Debt ceiling rises on Capitol Hill

By Eric Brown |Managing Editor|

After arduous debate in both houses of Congress, the Senate gave final approval to legislation to raise the nation’s debt by $2.4 trillion in conjunction with cutting federal deficits.

Having already passed Monday through the House, President Barack Obama is likely to sign the bill into law wiftly after months of debate have stalemated many efforts in Washington to move further in economic recover.

As the trenches of partisan gridlock were dug, Obama and House Speaker John Boehner both proved unlikely allies in a hotly debated topic. While GOP and Tea Party hardliners apposed any raise in the debt-ceiling, Democrats and progress oriented Republicans recognized the need to move forward with such an increase, albeit with provisions (courtesy of still conservative Republicans).

Midday passage in the Democratic Senate came after a morning of measured speeches with little hint of the tumultuous months of debate over the size and scope of the federal  government. Congress faced a midnight deadline to pay the nation’s bills or risk an unprecedented federal default. The bill easily passed 74-26.

The compromises is expected to cover debt payments through 2012, whilst allowing for an equal $2.4 trillion to be cut from federal spending over the next decade.

San Bernardino as well as the rest of California are no strangers to cuts, as the state itself has a debt problem and much has already been cut from state programs in similar efforts. Only time will tell how much these federal cuts will trickle down to the Inland Empire.

Despite regional implications, the bill will come in two phases with the first part being an equal authorization of $900 billion and equal cuts to come between 2012-2013, with a second wave of debt inflation and federal cutbacks to follow pending Congress approval.

The major topic now, is what is to be cut from federal spending. Tea Party and staunch GOP members contest that at the price tag of $2.7 trillion, more than just going green and cutting budgets will need to be addressed. Whole programs are likely to be cut from the federal budget, as well as everything from federal financial aid for college students to national defense spending.

The agreement is a shook down package that achieves Obama’s goal of extending borrowing through the next year, avoiding a repeat during a presidential campaign season as the GOP had wanted. At the same time, Boehner’s goal of at least a dollar-per-dollar exchange of spending cuts to new debt was met.


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