Democrats Rally Against 'Cut, Cap, Balance' Debt Plan

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CAPITOL HILL - As the clock keeps ticking, multiple last-minute plans are being hashed out on Capitol Hill to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt.

Lawmakers have been deadlocked on a plan to raise the debt limit for months. And they have until Aug. 2 to make a decision.

"The problem we have now is that we're in the 11th hour and we don't have a lot more time left," President Barack Obama said.

A group of senators produced a bipartisan plan that the White House wants to use as a framework for a "balanced approach," including spending cuts and possibly revenues.

But, the House already had its own plans.

The latest plan that's gained traction among Republicans is the "cut, cap and balance" plan.

The measure would roll back current spending to 2008 levels and cap the size of government spending at no more than 20 percent of the national economy. Cut, cap and balance would also includes a plan to balance the budget with a constitutional amendment.

"The Democrats stood back and say somehow they're opposed to a balanced budget. Sixteen years ago, if they had that one more vote we wouldn't be here today,"

Passing a balanced budget amendment is a multi-stage process.

First, the plan has to clear in Washing. Then, it has to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

But, the cut, cap and balance effort may not even get off the runway, since it lacks the bipartisan support needed.

In an exclusive interview with CBN News before the vote, GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte -- the plan's sponsor -- said he felt good about its chances.

"To get a balanced budget amendment, it's got to be bipartisan, and therefore I've got to have most of the Republicans and I've got to have 50 or more Democrats," he explained. "I think that's possible."

But rank-and-file Democrats from the House to President Obama oppose the idea, arguing that the Republican plan would hurt Americans in the middle class, like seniors.

"When you look at the numbers, what you're looking at is cuts of half a trillion dollars below... it would require cutting social security or Medicare substantially," Obama said.

Tea Party freshmen say that's nothing but a political scare tactic.

"There is cash on hand and the Social Security Administration admitted that if the checks weren't paid, it would be a political decision, not a financial decision," Rep. Tim Huelskamp charged.

Republican leaders stood firmly behind their plan in public. But hours before the vote, House Speaker John Boehner hinted that he's working on a plan B.

"There are a lot of options available to us," he said. "There have been no decisions made as of yet."

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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