Politics

October 12, 2013

Republicans offer proposals to end shutdown, no resolution yet

They still demand changes to Obamacare and cuts in benefit programs in exchange for reopening the government and not defaulting on payments, which Democrats have previously rejected as extortion.

By David Espo
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, talks with reporters after arriving on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday following a meeting between Republican senators and President Obama at the White House on the ongoing budget battle.

The Associated Press

click image to enlarge

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, center, talks with, from left, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen.. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R- Alaska, and Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Friday. Republicans are offering to pass legislation to avert a default and end the 11-day partial government shutdown as part of a framework that would include cuts in benefit programs, officials said Friday.

The Associated Press

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

Obama met at the White House for more than an hour with Senate Republicans, the last in a series of four presidential sit-downs with the rank and file of each house and each party.

He has said repeatedly in recent weeks that he is willing to negotiate with Republicans on budget, health care or other issues, but only after the government is reopened and the threat of default eliminated.

The White House seemed to wobble on that point on Thursday, until Reid emphatically reinforced that it was his view, too.

Republicans have just as insistently demanded that Obama negotiate with them in exchange for passage of legislation that both sides agree is essential.

That left the White House and congressional leaders looking for a way to negotiate their way out of an impasse without appearing to negotiate — with the health of the nation’s economy dependent on their political dexterity. The administration says the government will bump up against its borrowing limit next Thursday, raising the specter of an unprecedented default.

At Obama’s meeting with Senate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine laid out a proposal to raise the debt limit until the end of January, reopen the government and take a slice out of the health care law.

Under a proposal she and other GOP senators have been developing, a medical device tax that helps finance the health care law would be repealed, and millions of individuals eligible for subsidies to purchase health insurance under the program would be subject to stronger income verification.

At the same time, federal agencies that have been affected by across-the-board cuts would gain greater flexibility in the use of their remaining funds.

Any other items could be negotiated later.

Back at the Capitol, Collins said Obama said the proposal “was constructive, but I don’t want to give the impression that he endorsed it.”

For their part, House Republicans previewed a different approach in a late-night meeting Thursday with White House officials.

It, too, would raise the debt limit and avoid a default, as part of a framework that could include easing the across-the-board cuts in exchange for reductions that Obama has supported in the past in benefit programs. That plan, too, seeks changes in Obamacare.

White House officials declined to comment on that proposal, although administration aides were checking with key Democrats in Congress to gauge their reaction.

The White House and Republicans have negotiated almost $4 trillion in deficit savings in the past three years. But little of that has come out of benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and the Republican proposals seemed an attempt to open up that part of the budget to scrutiny.

Obama has proposed raising the cost of Medicare for better-off seniors, a $50 billion item over a decade. He has also backed higher fees under TRICARE, which provides health care for nearly 10 million active-duty and retired military personnel, retirees, reservists and their families, as well as increases in the cost of retirement benefits for federal workers.

After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the 2013 federal budget shortfall is expected to register below $700 billion, but Republicans say more cuts are essential. At the same time, the nation’s debt is rising inexorably — the reason for the effort to raise borrowing limit to cover it. The debt was $10.6 trillion when Obama took office during the worst recession in decades, and has grown by $6.1 trillion in the years since.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, center, talks with Laura Dove, secretary for the minority of the Senate, ahead of a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Friday.

The Associated Press

click image to enlarge

 


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


Blogs

More PPH Blogs