Administration officials have been quietly working to shore up an alternative plan if Congress fails to approve an extension of the nation’s borrowing capacity by early August. Geithner already has moved the deadline twice by rearranging funds in places like federal pension programs, but he says that the moves he would need to make next would be more drastic and likely affect the financial markets.
DeMint, however, stood firm on his call for a balanced budget amendment. House conservatives are standing strong on the constitutional change, and even though all 47 Senate Republicans support it, veteran lawmakers such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have openly criticized colleagues for intending to hold the debt limit hostage to a policy goal that is unlikely to be met this Congress.
“We will give the president an increase in the debt limit in return for some reasonable cuts in spending this year, some caps in spending over the next 10 years and his agreement to send a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to the states for them to ratify,” DeMint said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.