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
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