Will Party Bickering Keep Debt Talks at a Standstill?

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WASHINTON - The talks on whether to increase the size of America's debt keep getting knocked off track.

Republicans want spending cuts, while Democrats want tax increases. And there's even growing dissension among some conservatives in the ranks of the Republican Party.

While the chief negotiators held talks at the White House Wednesday, others on Capitol Hill made sure their voices weren't left out of the debate to raise the nation's debt limit.

"We're giving the government authority to continue to borrow $2.5 billion that we don't have," Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said in a press conference.

President Barack Obama has warned that if Washington doesn't increase the debt ceiling, he can't guarantee that checks will go out to pay the military or social security recipients.

"You either honor your obligations or you don't. And if you don't, you make terrible choices about which bills you will pay and which ones you won't," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained.

Some Republicans call that a scare tactic.

"We cannot go on scaring the American people," Bachmann said. "We need to be truthful, and I call on the president and the treasury secretary to tell the truth to the American people."

To avoid that scenario, Iowa Rep. Steve King has introduced the "Promises Act." The legislation would make sure the government makes paying interest on its debt and the men and women in uniform its top priority.

"We want to make sure America keeps its promises," King said.

The ongoing debt talks in Washington have highlighted major disagreements between Democrats and Republicans. But it's also exposing dissent within party lines.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, says House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is wrong if he thinks economic catastrophe will be the result of not raising the debt limit.

"I'd encourage our speaker to quit believing the president when he uses scare tactics," Gohmert said. "There's money there regardless."

In the Senate, Jim DeMint criticized an alternative plan offered by the Senate's top Republican Mitch McConnell. If all else fails, the "plan b" move would allow for an automatic debt ceiling increase, but require President Obama to find spending cuts that outweigh the increase.

"That proposal, I'm convinced, that Sen. McConnell put on the table is not going anywhere and I don't think it should," DeMint charged.

Still, neither the White House nor House Speaker John Boehner dismissed McConnell's idea.

"I think everybody agrees there needs to be a backup plan if we can't come to an agreement," Boehner told Fox News Channel Tuesday. "And frankly, I think Mitch has done good work."

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.