Political clash expected soon over rising U.S. debt

The Miami Herald
By Rob Hotakainen
November 29, 2009

In the past, members of Congress never have been particularly eager to remind the public that they regularly vote to raise the ceiling on the national debt, which now exceeds $12 trillion [$12,000,000,000,000].

The debt has more than doubled since 2002, and in the last two years it’s been rising at a clip of more than $3.8 billion a day. Each U.S. citizen now has a share that’s estimated at more than $39,000. …

A bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators is threatening to vote against an increase in the debt limit unless Congress passes a new deficit-fighting plan.

“I will not vote for raising the debt limit without a vehicle to handle this. … This is our moment,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. …

Feinstein said it could be similar to the process for closing military bases, in which members must vote to take or leave the entire package. …