And, you know, at the last hours, you begin -- people are looking for off-ramps. There is no off-ramp here. The only option is for Congress to raise the debt ceiling and to sign these initial deficit reduction savings into law.
Obviously, if Congress isn't able to act, the Treasury Department is going to have to brief people who'd affected and will obviously do that. But the focus now has to be driving towards some conclusion here.
And, listen, I think the American people are sitting at home and saying, you know, they've gone through this recession, many have lost jobs, many are working two jobs, they're helping family members who've been affected, they're furious at this.
What they're screaming -- listen, the president a couple times this week talked about compromise. And Capitol Hill was besieged by tweets, by calls, by e-mails, because the American people are fed up. They want their leaders to lead, and part of leading is compromise.
You know, George, you've worked on Capitol Hill. Any meaningful agreement has to be based on compromise, particularly when you have divided government. The American people chose divided government in 2010, but they did not choose dysfunctional government. And I think the spectacle this week has been something that's enraged Americans, and I think they're going to insist that their leaders here over the next two-and-a-half days solve this problem.
AMANPOUR: Well, we're certainly going to be watching it. David Plouffe, thank you very much, indeed.
AMANPOUR: And so, again, Capitol Hill becomes a hive of activity this afternoon when Senator Majority Leader Henry Reid brings his troops into session. We'll then begin to see how the rank-and-file are responding to the leadership negotiation.
And we're now joined by a key Republican senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Thanks for joining us.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: As all of this goes on, we're hearing now from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that they are working -- they're close to the parameters -- close to presenting something to their members. Is this, what you're hearing, the kind of thing that you could get on board with?
GRAHAM: Yeah, that was actually a pretty good interview. I don't know where I'm going to land, but I do believe that there is a desire by the body as a whole, Republicans and Democrats, to get this done in a way that you don't go in Tuesday with a default.
But there's a lot of history being made here. The average debt ceiling increase in terms of time since 1940 has been nine months. We're going to do 22 months, is the proposal, and $2.3 trillion.
From the Republican Party's point of view, I think we can declare victory in a limited fashion. This is the first time in my lifetime, that I know of, that we're paying for future debt increases dollar for dollar. And that would not have happened without the 2010 election, which was about the size and scope of the government.
But when you tell Tea Party folks and, quite frankly, people like me, we've won, the answer would be, wait a minute, we've changed the culture in terms of raising the debt ceiling, but in the next decade, you're adding $6 trillion to $7 trillion additional money to the debt. The government continues to grow.