Obama signs debt ceiling measure into law

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md. Obama has signed a bill Saturday that allows the government to borrow money to pay its debts and a separate measure that restores benefits for military retirees age 62 and younger that had been cut. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md. Obama has signed a bill Saturday that allows the government to borrow money to pay its debts and a separate measure that restores benefits for military retirees age 62 and younger that had been cut. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) - President Barack Obama on Saturday signed separate measures into law to lift the federal debt limit and restore benefits that had been cut for younger military retirees.

Obama signed the bills during a weekend golf vacation in Southern California.

The debt limit measure allows the government to borrow money to pay its bills, such as Social Security benefits and federal salaries. Failure to pass the measure, which the Senate passed 67-31 earlier this week and sent to Obama for his signature, most likely would have sent the stock market into a nosedive.

The Treasury Department is now free to borrow regularly through March 15, 2015, meaning lawmakers won't have to revisit the issue until a new Congress is sworn in after the November elections.

Separate legislation passed in December would have held annual cost-of-living increases for veterans age 62 and younger to 1 percentage point below the rate of inflation, beginning in 2015. The measure was designed to hold the line on the soaring cost of government benefit programs, which have largely escaped trillions of dollars in deficit cuts over the past three years.

The cuts were enacted less than two months ago, with a projected savings to the government of $7 billion over a decade. Veterans groups and some lawmakers said the cut was a mistake, and they began campaigning to have the benefits restored.

The pensions go to veterans who retire after 20 years of service, regardless of their age. Nearly 2 million retirees currently are eligible, including about 840,000 under age 62, according to the Pentagon.

For a sergeant first class who leaves the service at age 42 after two decades, the bill passed in December would have meant an estimated $72,000 in reduced pension payments.

Quick action by lawmakers on this year's debt limit bill stands in contrast to lengthy showdowns in 2012 and last fall, when Republicans sought to use the must-pass bill as leverage to win concessions from Obama. They succeeded in 2011, winning about $2 trillion in spending cuts. But Obama has been unwilling to negotiate over the debt limit since his re-election in 2012.

The bill he signed Saturday is the third consecutive debt measure to pass Congress without concessions from the White House.

Republicans also have been less confrontational since a 16-day partial government shutdown last October sent the party's poll numbers skidding.

Both bills were flown out to Obama in California late Friday night, a White House aide said.

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Comments » 49

OnTheOutside writes:

Nice to see the Party of No is starting to get the idea that they need to do what is right otherwise become irrelevant.

waynes-world writes:

No point in fighting it, I hope our kids will forgive us for handing them this debt. Democrats won, more spending more borrowed money, congrats.

Luvee writes:

This whole thing is ludicrous, when does the madness stop. We're broke,doesn't anybody get it anymore?

waynes-world writes:

in response to Luvee:

This whole thing is ludicrous, when does the madness stop. We're broke,doesn't anybody get it anymore?

They don't think we're broke, hang on to your wallet, they are coming after it, more tax increases on the way.

Luvee writes:

Heck, I lost my wallet a long time ago.

Mina writes:

It's interesting that congress was willing to cut retirement benefits to veterans but still haven't addressed subsidies to big oil.

http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/arti...

Mina writes:

In many ways the gulf wars which we will be paying off for years to come, are subsidies to the oil industry, too.

Mina writes:

Remember when George Bush promised the big tax cut for the rich that was supposed to spur the economy? That's why we have all this debt today.

But the tax cut didn't energize the economy, it choked it. The stock market started to fall the day the election results became clear. The economy hasn't recovered yet because we haven't put back in place what was working in the 90's.

The tax cut was simply the Republicans promising something for nothing.

Mina writes:

You can't pay off debt by cutting taxes.

The only way to prevent our kids and grand kids from having to pay off this debt is if we do the right thing and pay it off ourselves.

waynes-world writes:

in response to Mina:

You can't pay off debt by cutting taxes.

The only way to prevent our kids and grand kids from having to pay off this debt is if we do the right thing and pay it off ourselves.

Taxes have been raised, you can't pay off debt when you are continually increasing it.

Mina writes:

The most important thing we can do to cut our spending is to stop starting wars.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

It's interesting that congress was willing to cut retirement benefits to veterans but still haven't addressed subsidies to big oil.

http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/arti...

You fail to mention the Obama administration subsidies to solar and wind energy that has failed miserably. Obama 100's of millions of tax payers dollars loans to solar energy companies that have went belly up and left the tax payers with the bill.

Mina writes:

If congress doesn't have the guts to face up to the lobbyists and cut the things we don't need, don't blame the president for protecting the things we do need.

Bush had the white house for 8 years and all he did was start wars, undermine home ownership and run up the debt.

There's no way to get out of this recession until we fix what Bush broke, and there's no way to do that until we elect a congress willing to do what's right.

Mina writes:

In addition to all the money the Republicans in congress wasted in 40-something attempts to repeal Obamacare and the on the endless parade of ridiculous, trumped up "scandals", and the taxpayer money they wasted doing nothing but accepting pay, here is a nice article about how the radical right wing Sheriff Joe Arpaio wasted millions of taxpayer dollars generating court cases for the people of Arizona to pay off.

http://www.vcstar.com/news/2014/jan/2...

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

Remember when George Bush promised the big tax cut for the rich that was supposed to spur the economy? That's why we have all this debt today.

But the tax cut didn't energize the economy, it choked it. The stock market started to fall the day the election results became clear. The economy hasn't recovered yet because we haven't put back in place what was working in the 90's.

The tax cut was simply the Republicans promising something for nothing.

What is it we need to put back in place that was working in the 90's ?

waynes-world writes:

in response to Mina:

If congress doesn't have the guts to face up to the lobbyists and cut the things we don't need, don't blame the president for protecting the things we do need.

Bush had the white house for 8 years and all he did was start wars, undermine home ownership and run up the debt.

There's no way to get out of this recession until we fix what Bush broke, and there's no way to do that until we elect a congress willing to do what's right.

Will you EVER stop Blaming Bush? I thought he purpose of new leadership was to improve conditions from the prior administration, not whine and blame for five years.

Mina writes:

in response to CICondors:

You fail to mention the Obama administration subsidies to solar and wind energy that has failed miserably. Obama 100's of millions of tax payers dollars loans to solar energy companies that have went belly up and left the tax payers with the bill.

Can you site some sources for your numbers?

clares writes:

in response to waynes-world:

No point in fighting it, I hope our kids will forgive us for handing them this debt. Democrats won, more spending more borrowed money, congrats.

Dear, were you fighting it when Ronnie and Bush were shoving up the debt ceiling?

Mina writes:

in response to CICondors:

What is it we need to put back in place that was working in the 90's ?

Taxes and banking regulation, mostly.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

In addition to all the money the Republicans in congress wasted in 40-something attempts to repeal Obamacare and the on the endless parade of ridiculous, trumped up "scandals", and the taxpayer money they wasted doing nothing but accepting pay, here is a nice article about how the radical right wing Sheriff Joe Arpaio wasted millions of taxpayer dollars generating court cases for the people of Arizona to pay off.

http://www.vcstar.com/news/2014/jan/2...

How does that link possibly relate to the topic "Obama signs debt ceiling measure into law " ?

BigZ writes:

Mina,
We didn't START the wars. We finished them. You might want to google 9-11, Hitler, or even Pearl Harbor. Do a little reading. That might get you up to speed on things! And every time you go to the gas station and fill up you're SUV, be thankful (for the Big Oil subsidies) that you're only paying $3.89 a gallon.

Mina writes:

in response to waynes-world:

Will you EVER stop Blaming Bush? I thought he purpose of new leadership was to improve conditions from the prior administration, not whine and blame for five years.

When we elect a congress willing to fix what Bush broke I'll be happy.

Yes the purpose of new leadership is to improve conditions, but the Republicans in congress refuse to allow it - that's why most of America is so angry at them.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

Taxes and banking regulation, mostly.

What taxes? What banking regulations?

Mina writes:

in response to BigZ:

Mina,
We didn't START the wars. We finished them. You might want to google 9-11, Hitler, or even Pearl Harbor. Do a little reading. That might get you up to speed on things! And every time you go to the gas station and fill up you're SUV, be thankful (for the Big Oil subsidies) that you're only paying $3.89 a gallon.

If we finished them, how come we're still fighting them?

By the way, using tax dollars to keep oil prices artificially low only encourages people to waste precious limited resources. It forces all of us to subsidize the people who waste gas and pollute our earth like it's their's alone.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

Can you site some sources for your numbers?

The companies -- and what became of taxpayer money -- are as follows:

A123: The battery maker received a $249 million Department of Energy stimulus grant to build two factories in Michigan to manufacture batteries for electric cars.

The company drew down $132 million of that grant, and the factories are up and running, according to the DOE.

As part of A123's bankruptcy announced earlier this week, the factories were sold to Johnson Controls (JCI, Fortune 500), which is expected to keep them open. Since the investment was a grant, the government got no money back. It's unclear whether Johnson will be eligible to draw down the remaining grant funds.

Abound Solar: The manufacturer of thin-film solar panels received a $400 million DOE stimulus loan guarantee to build two factories -- one outside Kokomo, Indiana and another outside of Denver.

Abound drew down $70 million of the grant to build the Denver factory. Abound declared bankruptcy in June amid strong competition and the collapsing price of solar panels.

Its assets are being auctioned off, and DOE is expected to lose to $40 to $60 million on the deal.

Beacon Power: The company received a $43 million DOE stimulus loan guarantee to build a facility in upstate New York that uses flywheels to store extra energy from the power grid, and then release it when needed. Such technology is seen as essential to integrate wind and solar into the grid, as those sources don't produce energy 24/7.

The company spent $39 million to build the project, which consists of wheels inside vacuum tubes that can spin at near perpetual motion. Beacon went bankrupt amid low prices for natural gas, which can be burned to produce electricity.

And there are many more too numerous to list here.

Mina writes:

in response to waynes-world:

Taxes have been raised, you can't pay off debt when you are continually increasing it.

Where do you think the money to pay off the national debt will come from?

Even if we cut all other spending to zero, the debt will continue to mount until we raise the money to pay it off.

The longer we take to pay it, the more we'll have paid for it.

Mina writes:

in response to CICondors:

The companies -- and what became of taxpayer money -- are as follows:

A123: The battery maker received a $249 million Department of Energy stimulus grant to build two factories in Michigan to manufacture batteries for electric cars.

The company drew down $132 million of that grant, and the factories are up and running, according to the DOE.

As part of A123's bankruptcy announced earlier this week, the factories were sold to Johnson Controls (JCI, Fortune 500), which is expected to keep them open. Since the investment was a grant, the government got no money back. It's unclear whether Johnson will be eligible to draw down the remaining grant funds.

Abound Solar: The manufacturer of thin-film solar panels received a $400 million DOE stimulus loan guarantee to build two factories -- one outside Kokomo, Indiana and another outside of Denver.

Abound drew down $70 million of the grant to build the Denver factory. Abound declared bankruptcy in June amid strong competition and the collapsing price of solar panels.

Its assets are being auctioned off, and DOE is expected to lose to $40 to $60 million on the deal.

Beacon Power: The company received a $43 million DOE stimulus loan guarantee to build a facility in upstate New York that uses flywheels to store extra energy from the power grid, and then release it when needed. Such technology is seen as essential to integrate wind and solar into the grid, as those sources don't produce energy 24/7.

The company spent $39 million to build the project, which consists of wheels inside vacuum tubes that can spin at near perpetual motion. Beacon went bankrupt amid low prices for natural gas, which can be burned to produce electricity.

And there are many more too numerous to list here.

That's still a lot less money than a war.

Besides, the Republicans need to understand the difference between helping to get an important industry started and allowing a well established industry to bilk Americans for their cost of doing business.

waynes-world writes:

in response to clares:

Dear, were you fighting it when Ronnie and Bush were shoving up the debt ceiling?

Yes

Traditional-2 writes:

in response to CICondors:

The companies -- and what became of taxpayer money -- are as follows:

A123: The battery maker received a $249 million Department of Energy stimulus grant to build two factories in Michigan to manufacture batteries for electric cars.

The company drew down $132 million of that grant, and the factories are up and running, according to the DOE.

As part of A123's bankruptcy announced earlier this week, the factories were sold to Johnson Controls (JCI, Fortune 500), which is expected to keep them open. Since the investment was a grant, the government got no money back. It's unclear whether Johnson will be eligible to draw down the remaining grant funds.

Abound Solar: The manufacturer of thin-film solar panels received a $400 million DOE stimulus loan guarantee to build two factories -- one outside Kokomo, Indiana and another outside of Denver.

Abound drew down $70 million of the grant to build the Denver factory. Abound declared bankruptcy in June amid strong competition and the collapsing price of solar panels.

Its assets are being auctioned off, and DOE is expected to lose to $40 to $60 million on the deal.

Beacon Power: The company received a $43 million DOE stimulus loan guarantee to build a facility in upstate New York that uses flywheels to store extra energy from the power grid, and then release it when needed. Such technology is seen as essential to integrate wind and solar into the grid, as those sources don't produce energy 24/7.

The company spent $39 million to build the project, which consists of wheels inside vacuum tubes that can spin at near perpetual motion. Beacon went bankrupt amid low prices for natural gas, which can be burned to produce electricity.

And there are many more too numerous to list here.

Solendra alone was half a billion.

We have had this discussion several times over the past year. Mina, why do you keep denying?

waynes-world writes:

in response to Mina:

Where do you think the money to pay off the national debt will come from?

Even if we cut all other spending to zero, the debt will continue to mount until we raise the money to pay it off.

The longer we take to pay it, the more we'll have paid for it.

Who do you think you can tax enough to pay for it all? The " rich"? Hate to tell you, there aren't enough rich to tax.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

That's still a lot less money than a war.

Besides, the Republicans need to understand the difference between helping to get an important industry started and allowing a well established industry to bilk Americans for their cost of doing business.

??????

ms_reason writes:

Stop funding illegals and their kids, close the borders and save money that way.

jjohnjj writes:

Cherry picking. The losses incurred by failures in the DOE "green stimulus" program are pocket change. As a percentage of the entire program, they have amounted to less than losses regularly incurred by private venture capital in the tech sector.

re: Our grandchildren. I recall that when the Berlin Wall fell, conservatives claimed that our grandchildren would gratefully pay off the massive debt incurred by Reagan, because his budget-busting arms race had delivered a "safer world" to them.

Since we have no intention of leaving one drop of oil in the ground for the little tykes, the least we can do is build a renewable energy grid for them.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

Where do you think the money to pay off the national debt will come from?

Even if we cut all other spending to zero, the debt will continue to mount until we raise the money to pay it off.

The longer we take to pay it, the more we'll have paid for it.

To address your comment "Where do you think the money to pay off the national debt will come from ?

You could do yourself a great service if you just inform yourself on the relation of the GDP to the national debt and how increasing the GDP reduces the national debt.
Also ,over a third of the national debt is held by foreign countries.
The U.S. Pays over 400 billion USD a year in interest to foreign countries to sevice the debt.

livingthedream writes:

What is needed is a strong County Clerk!

We need one who isn't afraid to bring brand new ideas to the position.

One who understands the intricate workings of all things.

One who will blindly support the President, and take his calls for advice.

We need a person who will forget that Dems also voted for the wars that we have fought, and are fighting, in retaliation for the attacks of 9/11.

We need a person who will forget that Dems were in power in both houses of Congress for Bush's last two years, and Obama's first two years, but did nothing constructive.

Where, oh where, will we ever find such a rocket scientist? How quickly can I find a place to cast my vote for that person?

Mina writes:

in response to ms_reason:

Stop funding illegals and their kids, close the borders and save money that way.

Actually the immigration mess it another really good example of the Republicans waste of taxpayer money.

They want to spend billions building a big wall and hiring armed security - where is the money going to come from to pay for all that?

Where is the money going to come from to find all these people, detain them, deport them, and then find them again when they come right back?

Are you going to cut veterans benefits some more to pay for it all?

Mina writes:

Why do the Republicans insist that we need Big Government to regulate the flow of people and resources across the borders?

Why can't they just allow business to hire the resources they need without fear that the INS will come take their employees and fine them for hiring people without permission from Big Brother.

Mina writes:

in response to CICondors:

To address your comment "Where do you think the money to pay off the national debt will come from ?

You could do yourself a great service if you just inform yourself on the relation of the GDP to the national debt and how increasing the GDP reduces the national debt.
Also ,over a third of the national debt is held by foreign countries.
The U.S. Pays over 400 billion USD a year in interest to foreign countries to sevice the debt.

No, simply increasing the Gross Domestic Product does nothing to pay off the debt.

The GDP could triple and it would not help pay down the debt until we actually raise the funds needed and apply them to the debt.

From the moment America fell for Bush's something for nothing lie the debt started climbing and it won't stop until we grow up and start acting responsibly.

bionox writes:

I gladly support government investment in alternative energy sources. I strongly oppose government support of the hydrocarbon industries.

The time to be building a new power grid is now, while there is still enough hydrocarbons to tide us over during the transition to "green" energy. Anyone except the most oil-besotted sycophant would agree that this is the path our nation must travel to free ourselves of engaging with awful oil-producing nations who are anathema to so many of our democratic traditions.

Enough American blood for oil! Tidal, wind, geothermal, hydro-electric, bio-mass, gravity, solar, conservative flatulence . . . the alternatives are many. End our addiction to Big Oil now!

Piru_T writes:

in response to Mina:

Actually the immigration mess it another really good example of the Republicans waste of taxpayer money.

They want to spend billions building a big wall and hiring armed security - where is the money going to come from to pay for all that?

Where is the money going to come from to find all these people, detain them, deport them, and then find them again when they come right back?

Are you going to cut veterans benefits some more to pay for it all?

I am getting sick of the one after another post that is nothing but an ongoing cheesy campaign, I hope some of Pete's staff take the time to rebut your anti-American stance on immigration and your lack of knowledge on the Constitution of The United States of America.

The first order of responsibility of President is to gaurd our borders from foreign invasion, and this is what is at issue.

I would rather spend Billions of dollars on preventing non Americans or folks who do not have the right or permission to be in this country, than spend Trillions of dollars caring for them when they are here.

In regards to the topic, the debt ceiling, it amazes me that someone like Obama who attacked Bush 43 on the campaign trail over and over about raising the debt limit, has himself far exceeded Bush's debt in less time, and blaming Bush is no longer a viable excuse, this is debt that is brought to us by the Democrat Party and will bought and paid for at the expense of our great grandchildren's children.

This is more of the same hypocrisy made famous by the American Left.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

No, simply increasing the Gross Domestic Product does nothing to pay off the debt.

The GDP could triple and it would not help pay down the debt until we actually raise the funds needed and apply them to the debt.

From the moment America fell for Bush's something for nothing lie the debt started climbing and it won't stop until we grow up and start acting responsibly.

Obviously that is your view.
Tripling the GDP most certainly would provide the tax base to raise the money to pay down the national debt.The more money people make,the more taxes they pay. That applies to the GDP as well, The higher the GDP ,more tax revenue.
If the ratio of national debt to GDP goes up to high , it lowers the U.S borrowing power and credibility and increases the interest on loans, bonds and government securities.

It also has a relation to inflation,but that is another issue.

Luvee writes:

in response to livingthedream:

What is needed is a strong County Clerk!

We need one who isn't afraid to bring brand new ideas to the position.

One who understands the intricate workings of all things.

One who will blindly support the President, and take his calls for advice.

We need a person who will forget that Dems also voted for the wars that we have fought, and are fighting, in retaliation for the attacks of 9/11.

We need a person who will forget that Dems were in power in both houses of Congress for Bush's last two years, and Obama's first two years, but did nothing constructive.

Where, oh where, will we ever find such a rocket scientist? How quickly can I find a place to cast my vote for that person?

Vote for Lunn, he'll get the job done!
(no pun intended)

HearMeOut-Thanks writes:

in response to Mina:

It's interesting that congress was willing to cut retirement benefits to veterans but still haven't addressed subsidies to big oil.

http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/arti...

Hey Mina, when will you turn in your car keys, shut off your natural gas, turn off your electricity (power plants run by oil or coal)? When will you give up using anything that is made using oil as a by product....computers...shoes...toasters...just about everything you use daily. You would do us all a favor to give everything up and go live in a cave with a fig leaf covering your private body parts. Then you might be more reasonable.

HearMeOut-Thanks writes:

in response to Mina:

The most important thing we can do to cut our spending is to stop starting wars.

Tell that to the Muslims Mina, who continually want to perpetrates violent acts against the USA and the rest of the world. Who do you suggest should protect us from the "religion of peace?" -- A daisy and singing Kumbaya to the Islamic terrorists? As usual, ant brain thinking brought to you by Mina.

HearMeOut-Thanks writes:

in response to waynes-world:

Will you EVER stop Blaming Bush? I thought he purpose of new leadership was to improve conditions from the prior administration, not whine and blame for five years.

Hey ant brain: Islam started the wars because they and their supporters perpetrated 9-11-01. And the legislation of Dodd-Frank helped to bring down the housing market. Leftist-liberal, socialist Democrat communists are the folks ruining this country because of their ant brain followers who have no clue and rely of radical leftist-liberal, socialist-Marxist organizations for their citations.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

That's still a lot less money than a war.

Besides, the Republicans need to understand the difference between helping to get an important industry started and allowing a well established industry to bilk Americans for their cost of doing business.

You are right, Obviously the democrats do not know the difference between helping important industry and billing the tax payers for the Democrats inept business policies .Every time Obama meddled in economic affairs it has been a failure Obama sure is clueless on economic policies.
It does not go unnoticed when Obama continued the Bush administration economic and unemployment policies,the economy turned around and recovered very nicely.

CICondors writes:

in response to Mina:

Where do you think the money to pay off the national debt will come from?

Even if we cut all other spending to zero, the debt will continue to mount until we raise the money to pay it off.

The longer we take to pay it, the more we'll have paid for it.

Good question.
Where do you think the money to pay off the national debt will come from?

TheRevWillyD writes:

in response to Mina:

Remember when George Bush promised the big tax cut for the rich that was supposed to spur the economy? That's why we have all this debt today.

But the tax cut didn't energize the economy, it choked it. The stock market started to fall the day the election results became clear. The economy hasn't recovered yet because we haven't put back in place what was working in the 90's.

The tax cut was simply the Republicans promising something for nothing.

Which election was that? 2004? 2006 when Dems took both houses and Pelosi said "we're gonna drain the swamp". And presided over the collapse and the non recovery.
2008 election when Obama dumped his financial team and replaced them with Wall Street crooks?
2010 when house went back to republicans and market actually turned around?
Pick one.

TheRevWillyD writes:

in response to Mina:

Why do the Republicans insist that we need Big Government to regulate the flow of people and resources across the borders?

Why can't they just allow business to hire the resources they need without fear that the INS will come take their employees and fine them for hiring people without permission from Big Brother.

Allow business to hire? We have plenty of lesser skilled, what we also have plenty of is unwilling to work.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/c...
What we need is to incentivize them to work. AKA, kick them off the dole, kick the illegals out, give the 'unwilling' a reason to work.

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