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Amid Grumbling From Both Sides, Senate Scheduled To Vote On Debt Deal

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks with reporters after the House voted to raise the debt ceiling.
Win McNamee
Getty Images
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks with reporters after the House voted to raise the debt ceiling.

After the House passed the debt ceiling deal with a surprising lopsided 269-161 vote, yesterday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill at noon, today. If it passes, it heads to the president's desk and with a signature the debt ceiling is immediately raised by $400 billion. And it would all happen just hours before the day the Treasury said the country would run out of money.

But as the dust settles from a contentious debate that lasted all spring in the House, it seems the plan left very few happy. It didn't take long before the thunderous applause that welcomed back Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), turned into the grousing. The Washington Post described the Democrats as "angry," because they viewed the plan as a Republican win.

And here the Post describes Republicans:

The debt plan prompted grumbling from some GOP defense hawks about proposed cuts to next year's Pentagon budget. But Monday's final hours were more notable for the cries from House liberals, who charged that the measure gave them little to support. Aside from potential military cuts, Democrats said the agreement calls on Republicans to sacrifice very few priorities, while asking Democrats to accept steep reductions in programs that benefit the middle class.

The Post's Ezra Klein, who writes about economics and leans left, wrote this morning that the deal is "a terrible, no-good, very bad deal:"

It's not just that Congress waited until the last minute, taking an unnecessary risk in a fragile economy. And it's not just that the tough decisions got punted once again. This is a bad bill at a time when the economy — and the American people — needed a good one. It's a bill that does too little now, and too little later, and it comes in lieu of an obvious, achievable solution that would have done better.

Bloomberg spoke to Peter Orzag, Obama's former budget director who had similar thoughts, saying the plan falls short of serious "long-term deficit savings" that the president and Republicans sought at first.

"The fundamental problem is that we are hyper-polarized, and that does not go away," Orszag told Bloomberg View. "This deal is not going to solve that."

As for the Tea Party, whose House caucus stood firm on their ideology and refused to vote yes on at least one plan solely crafted by their party — they're not happy either. Mark Meckler, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, talked to Der Spiegeland said that "we have compromised our way into disaster."

He added, "None of the budget plans proposed have real cuts in them — only promises to cut. The reality is that legally one Congress cannot bind the future Congress to cut, so these promises are actually a lie. We need real and immediate cuts."

Sen. Mark Waner (D-VA) told Bloomberg the bill doesn't solve the "core problem" of overhauling the tax code and reining in entitlements like Medicare, which drive the deficit.

Still when it comes up for a vote, he'll give the bill his support because "it helps us avoid default."

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.