacrifice in how we're cutting spending'

The White House reached a deal with Congressional leaders yesterday to avert a debt default, but not all members of President Obama's party are happy about the prospect of enacting spending cuts without raising revenue.

The deal is being heavily criticized in numerous editorials this morning, with many Democrats saying that the President capitulated on shared sacrifice.

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council in the White House, joins Carol Costello on American Morning today to respond to these negative reactions and to discuss what Democrats got out of the deal.

Filed under: Budget • Debt • Debt ceiling • Deficit • Economy
August 1st, 2011
05:36 AM ET

Question of the Day: Who won last night in the debt deal? Wall street, Main street, or someone else?

The Senate and House are expected to vote today on a legislative package to extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps as part of an agreement reached Sunday between President Obama and congressional leaders.

If members of Congress vote to approve the agreement before Tuesday, lawmakers will have avoided an unprecedented default on the nation's debt.

Nonetheless, the plan faces heavy criticism in the editorials this morning, with The New York Times, The Washington Post and numerous liberal groups saying that the White House capitulated on shared sacrifice, revenues, and promises that Medicare would not be affected.

American Morning wants to know: Who won last night in the debt deal? Wall street, Main street, or someone else?

Post your response here. Your answer could be included in this morning's broadcast.

Filed under: AM Asks
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