House GOP floats second shutdown, debt-limit plan as Senate waits
House Republicans will propose a fiscal plan that funds the government
until Dec. 15 and increases the debt limit until Feb. 7, and could vote
on the new proposal as early as today, a senior GOP leadership aide
In exchange for ending the partial government shutdown and raising the
debt limit, the plan would eliminate the Treasury Department's ability
to use "extraordinary measures" to temporarily extend the debt limit,
and it would prevent congressional and administration staff from
receiving government subsidies for health insurance on the exchanges.
This new iteration of the House Republican plan departs from the Senate
proposal under consideration by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell because it moves up by one month
the date though which the government would be funded and it includes a
proposal that could amount to a significant pay cut to members, their
staff and administration staff.
But the House GOP plan also does not delay or repeal the medical device
tax, a provision in President Obama's health care law that Democrats
want to preserve.
House GOP leaders are struggling to settle on a plan to open the federal
government and raise the country's debt ceiling that would placate the
most conservative members of their rank and file, while Senate leaders
grow increasingly concerned that the House's latest actions could stymie
a bipartisan agreement they are close to brokering to end the standoff.
Republicans in the House initially aimed to build off the work of Senate
leaders, but adding new sweeteners to their own plan that could help
more conservative members get on board with a compromise.
Earlier this morning, the House proposed a plan that would make more
changes to Obama's health care law, including a delay in a tax on
medical devices and a provision that would force members of Congress,
their staff and cabinet members to get their health insurance from
exchanges without government subsidies.
But even before the details of the plan emerged, the White House
signaled that President Obama would reject it. And it was unclear
whether it even had enough Republican support for passage in the House.
House Republicans, amid the challenge of pushing Democrats for more
concessions in a compromise deal, began their 9 meeting today by singing
the hymn "Amazing Grace" to "strengthen their resolve," according to a senior GOP aide.
After that meeting with rank and file, which lasted nearly two hours,
House Speaker John Boehner said there have been "no decisions" about how
the House would move forward.
"There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go," Boehner told
reporters this morning. "But we are going to continue to work with our
members on both sides of the aisle to try to make sure there is no issue
of default and we get our government reopened."
Meanwhile, Reid, D-Nev., and McConnell, R-Ky., who have worked through
the weekend and into this week hammering out the details of a potential
compromise, met at the start of the day this morning behind closed
After the meeting, Reid said on the Senate floor that the talks have
been "productive" and he is "confident" a deal will be struck this week.
But after details of the House plan emerged, Reid angrily denounced it on the Senate floor.
As the House's first plan today, the White House rejected it as a "ransom" demand.
"The President has said repeatedly that Members of Congress don't get to
demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a
budget and pay the nation's bills," White House spokesman Amy Brundage
said this morning.
"Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just
that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party
Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place."
Brundage also signaled that the White House remains supportive of the
direction that negotiations between Republicans and Democrats are going.
The two chambers would need to reconcile any differences before the Oct.
17 deadline in order to avoid reaching the debt ceiling.
The White House indefinitely put off a meeting with congressional
leaders at the White House Monday afternoon to give lawmakers more time
to hammer out the details of a compromise.
The move was viewed as a positive sign that an end to the government
shutdown that has so far lasted 15 days is near. And a deal would also
raise the debt limit by the Thursday deadline.
The broad contours of the Senate compromise include funding the government until Jan. 15 and raising the debt limit through February 7.
Though those terms would take these debates largely off the table though
the holiday season, it would only kick the can down the road.
Eventually, lawmakers will face a similar need to both extend funding
for the government and raise the debt ceiling in 2014.
The deal could also include some provisions that address the president's
health care law, but the negotiations notably exclude any of the
demands Republicans initially made to either defund or delay the law's
The Senate is still considering including income verification for people
eligible for health care subsidies, a provision some House Republicans
But both the House and Senate proposals represent an about-face for
Republicans who have been saddled in public polling with an overwhelming
majority of the blame for the shutdown. And it is unlikely to please
Tea Party conservatives who still insist that significant alterations to
the Affordable Care Act must be part of any budget deal.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., slammed the House GOP
plan, suggesting that not even that plan has enough votes among
Republicans for it to pass in the House.
This Republican strategy of sabotaging any effort to move forward is a luxury our country cannot afford," Pelosi said today.
Monday night as Senate leadership left the Capitol optimistic about
progress that had been made in negotiations, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who
led the Tea Party charge in the Senate, met with nearly two dozen House
Republicans at a popular Capitol Hill hangout, Tortilla Coast, to
strategize how they would respond to the emerging deals.
Cruz's office confirmed to ABC News that he attended the meeting but would not say what was discussed.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll Monday found that dissatisfaction with
the party is accelerating. Seventy-four percent of Americans disapprove
of the Republicans' handling of the budget crisis, compared with 63
percent two weeks ago and 70 percent last week.
The numbers in other polls have also been frighteningly bleak for Republicans. A Thursday NBC/Wall Street Journal poll gave
the Republican Party the worst approval numbers in the poll's history.
And it found that support for Obama's health care law has improved since
Oct. 1, when people could go online to sign up for insurance coverage.
"It's a plan to advance an extreme piece of legislation, and it's
nothing more than a blatant attack on bipartisanship," Reid said. "In
the past several days, we've been engaged in productive bipartisan
negotiations in the Senate. Everyone knows that."
"Everyone needs to know that the measures under discussion in the House
is no part of what we've negotiated here in the Senate," he added.
Talks between Reid and McConnell are now on hold because of the House
GOP proposal, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said. Several Republican
senators now say they will wait to see exactly what the House produces.
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