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Think Out Loud

The Debt Ceiling

Pete Springer/OPB

Leaders in both parties are hammering out their own approaches to tackling the debt ceiling. Bipartisan talks derailed last week when House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) walked out on the negotiations he and President Barack Obama had been working on privately.

To illustrate debates in Congress on a micro level, Oregon’s Congressional delegation comes from predictable positions. While Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) says he will not support closing loopholes unless they are offset by spending cuts, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) wants to dissolve dozens of tax breaks, particularly to oil companies, hedge fund managers and the owners of race horses.

If an agreement is not reached by the Aug. 2 deadline, the federal government will need to drastically cut spending in order to avoid default. Veterans’ benefits, social security, unemployment, Medicaid and other federally funded programs could all be affected, but it’s unclear just how the government would prioritize spending under such dire circumstances. The financial markets are beginning to react to building anxiety over the debt ceiling talks, which appear to be at a standstill

If the debt ceiling is not raised by deadline, how would you be affected? What kind of compromise would you like to see?


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