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Debt limit plans of the day


House Speaker John Boehner’s two-step debt limit plan would raise the U.S. borrowing limit by up to $1 trillion and later by $1.6 trillion, Bloomberg reported, based on interviews with Republican Party aides.

The plan would require $1.2 trillion in spending cuts in the first phase and $1.8 trillion in the second step, the aides said. A committee would be created to identify spending cuts, one aide said, and Congress would vote later on a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, another aide said. Boehner was expected to present his plan to fellow House Republicans at a 2 p.m. Eastern Time closed-door meeting today.

The Obama administration and Boehner’s office exchanged charges of intransigence in talks aimed at averting a U.S. default on Aug. 2 and tackling the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt.

Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid readied his own proposal, which would hand Obama the full $2.4 trillion in additional borrowing authority he has requested — enough to last through the 2012 elections — tied to $2.7 trillion in spending cuts that would leave Medicare and Medicaid untouched, said a Senate Democratic aide. Reid intended to announce his plan this afternoon, one Democratic official said.

Boehner declined to comment on specifics of his plan before the meeting of his caucus. He has said the House must act by July 27, which under the House’s rules would require him to file legislation by tonight. The speaker laughed when asked if he advised people to buy gold.

Boehner’s office called Obama’s request for a longer-term extension “purely political and indefensible” in a blog posting.

White House press secretary Jay Carney responded to Boehner, saying Republicans risk “our economy by refusing to compromise” and that Boehner has “walked away twice from fair deals,” in a message sent out by Twitter.

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