National News Alert!

U.S. will hit debt limit on Dec. 31, Treasury says

The U.S. government will exhaust its borrowing authority on Dec. 31 and hit the $16.4 trillion federal debt limit, the Treasury Department said Wednesday, beginning a countdown until Congress either passes legislation to allow for more borrowing or the government defaults on its debt.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in a letter to senior lawmakers that the Treasury would begin to undertake “extraordinary measures” in order to forestall default. Geithner said the measures could create about $200 billion in additional funding available to the government – giving Congress two months before it must raise the debt

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“John Boehner’s Christmas Gift”: A Guarantee That The Republican House Will Destroy The Economy

Last week, we learned that Speaker of the House John Boehner has no control over his majority. We’ve seen Boehner have trouble with his caucus before, of course — a significant portion of these people are crazy — but the failure of “Plan B” was different. In the past Boehner has had trouble whipping votes to support things that were destined to become law. Boehner couldn’t get his caucus to support TARP because TARP was awful and was also definitely going to happen. Boehner couldn’t get the votes for the 2011 debt deal because conservatives thought they’d eventually force an even better deal. But this was a totally symbolic gesture that never had any shot at passing the Senate or getting signed by the president. Boehner’s “Plan B” was a stupid pointless empty gesture, and that is why its failure is actually slightly scary, in addition to being hilarious.


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“”Fiscal cliff” deal could fall in Harry Reid’s hands”


By Nancy Cordes

(CBS News) HAWAII – Democrats are now moving ahead on their own plan to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” now that talks have broken down with House Speaker John Boehner.

The White House and congressional leaders have until January 1 to work out a budget deal.

Lawmakers still see path to avert “fiscal cliff”
Watch: No Christmas miracle on “fiscal cliff”Complete coverage of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations


Whatever happens next may essentially be a last-ditch effort to avert the “fiscal cliff.” Sources tell CBS News that aides to the president have been in preliminary talks with aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who himself was in Hawaii this weekend for the funeral of Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Reid is now working, sources say, on a smaller package than the comprehensive deal the president was working on with Boehner. The package would prevent tax rates from rising for middle-class families and perhaps cut some spending and tie up a few other loose ends… (Excerpt)

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