Washington – Republicans and Democrats on Monday unveiled two differing deficit-reduction plans in a bid to break the deadlock over raising the $14.29 trillion U.S. debt limit before an Aug. 2 deadline.
The leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, presented a plan to cut $2.7 trillion in spending over the next decade, calling it "an offer the Republicans can't refuse."
Meanwhile, the Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, put forth their own two-phase proposal that has as its goal cutting public spending by $3 trillion over the next 10 years.
Shortly after the Democrats' plan was announced by Sen. Reid, the White House issued a statement supporting the proposal and saying that it was a "reasonable approach."
"(W)e hope the House Republicans will agree to this plan so that America can avoid defaulting on our obligations for the first time in our history," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. "The ball is in their court."
Eight days before the deadline set by the Treasury Department as the date on which the federal government must declare itself in partial default on its payment obligations, the dynamic between the two parties was defining a new chapter in this race against the clock.
Democrats have left to the side any increase in taxes, but they are maintaining their head-on opposition to a short-term plan such as the Republicans are proposing, preferring one that would carry the country through the November 2012 elections.
The proposal presented by Boehner, in contrast, permits the debt ceiling to be raised until the end of this year, but it demands that in January 2012 the plan be put to a vote in Congress once again after the formation of a six-person bipartisan committee of three senators and three House members.