Senate Democrats are pushing to boost the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion so Treasury can keep borrowing through 2010, The Washington Post reports. The move may prove necessary since the federal government anticipates exceeding the current debt limit of $12.4 trillion as early as next month.
Democrats feel particularly pressured to increase the cap in order to keep government programs running through the fall 2010 elections. The White House, which is adamant that the measure must pass, issued a statement saying it is necessary to assure international confidence in U.S. creditworthiness.
"We have gone to the restaurant. We have eaten the meal. Now the only question is whether we will pay the check," Senate Finance chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said.
But Tuesday’s Senate win by Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts could increase the prospects that a more consequential and united GOP will prevent a permanent increase, instead opting for a temporary measure. And disunity among Democrats is also throwing a wrench into the mix. Some centrist Democrats said they would vote against a permanent debt limit increase unless Obama committed to creating a commission to study and lay out plans for deficit reduction. Obama reached such a deal with Senate Democrats earlier in the week.