ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports: Real-time debt clocks have burned by the $13 trillion mark for the U.S. national debt.
The more precise official Treasury Department numbers are only released every few days. They’re still hovering at $12.98 trillion, but the new numbers should come out today. Will it hit $13 trillion? Regardless, it took about six months and nine days to go from $12 trillion to $13 trillion. A blistering pace.
Republicans are honing in on the $13 trillion development in speeches on the Senate floor. “This is fiscal recklessness,” said McConnell on the Senate floor, pointing the finger at Democrats. “The true emergency here is our national debt,” he said. “A line must be drawn somewhere. Americans are running out of patience.” And why not – Congress is looking at two big-ticket bills with huge price tags. In the Senate, they’re considering the $58 billion off-budget war spending bill (with money thrown in for disaster relief and summer jobs programs). President Obama had promised to make war funding on-budget, unlike President Bush, who asked for emergency spending bills to pay for all war costs. The $33 billion in this emergency bill are just to pay for the surge in Afghanistan. The rest of the war costs are accounted for in the annual DOD Appropriations requests. Still, it is a $58 billion spending bill that lawmakers are sure to pass. Both the House and Senate have yet to pass a bill to extend popular tax breaks for businesses, extend unemployment and COBRA benefits for the long-unemployed through the end of the year and more. Some normal emergency spending priorities are falling by the wayside. Democrats in the Senate, for instance, have abandoned plans to add $23 billion to the war spending bill that President Obama requested to save 300,000 teacher jobs as local governments grapple with their own budget nightmares. House Democrats will also add an extra $500 million for immigration enforcement and the 1,200 National Guard troops the President now wants to send to the border with Mexico. “I have decided not to offer an amendment on education jobs funding to the supplemental appropriations bill. I’ve counted the votes, and I am confident that a clear majority of Senators would support such an amendment. But under Senate rules, we need more than a majority – we need a supermajority of 60 votes. And since no Republicans have agreed to support this amendment, we can’t get to 60,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, who chairs the Senate committee that oversees education. It is still possible the money could be added to the House version of the supplemental and added to the Senate version without a vote in conference.