Cardin less confident on Aug. 2 deadline
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin said Friday that he is less confident than he was a day ago that Congress can agree on a deal to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2 and he warned that whatever agreement ultimately emerges will likely have a disproportionate effect on Maryland.
“Every day, until we have a deal, I get less confident. We’ve cut this too close. We’ve already caused damage to this country. Our reputation has been affected. Our credit has been affected,” the Maryland Democrat told The Sun. “I’m less confident today than I was yesterday. I still believe we’ll get it done but I think there is a significant risk that we won’t. And that is very troublesome to me.”
After delaying action Thursday night, the House of Representatives is moving toward a vote Friday on a proposal championed by Republican Speaker John Boehner. The Democratic-led Senate is poised to table that measure as soon as the House votes and bring up its own proposal. Cardin said he is reaching out to Republican colleagues in the Senate in the hunt for middle ground.
Although there is deep disagreement about the timeline for extending the limit – Republicans want a shorter-term extension than Democrats – there appears to be consensus that the actual budget cuts included in the Senate plan will hew closely to those called for by the House. Cardin said he is concerned those reductions will have a big impact on Maryland, given the state’s geographic and economic ties to Washington.
The cuts called for by Boehner’s plan -- as it was written Thursday night -- are “in the same general areas as” the Senate plan, Cardin said. “So there is no disagreement on the cuts.”
“I have lots of problems with it, but I will support it," Cardin said of those budget cuts.
"I do think that we are cutting areas that are further than I would like to see cut,” he said. “I do think these cuts are manageable. We can do it. But it’s not part of a balanced, comprehensive plan and that I find very, very disappointing.”