Can Washington strike a debt deal this month?

This Sunday's guests are Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee and Democrat Budget Committee member Senator Bill Nelson.

Today's jobs report has thrown fuel on the debt ceiling fire. Washington's political spin machine is in full gear after the Labor Department reported the economy added just 18,000 net new jobs in June, the fewest in nine months, and the unemployment rate rose for the third straight month to 9.2 percent.

"Today's report is more evidence that the misguided 'stimulus' spending binge, excessive regulations, and an overwhelming national debt continue to hold back private-sector job creation in our country," House Speaker John Boehner said in a prepared statement.

"Legislation that raises taxes on small business job creators, fails to cut spending by a larger amount than a debt limit hike, or fails to restrain future spending will only make things worse - and won't pass the House," he wrote.

But not everyone agrees with that prescription. "These numbers are terrible, and they show that budget austerity is crippling the recovery," said Roger Hickey, co-director of the left leaning, Campaign for America's Future.

"After the worst recession since the Great Depression, the federal government made an effort to stimulate growth and to help state and local governments prevent layoffs, but after unrelenting conservative pressure, those recovery efforts were abandoned, and Republicans and the president turned to premature deficit reduction. These numbers show dramatically that this is not the time for additional budget cuts," he wrote.

With more than $14 trillion in debt and annual deficits north of $1 trillion, there is a consensus that the federal government has to curb spending. The question is by how much and how soon?

For months, Republicans have maintained that any increase in the nation's debt ceiling must be coupled coupled with significant spending cuts.

"I've said in every public and private utterance that our obligation is to raise the debt ceiling. But to raise the debt ceiling without dealing with the underlying problems is totally irresponsible," said Boehner on Face the Nation in May.

In the interview, Boehner hinted that there was an opportunity for a big debt reduction plan, one that he and President Obama now appear to be striving for.

"I am not going to walk away from this moment. We have a moment, a window of opportunity to act. Because if we don't act, the markets are going to act for us. Our creditors are going to act for us. And we could see exorbitant interest rates. We could see the end of our economy, if we don't act. And so I am committed to making sure that we have real reductions in spending and real changes to the budget process so this problem will never occur again," he said.

The time to act though is fast approaching. The Treasury Department has repeatedly warned of "catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis by raising the statutory debt limit in a timely manner." The administration as said August 2 is the day the government's ability to pay its bills ceases.

Even though that date is quickly approaching, the Obama administration has said the time for a deal is sometime in July so that the bills can be written and passed through Congress.

That's why the president called congressional leaders to the White House yesterday to begin to work on a debt deal and is bringing them back to the White House on Sunday. Mr. Obama said Thursday the two sides were still "far apart" on many issues, but expressed confidence in the ability to get a big deal done.

The deal could include cutting up to $4 trillion from the federal budget and the White House has hinted that cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would be on the table, but has insisted that any deal be balanced with new revenues, either from additional taxes on the wealthiest Americans or closing tax loopholes or both.

Finding that consensus has been the hard part. Democrats have vociferously opposed any cuts in benefits to Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans have opposed any tax increases with the same fervor.

After weeks of not getting anything done, can Washington forge the big deal in a short time? What will be in the deal? Will it be too much of a compromise to pass the Republican controlled House and the Democrat controlled Senate? And will curbing spending turn around the nation's bleak economic recovery and turn around the jobs numbers or will the cuts be too much too soon and threaten the fragile economic recovery?

Those will be among the issues discussed as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, Jeff Sessions and Senator Bill Nelson, sit down with Bob Schieffer to Face the Nation this Sunday.

  • Robert Hendin On Twitter»

    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

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