Yesterday, U.S. Senate Democrats put together another proposal which will be made public this week and is expected to be voted on this Friday to raise the U.S. debt limit to over $17 trillion. The proposal will reportedly keep the U.S. government afloat through the November, 2014 elections however does not touch the focus of the controversy - ObamaCare. It has not yet been made public what is in the proposal and if the Republican controlled U.S. House would accept it. Although President Obama is on record as not willing to negotiate on raising the debt ceiling, there is word he may be willing to bend so long as it does not involve his trademark legislation - the Affordable Care Act.
Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner continue their public charade for media cameras, however it is becoming clear a deal is close at hand. Republicans would prefer to defund the Affordable Care Act a/k/a ObamaCare, however it is likely they will accept a reduction in federal spending no matter where it comes from. It is ironic since when the Republicans have been in charge, they have steamrolled legislation to raise the debt limit and increase spending.
Meanwhile, libertarians are calling the government shutdown a government slowdown and would like to see true reform. Libertarian Party chairman Geoffrey J. Neale said, "Elected Republicans in the House can stimulate the productive private sector by slowing down Big Government. Why? Because a government-sector slowdown equals a private-sector growth speedup of small businesses and jobs. Americans should welcome a government slowdown — and fear the opposite: allowing politicians to continue irresponsible, reckless government overspending."
Yesterday, the U.S. House passed legislation to reopen part of the FDA to continue food inspections. Boehner said yesterday, “Senate Democrats and the president shut down the government to protect special breaks for Congress and big businesses under ObamaCare, and won’t negotiate to open the government back up. So the House has passed several individual measures to make sure critical services – veterans benefits, cancer research, and now food safety – are still up and running. We need the Senate to act on these bills now, and then come to the table so we can resolve our differences and end their needless shutdown.”
The clock is ticking for legislators as there is a small risk the U.S. government could default on its debt after October 17, 2013. However, despite the political rhetoric, the U.S. government has more than enough money currently coming in from taxpayers to pay the $20 billion interest payment coming up on October 17. The U.S. government would need to make further cuts elsewhere to make that payment since the government cannot legally go to the Federal Reserve to borrow it as it has done in the past. For those unfamiliar, the U.S. government has been running borrowing money at an unsustainable rate to pay its obligations for years and each year the financial situation for the government reaches a more critical level.