Days from Default, Debt Negotiations Stall Once Again

By John R Parkinson

Jul 30, 2011 1:54pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:

As the House of Representatives is poised to reject a version of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s alternative plan to increase the debt limit later this afternoon, the path to a solution to the default debacle is nebulous as legislators run out of time to reach an agreement.

Moments ago, the House began an expedited debate on a bill written to mirror of the Reid plan, lasting only 40 minutes before the House will vote under the rules of suspension on the measure. The vote will require a two-thirds majority to pass, suggesting that it would take the entire House Democratic caucus (193 members) and almost 100 Republicans to approve the legislation.

As the Senate rejected House Speaker John Boehner’s revised plan Friday night, the speaker has termed the Reid plan a non-starter in the House as well, and it is not expected to pass.

A spokesman to the Speaker of the House says that talks between each chamber of Congress are essentially stalled for the time being while the Senate moves forward debating Majority Leader Harry Reid’s alternative to

"The Senate is burning precious time by working all weekend on Sen. Reid’s doomed bill, which can't pass the House,” Michael Steel, press secretary to the speaker, said. “Congressional talks are essentially motionless until Senator Reid provides specifics to the Hill on what the president will sign.  Everyone in Congress is sick and tired of the president saying what he's against, but not what he's for."

If a deal is not passed through both bodies of Congress and signed by the president by the end of the day next Tuesday, August 2, the Treasury Department says the government will no longer have the capability to borrow money to pay its debts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, rounded up his Republican colleagues and sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV., signed by 43 GOP Senators in opposition to the Reid plan – an effort aimed at proving there is no reason they should hold a vote on the Reid at 1:00 a.m. Sunday if they know it will fail.

If the doomsday scenario is realized, lawmakers have warned that the global financial markets would spiral out of control, and virtually every American will personally feel the impact of default through higher interest rates. The president has also threatened that certain entitlements and military funding could be cut off.

“Our economy hangs on the balance,” Reid, D-Nev., said Friday evening. “For the first time in the history of our country unless there is a compromise or they accept my bill we are headed for economic disaster.” 

ABC News’ Sunlen Miler contributed to this report 

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