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Senate leader says give Obama new debt limit power

Senate leader says give Obama new debt limit power

The top Republican in the Senate proposed on Tuesday giving President Barack Obama sweeping new power to, in effect, unilaterally increase the U.S. debt limit to avoid a first-ever default on U.S. obligations.
The new mechanism would take the place of the current White House debt negotiations among congressional leaders and Obama. Those talks over spending cuts and tax increases have grown increasingly acrimonious.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a new plan to allow the president to demand up to $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority by the summer of next year in three separate submissions. Those increases in the so-called debt limit would automatically take effect unless both the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic Senate enact legislation specifically disapproving it.
Obama would be able to veto such legislation.
McConnell said he reluctantly offered the unusual proposal because it has become clear the negotiations with Obama are not going anywhere.
Obama would be able to veto such legislation.
The Republican plan would require that Obama submit spending cuts along with his borrowing requests. But unlike the increase in the debt limit, they wouldn't automatically take effect.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he had spoken briefly to McConnell about the idea and said he would consider it.
The sweeping new power would only be in effect through the remainder of Obama's term, which ends in January 2013.
McConnell's plan would permit an immediate increase in the debt limit of $100 billion while Congress debates whether to disapprove of it.
An Aug. 2 deadline looms for Congress to raise the country's debt limit. Republicans are insisting on major budget cuts to reduce the swollen deficit. Obama and his fellow Democrats are also offering budget cuts but in tandem with tax increases that the Republicans say they won't support.
Both Democratic and Republican leaders agree the U.S. shouldn't be allowed to default on its obligations, which could skyrocket interest rates, send stock markets plunging and shatter faith in the world's No. 1 economy.
The showdown comes as Obama and lawmakers head into next year's presidential and congressional elections.
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Associated Press writers Ben Feller, Julie Pace and Erica Werner contributed to this report.


Updated : 2020-12-04 22:19 GMT+08:00