Figures of Grief and History on the Peace Monument stand near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC. As the United States approaches the possibility of a default, the congressional leaders and the White House try to reach an agreement on measures to lift the debt ceiling.
As Congress and President Barack Obama face the deadline to extend the debt ceiling, the compromise which passed the House of Representatives Monday night is headed to the Senate Tuesday. It’s a compromise bill that President Obama has said he will sign.
When the House took up the issue Monday night, U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D), U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R) and U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) supported the plan. U.S. Rep. Bob Filner (D) and U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R) voted against the plan.
After voting for both previous debt limit proposals, Rep. Hunter opposed the latest debt limit proposal over concern that a special committee created under the plan could fail to reach an agreement and result in $600 billion in defense budget cuts.
“The future of U.S. security should not be handed over to a 12-person super panel," Hunter said in a news release. "Its decisions or inability to reach an agreement could ultimately break our military or bring it very close to that point."
Rep. Davis, calling the agreement “the best of no good alternatives” said she supported it because “America must pay its bills.“
In a statement posted to his website, Rep. Issa said the plan “moves the country in the right direction – without tax increases – and gives us a foundation to continue the conversation about our nation’s spending priorities.
In a statement sent via email, Rep. Bilbray said the "legislation is a critical step in helping Americans who are in desperate need of work because it focuses on creating a more confident atmosphere for small businesses to hire and prevents further burdening families with job-destroying tax increases.”
Both California U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer are expected to support the plan.
While federal lawmakers are voting, state lawmakers are trying to figure out what the deal would mean for California.
The state is expecting $79 billion from the federal government this year, much of it money that's passed through to local governments, schools and individuals for health care, education, law enforcement and transportation.
The state is expected to spend another $129.5 billion of its own funds generated by tax revenues and bonds.
The deal in Washington, D.C., appears to result in little reductions in federal aid in the short term, but more substantial and unspecified cuts will have to follow in future years, said Jason Sisney of the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.
The compromise calls for initial cuts of more than $900 billion in federal agency budgets, but it will be phased in over 10 years with larger cuts coming later in the decade. According to the Congressional Budget Office, next year's cuts would amount to only $21 billion out of total federal spending exceeding $3.6 trillion.
Mary Beth Sullivan, executive director of The California Institute for Federal Policy Research, a nonpartisan public policy group, said the federal government cuts will eventually put pressure on the state and local governments.
Because California has its own major deficit problem that it has to take care of, it relies to some extent on the federal payment that it gets to close that gap," Sullivan said. "One can pretty much assume that it's going to have a bigger gap to fill because it's going to have substantially less federal dollars."