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Massachusetts senators are standing by to vote if a proposal is agreed upon by the White House and leaders of both parties Sunday.
Both Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic Sen. John Kerry are ready to support Sen. Harry Reid’s bill. Brown is one of the few Republicans willing to do so.
Saturday night, Reid delayed a vote on his own debt ceiling package that had been set for 1 a.m. Sunday, as it was not clear that Reid had enough bipartisan support to get his bill past.
Brown says he’s ready to vote for a bill that cuts spending but doesn’t increase taxes and helps the country avoid default, regardless of which party puts forward the bill.
Kerry spoke very passionately on the Senate floor on Saturday, saying that even without a default the absence of a decision so close to the deadline is coming at a huge cost.
“I am convinced that there are plenty of people here that are willing to reach across the aisle and prove that the United States and the U.S. Senate can live up to this moment,” Kerry said.
Kerry is optimistic there will be a resolution in time to avoid a default. He added that lawmakers need to stop talking past each other and make a deal.
If Reid’s proposal makes it out of the Senate, it is clear that it will have the support of Massachusetts delegation in the House.
Yet in the meantime, the absence of a bill has lead to a review of the credit ratings around the state.
A statement from Moody’s Analytics said that Massachusetts and Virginia are the two states with the most local government affected if the debt ceiling is not increased. It placed dozens of local bond issuers in the state on review for a downgrade because they have high exposure to federal spending.
In reaction, a group of Massachusetts mayors wrote to Kerry to plead for protection.
Rep. Barney Frank said that Moody’s is acting foolishly to threaten to downgrade various communities in the state. He said the agency is trying to undo the excess leniency they had with the banks during the sub-prime mortgage crisis by being excessively rigid with the states now. He added that a downgrade could significantly hurt the Massachusetts economy.
This program aired on July 31, 2011.
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