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Boehner, Reid Make Poor Mathemeticians

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) made some math mistakes in their budgets -- it turned out Boehner's spending cuts were only $850 billion instead of a promised $1.2 trillion, and Reid's were only $2.2 trillion after a propsed $2.7 trillion.

The Congressional Budget Office posted letters on its Web site Wednesday addressed to Boehner and Reid that announced miscalculations it found from their proposed measures.

House Speaker John Boehner

"CBO estimates that the [Boehner] legislation would reduce budget deficits by about $850 billion between 2012 and 2021," Douglas W. Elmendorf, the director of CBO, said in a letter. "The [Reid] legislation would reduce budget deficits by about $2.2 trillion."

Errors by House Republicans and Senate Democrats shouldn't impede progress to reach the Aug. 2 deadline, but they didn't position Congress to pass anything on Wednesday.

The debt-ceiling debate has transcended politics on Capitol Hill. Republican presidential nominees have weighed in.

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman emerged from the Republican field on Monday to support Boehner's plan.

"[Boehner's plan] is in line with the principles I have laid out since the beginning of this debate: cuts commensurate with any increase in the debt ceiling, tangible steps towards a balanced budget amendment, and no tax increases," Huntsman said in a statment.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty offered a bleaker assessment late Tuesday of the Boehner bill: "I am for the plan that will cut spending, cap it, and pass a balanced budget amendment, but unfortunately this latest bill does not accomplish that."

It seems like most everybody wants to have a voice as the United States government draws closer to a potential default, but it's the politicians in Washington who have to get it right. At least the CBO has offered to help.

"I hope this information is useful to you," CBO Director Elmendorf wrote to Boehner and Reid. "If you wish further details on this analysis, we will be pleased to provide them."

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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