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Senate Nears Shutdown, Default Deal Though Hurdles Remain

Reid: “We are not there yet, but tremendous progress. And everyone just needs to be patient. Perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day.”

by
Bill Straub

Bio

October 14, 2013 - 9:16 pm
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But Reid held out for, and succeeded in getting, a January deadline. Congressional Democrats have been hoping to negate the impact of sequestration, substantial budget cuts in both domestic and defense programs as called for in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The next round of sequestration cuts – amounting to $20 billion — are scheduled to take effect in January. Reid wants ample time to address the sequestration issue – longer than six weeks – but adopting the Collins proposal probably would have seen the cuts implemented before a budget deal could be reached, rendering it almost impossible to change course.

Still, it remains unclear if any deal reached in the Senate will be embraced by the Republican-controlled House, which has taken a much harder line than its Senate brethren in pushing for concessions in return for their support of a continuing resolution and a debt ceiling hike. The task of coming up with a plan was only left to the Senate when the House and Obama were unable to strike a bargain after several fitful attempts.

Should an agreement be reached in the Senate and a bill passed on to the lower chamber, the focus will immediately shift to Boehner who ultimately will decide how the package should be addressed.

Boehner has frequently maintained that a bill that doesn’t provide Republicans with some dispensation – lower spending levels, significant changes in Obamacare – will not make it through the House. He has instituted what is familiarly known as the Hastert rule after former House Speaker Denny Hastert, an Illinois Republican – only legislation that attracts the majority of the GOP caucus will be considered on the floor.

House Republicans won’t conduct a whip count until the Senate finalizes its package but it’s likely to attract more Democratic than Republican votes in the lower chamber. It will be left up to Boehner on how to proceed – he can, among other things, quickly bring it to the floor for a vote, amend it and send it back to the Senate or reject it and call for a time-consuming conference committee.

If he ditches the Hastert rule, which likely would expedite the process, the speaker will almost assuredly feel heat from his right flank with some Tea Party lawmakers calling for his ouster.

Initially House Republicans demanded a defunding of Obamacare in return for their support of a continuing resolution. The White House and Reid balked, leading to a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1 – the beginning of the new federal fiscal year.

Over the intervening days, the GOP has shifted tactics, first altering their ultimatum by simply seeking as year-long postponement of the healthcare law’s implementation. That also was rejected by Obama. Ultimately, the House abandoned its attack on the Affordable Care Act, completely, instead pushing for additional spending cuts. To this point their requests have fallen on deaf Democratic ears.

A vote in the Senate could be delayed if enough lawmakers get in the way, forming a filibuster to block a tally. Lawmakers will need 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to proceed. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has led the fight to defund Obamacare and seek additional White House concessions, hasn’t disclosed how he intends to proceed.

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Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Who's going to be the new Speaker, 'cause this one is toast?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Too bad Obama, while at that food bank, wasn't able to keep all of the baloney within the slices of bread.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If the congress and autopilot entitlements spent less money they wouldn't need to increase the debt limit from one insane level to another even more insane level. Maybe they could start by suspending all the automatic increases built into the budget. If present trends continue, the dollar will die, taking down most of the world economy with it. Government spending will be reduced one way or another, but I would prefer planned reductions to a crash.

There are many near-term opportunities for voters to sent a message in special elections and primaries. http://www.politics1.com/calendar.htm
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OMFG! You mean scrap the Baseline?
You want kids to die, don't you?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Used to be that the definition of a good deal was where both parties thought they screwed the other guy.

Now, the republicans have changed that to mean, "I got screwed and I liked it".

It's a very curious phenomenon....especially when Boehner & Co. ® trot out how "proud" they are of their "achievement" and how "both sides worked very hard" and blah, blah blabbidy blah blah.

(vomit)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>> The agreement will also make a few minor changes to the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare ......

No, we didn't send new blood to Congress to 'tweak' Obamacare.

I don't (won't) trust any deal hammered out by both wings of the establishment party. We've been screwed long enough already.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Commander Zero gave the unions a waiver on their participation in 0care. Part of that was leaving in place their "cadillac healthcare plan." 0care calls for a tax on those plans, in this case, $63 annually. That is what is being lifted in the Senate version of the debt ceiling bill. I, for one, say no. On the other hand, give the GOP the reversal of the medical device tax and then the union can have its sop.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Time for Common Sense!

Your college kids comes home to tell you that he has exceeded the $17,000 credit limit on the credit card. What do you do?
1. Increase his credit line to $20,000 and do his laundry?
2. Increase his credit line and tell him to taper his spending habits?
3. Sit him down. Cut the credit card in half. Put him on a plan that cuts spending so he can payoff the $17,000?

If you are a liberal and the lap dog dumb ass media you opt for either 1 or 2 . Most rational people will go for 3.

Too bad our country of drones and wack jobs cannot figure this out. Until we do figure it out we will remain on the road to serfdom. It ain't looking too good right now folks.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We have to pass the bill, to see how much it costs!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Whatever these creeps agree to can not be good for any Americans other than the parasites.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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