As an August 2 deadline approaches, Democrats and Republicans continue to play “hard ball” in their struggles to hammer out a deal that will result in the raising of the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
Economic experts say that if the debt ceiling is not raised, the U.S. will not be able to pay its obligations and will be in default. 6th District Congressman Jim Clyburn took parts in earlier failed talks led by Vice President Joe Biden. He told Greenwood affiliate WLMA that progress was being made when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stormed out of the talks prior to the last session.
Clyburn says he agrees adjustments to entitlement programs have to be made as a part of the long-term effort to balance the federal budget. However he says the radical changes touted by Republicans are not the answer.
Before entertaining a vote to raise the debt ceiling, Republicans want an assurance that government spending would be reduced at an amount equal to any increase in the debt limit. A number of GOP congressional leaders say it is also time to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Clyburn voted for a balanced budget amendment in 1995, but the measure died. He says the idea is one for the long term, but it won’t fix the present problem.
As part of any proposal, Democrats want to include the elimination of tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. Clyburn is angered that Republicans are trying to label the elimination of these subsidies as tax increases.
Democrats are also calling for limiting tax deductions for wealthier Americans.
Anne Eller of Greenwood affiliate WLMA contributed to this report.