lawmakers hope to vote soon on a compromise plan to raise the nation’s
borrowing limit in exchange for substantial cuts in government spending.
The 11th hour compromise agreed to by President Barack Obama and U.S.
congressional leaders prevents the United States from defaulting on its
debt. But it also leaves some people on both sides of the political
spectrum unhappy with the result.
One of the key players in the congressional debt debate drama was the
leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of
It was McConnell who joined forces with President Obama late in the game
to forge a bipartisan deal that will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years
and will set the stage for additional cuts through a special
McConnell, speaking on the CBS program "Face the Nation", said, “We’ve
got a history of robust political debate, but this country has always
come together at critical moments and we are at one of those critical
moments right now and we are going to come together and we are going to
get the job done for the American people.”
Public opinion polls showed that Americans wanted a compromise on the
debt issue to avoid a default that many fear would have further weakened
the U.S. economy.
In announcing the compromise, President Obama said that his appeals to
public opinion for a bipartisan compromise helped to convince lawmakers
that it was time to end the stalemate over raising the debt ceiling.
“It has been your voices, your letters, your emails, your tweets, your
phone calls that have compelled Washington to act in the final days," he
The Tea Party faction was a major factor in driving the debate for
spending cuts, especially in the House of Representatives where many of
the 87 new Republican members owe some measure of support to Tea Party
activists in their home districts.
Some lawmakers with Tea Party backing are unhappy with the compromise
because they wanted deeper spending cuts.
But many Tea Party organizers are claiming credit for the deal and the
scope of the spending cuts included.
“It was only eight months ago that the Democrats controlled both
chambers of Congress and the White House and they [refused to deal with
the issue]," said Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express, who spoke on the
C-SPAN public affairs cable TV network. "They didn’t do anything about
it. That is completely irresponsible. The American people want this
Many liberal Democrats are far less happy with the deal, angered that
the president went along with Republican demands for deep cuts without
any tax increases as part of the final compromise.
“In order to please the Tea Party base of the Republican Party, they are
literally holding our whole economy hostage and threatening to put a
knife in our economy in order to protect tax cuts for millionaires and
corporations and to win big cuts to vital services," said Justin Ruben,
who is with the liberal organization MoveOn.Org and also spoke on
analysts say Republicans will get credit for driving the debate over the
debt and cutting the budget deficit. But the deal could help President
Obama with centrist voters when he seeks re-election next year.
Democratic political strategist Mark Penn says both sides have
challenges in the months ahead.
“The president has to make a stronger case in stating the values behind
what he is agreeing to. And the Republicans, on the other hand, look
like the only thing they are concerned about is cutting programs like
Medicare and Medicaid," he said.
The debt deal will likely resonate in next year’s presidential and
congressional elections where the domestic economy is expected to be the