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BREAKING: Dems Delay Debt Limit Test Vote

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As noted here, Republicans are insisting on skewed triggers. The source provided some fresh details on precisely what they're asking for. One of their proposals would alter the way the government calculates inflation. It would thus reduce automatic increases in tax bracket levels and Social Security cost of living adjustments -- in effect a regressive tax increase, and a Social Security cut, each of which would result in modest savings.

Democrats reject this so called "chained CPI" option because they fear Republicans would happily block a balanced spending cut/tax increase package in favor of an automatic Social Security cut.

Republicans have also proposed "automatic sequestration" -- across the board spending cuts, including to entitlements -- with no corresponding revenue increases.

In a retread of a familiar fight, Dems are only willing to consider any options along these lines without corresponding revenues. They worry that the penalty will ultimately be more appealing to the GOP than any possible bipartisan fiscal package, and passively allow it to be triggered. Thus, they're pushing for the penalty to include decoupling Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans from the rest of the Bush tax cuts, so that they would expire automatically. They're also open to loophole closures and ending certain tax expenditures.

The White House is now taking a lead role in resolving this impasse. The delay could bring the debt limit fight down to the wire. If Republicans use all the procedural tools they can to delay final passage, it could drag the Senate debate late into Monday, giving the House just over 24 hours to pass the compromise, before the nation runs out of borrowing authority.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

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