- Rubio Says Obama Stalled on Debt Debate for Political Purposes
- Durbin Says Balanced Budget Amendment Won't Pass Senate
- Giuliani Says GOP Should 'Stay Out' of Gay Marriage Debate
- Jordan, Van Hollen Square Off on 'Cut, Cap, and Balance'
- OMB's Lew Warns of 'Chaos' if Debt Deal is Not Reached
12:10. Rubio Says Obama Stalled on Debt Debate for Political Purposes
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., doubled down Sunday on a comment he made last week suggesting that President Obama had deliberately delayed the debt-ceiling debate until the U.S. reached the brink of default, in order to force last-minute concessions from Republicans.
“I came into Washington in January. We already knew this debt-limit issue was upon us,” the freshman senator said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. “....Months went by, weeks went by, and up until very recently the president was disengaged from this debt-limit debate. And I do think that, in the context of politics, there was a strategy to leave this until the last possible moment so that there would be a take-it-or-leave it scenario like what some are painting right now.”
If the administration has been working on the issue all year, Rubio added, then “where is the president’s plan? I've never seen a piece of paper with the president’s name on it that's his plan to solve this problem.”
But as for plans that are on the table, Rubio was unenthusiastic about the proposal floated by his own caucus leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“If all we do is raise the debt limit and it’s not accompanied by a credible solution to America's debt problem, we are in big trouble,” he said. “And I don't believe this plan, as it’s been outlined to me, is a credible solution to the debt problem."
11:30. Durbin Says Balanced Budget Amendment Won't Pass Senate
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday that the balanced budget amendment scheduled for a Senate vote this week is dead on arrival.
“No one believes there’s 67 votes for any version of that,” Durbin said, suggesting that the vote was a waste of precious time as the debt-ceiling deadline nears with a deal still nowhere in sight.
But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the longtime deficit hawk, suggested that the chamber is out of touch with the electorate on the issue.
“Why in the world aren’t there the votes for a balanced budget amendment in the Senate? That’s what Americans ought to be asking,” Coburn said, appearing on the program with Durbin.
Both senators joined the chorus of bipartisan criticism on the Hill for the proposal from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., allowing President Obama to raise the debt ceiling with Congress registering votes of disapproval.
“It’s a great political plan,” Coburn said. "It takes the pressure off of all the politicians, but allows us to pass a debt limit without making the hard choices that this country has to make."
Neither senator committed to voting against the McConnell plan, however, and Durbin expressed confidence that ongoing meetings between McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., might produce a viable compromise.
10:30. Giuliani Says GOP Should 'Stay Out' of Gay Marriage Debate
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Sunday that he is still weighing a 2012 bid, but he offered the Republican field stern advice on gay marriage.
“I don't know what the heck the Republican Party wants to do getting involved in people's sexual lives and personal lives so much. Stay out of it," Giuliani told Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union. "And I think we'd be a much more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots and our idea of a strong, assertive America that is not embarrassed to be the leader of the world."
Trying to stoke interest in a possible campaign, Giuliani gave the interview during a visit to New Hampshire, the state that hosts the nation’s first presidential primary. But many political strategists, pointing to Giuliani’s poor showing in 2008, are skeptical that he would be competitive.
10:14. Jordan, Van Hollen Square Off on 'Cut, Cap, and Balance'
With just over two weeks left before the debt-limit deadline, key congressional Republicans and Democrats remained entrenched in their opposing positions on Sunday despite the recent emergence of two proposals from the GOP side.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the Republican Study Committee chairman, made the case for the “cut, cap, and balance” plan favored by many House Republicans, in which a debt-ceiling deal is contingent upon spending cuts, a cap on future spending, and a balanced budget amendment.
“Let’s do something historic,” Jordan said in an interview on Fox News Sunday, calling the proposal a "common-sense American plan" that would set the fiscal house in order on a permanent basis.
Also appearing on the program was House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who dismissed the proposal by tying it to the controversial budget plan authored by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Van Hollen argued that “cut, cap, and balance” would essentially write Ryan’s proposed restructuring of Medicare into the Constitution.
“The framers would be turning in their graves if they read [the GOP] provision,” Van Hollen said.
Jordan responded most Americans would favor a balanced budget amendment, and that state governments have passed similar measures.
“To call balancing the budget 'dangerous' is unbelievable,” he said.
One thing Jordan and Van Hollen do agree on is that they don’t like the plan floated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that would allow President Obama to raise the debt ceiling while Congress is free register votes of disapproval.
Jordan said the House GOP caucus would not vote for the McConnell plan, which he said would merely “kick the can down the road” on the nation’s fiscal crises. Van Hollen agreed, but he stopped short of pledging to vote against the proposal, acknowledging that at some point it might prove the only option left to avoid economic catastrophe.
9:45. OMB's Lew Warns of 'Chaos' if Debt Deal is Not Reached
Jacob Lew, director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, refused on Sunday to say which bills the government would pay first if the debt limit is not raised by the August 2 deadline.
Pressed by Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union to list “priorities,’’ Lew denied the existence of a contingency plan spelling out how the government would handle its Social Security payments, government paychecks, and bills from defense contractors if Congress does not act by the deadline. He repeatedly emphasized that "chaos" would result if the nation defaulted on its debt, as some Republicans press for brinksmanship in the face of possible tax hikes.
“I think it's not insignificant that all the leaders understand that it would be irresponsible to get to August 2 and not extend the ability of the United States to pay its obligations,’’ he said. “There will be a fringe that believes that playing with Armageddon is a good idea, but I don't think that's where the majority will be. ... I have confidence that ultimately the responsible leadership in Washington will not fail to take an action."
Asked about the balanced budget amendment advocated by House Republicans, Lew said it would result in “draconian" cuts in Social Security and Medicare.
But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also appearing on State of the Union, insisted that Congress will never rein in spending and cut the deficit without the pressure of a constitutional amendment.
“Without that, we’re just going to talk to each other and run America into the ground,’’ Graham said.
President Obama has sought to gain the moral high ground in the negotiations over the debt ceiling by suggesting a willingness to cut entitlement programs sacred to the Democratic Party while Republicans, he says, are refusing to compromise. “We need a partner to work with," Lew said in a second Sunday interview on ABC’s This Week.
But Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., also appearing on the program, called the president’s bluff, saying that Obama has yet to detail any reductions to Social Security and Medicare.
“We have no idea what he’s talking about,’’ Kyl said.