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article imageU.S. debt ceiling talks appear to be falling apart

By Michael Krebs     Jul 12, 2011 in Politics
As the August 2 deadline gets closer, it now appears that the partisan divide over the national debt ceiling between President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress and Republican lawmakers is widening.
The debt ceiling talks between President Obama and the Republican congressional leadership appear to be running into significant disorder, with top GOP legislators accusing the president of leading with tax increases and with threats emerging that Social Security checks could be halted.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his frustration with President Obama, saying the White House lacked a tangible plan.
"In my view the president has presented us with three choices," McConnell (R-KY) said, according to a USA Today report. "Smoke and mirrors, tax hikes, or default."
McConnell and his Republican colleagues were not comfortable with those choices.
"Republicans choose none of the above," McConnell said. "I had hoped to do good; but I refuse to do harm."
President Obama sought to frame the debt ceiling debate in terms that senior citizens could appreciate, threatening to stop Social Security checks should the debt discussions fail to produce an outcome before the August 2 deadline, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama said in a CBS News interview that is scheduled to air on Tuesday night.
Obama further embellished on his warning, saying that “this is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are veterans' checks, these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out."
But House Speaker John Boehner sees the issue as squarely a White House matter.
"This debt limit increase is his problem," Boehner said, USA Today reported. "I think it's time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table, something that the Congress can pass."
More about Debt ceiling, Obama, Boehner, Mcconnell, Congress
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