October 14, 2013

Lawmakers negotiating but no deal

Sen. Susan Collins hopes her plan will be part of an agreement to reopen the government and avoid a federal default.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is followed by reporters as she leaves a meeting of Senate Republicans regarding the government shutdown and debt ceiling on Capitol Hill in Washington on Saturday.

The Associated Press

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The six-point plan proposed by Collins and Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska would fund the federal government for another six months and extend the debt limit to Jan. 31, 2014.

The proposal also calls for delaying a 2.3 percent medical device tax included in Obamacare and giving federal agencies flexibility to implement the across-the-board budget cuts known as “sequestration.” But Democrats balked at the fact that the sequestration cuts – the result of a 2011 congressional impasse over the federal deficit – would stay in place during those six months.

Earlier Sunday, Klobuchar appeared alongside Collins on CNN’s Sunday morning news program, “State of the Union.”

Both expressed optimism that a deal was possible before Thursday, which is when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said his agency will have exhausted all measures to stay below the nation’s borrowing limit. After that, the federal government may not have enough cash to pay its bills and could default on its debts.

Collins said she was surprised that Reid had said the proposal she and others were offering was “not going to go anyplace.”

“I don’t know why he said it and I don’t think it was very constructive,” Collins told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “But the fact is that we have a responsibility to govern and we’re continuing to talk. And I am still hopeful that at least we sparked a dialogue that did not exist before we put out a plan.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Kevin Miller can be contacted at (207) 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinMillerDC

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