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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Friday, April 29, 2011

America may finally be getting serious about the deficit: More Democrats threaten to vote against raising borrowing limit

From The Washington Post:

A growing number of Democrats are threatening to defy the White House over the national debt, joining Republican calls for deficit cuts as a requirement for consenting to lift the country’s borrowing limit.

The tension is the latest illustration of how the tea-party-infused GOP is driving the debate in Washington over federal spending. And it shows how the debt issue is testing the Obama administration’s clout as Democrats, particularly those from politically competitive states, resist White House arguments against setting conditions on legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

Months ago it seemed unthinkable that Congress might refuse to raise the borrowing limit. Leaders in both parties agreed that failing to do so would risk a default by the U.S. government, which could send interest rates soaring and cut off Social Security checks, as well as salaries for combat troops.

“As catastrophic as it would be to fail to raise our debt ceiling, it’s even more irresponsible to not take this opportunity to own up to our unsustainable spending path,” Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.), another Democrat challenging the White House, said in a statement his office released this week. “If we don’t take action to reduce our deficit spending, Congress will be facing this same debt ceiling vote in the near term – still with no end to our deficits in sight.”

The government is expected to reach its $14.3 trillion debt cap in mid-May. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has said he can maneuver to avoid a default until early July.

The White House has condemned efforts to attach additional measures to the debt-ceiling issue.

Polls show why the debt vote is so difficult for Democrats, who next year are expected to face an uphill battle to retain their narrow Senate majority in an election likely to focus heavily on spending issues.

Just 16 percent of Americans favor lifting the debt ceiling, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC survey published this month. Nearly six in 10 independents opposed it. Democrats were divided, with nearly half saying they did not know enough to have an opinion.

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