Boehner, McConnell Agree to Let Obama Borrow Another $2.4 Trillion

By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 31, 2011 | 11:49 PM EDT

President Barack Obama speaks at a meeting with the congressional leadership at the White House, July 7, 2011. (AP photo)

( - House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) have reportedly agreed to give President Barack Obama the authority to borrow as much as an additional $2.4 trillion—thus allowing him to get past the November 2012 election without having to seek another increase in the legal limit on the federal debt.

A pleased President Obama announced the deal in a briefing at the White House press room at 8:40 p.m. on Sunday.

“Most importantly,” Obama said of the deal, “it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America.  It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months, or eight months, or 12 months.  And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.”

Neither Obama, nor Boehner, nor McConnell released the details of the deal on Sunday evening.

The New York Times reported that the money to increase the debt limit would come in an initial installment of $900 billion followed by a second installment of $1.2 to $1.5 trillion. The first $900 billion would include an immediate $400 billion to allow the government to pay its immediate bills. Both the initial and second installment, according to the Times would be subject of disapproval votes by Congress which would cancel the debt limit increases, but that these disapproval votes would be subject to a veto by President Obama—meaning that both houses of Congress would have to vote by two-thirds majorities to prevent the debt limit increases from happening.

The Washington Post reported that both the House and the Senate could vote on this deal by Monday night, meaning that neither members of Congress nor U.S. citizens nor members of the Washington press corps that will report and comment on the legislation will have even 24 hours to read and study the legislation embodying the deal before congressional leaders are expected to enact it.

When Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08. Last week, it was $14,342,865,885,306.46. With a $2.4 trillion increase it would hit more than $16.7 trillion—an increase of more than $6 trillion (or more than 50 percent) from the time of Obama’s inauguration.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who did not reveal any of the details of the deal, said on the Senate floor on Sunday night Republicans would be holding a conference in the morning to discuss the deal.

“This is an important moment for our country. I appreciate the Majority Leader’s comments and want to say a few words to our colleagues who have been so patient over the past several days, and whose ideas and encouragement have been so helpful in getting us to this point,” said McConnell.

“First of all, let me reiterate that before any agreement is reached, Republicans will meet to discuss the framework that the White House and the congressional leaders in both parties think would meet our stated efforts to cut spending more than the President's requested debt ceiling increase, prevent a national default, and protect the economy from tax increases,” said McConnell. “And to that end, I would like to say to my Republican colleagues that we'll be holding a conference meeting in the morning to discuss this framework and give everyone a chance to weigh in.

“But at this point I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending,” said McConnell. “And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations.”