With the world watching and the August 2 deadline approaching, the debt limit/deficit reduction debate headed into uncharted territory on July 25 with contrasting addresses to the nation by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

The President blamed congressional Republicans, called for compromise and asked the American people to call their legislators and demand a “balanced approach” to solving the crisis. While on one hand calling for tax increases as part of the solution, on the other the President embraced the Senate Democratic proposal, which would extend the debt limit through the end of 2012 without any tax increases.

Speaker Boehner blamed the President for changing his demands in negotiations, cited the need to halt the “spending binge” and outlined the House Republicans’ plan for a two-step process, which also does not include tax increases. Since Democrats have conceded their insistence that tax increases be included, the chief obstacle now appears to be the duration of the extension. The leaders of both chambers have signaled their opposition to the other chambers’ measure. Votes could occur on the plans as early as July 27.