Behind the Senate GOP's Plan to Deal With Obama and Reopen the Government

Posted: Oct 12, 2013 10:35 AM
Update: Politico is reporting that Senate Democrats will reject Sen. Susan Collins' bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government:

Democratic leaders in the Senate are rejecting an offer by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to end the budget impasse, arguing it asks for too much in return for too little, aides and senators tell POLITICO.

The Collins plan, which was drafted with input from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) and other senators, called for a six-month extension of government funding and a debt limit increase through January. But it asked for a delay in Obamacare’s medical device tax for two years and a requirement for income verification for Obamacare subsidies.

Original post follows:

Both chambers of Congress will meet today to discuss plans to end the debt ceiling and budget impasse and re-open the government. This comes at the end of a week in which the White House finally conceded that it would have to enter discussions with Republicans on how to pass these key pieces of legislation.

Republicans in the House, however, may feel they're getting a run-around. Republicans met this morning to discuss developing discussions between Senate politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, and the White House. If a deal comes out of the Senate, Republicans may feel backed into a corner.

National Review's Jonathan Strong reported that Rep. Paul Ryan said that Senate Republicans are "undermining" the House, while David Drucker said that House Republicans may be resigned to the fate that it could be the Senate, not the House, brokering a deal with President Obama.

While House Republicans have continued to get a chilly reception by Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that it might be time for a "come together" moment - perhaps portending a broader discussion and a possible deal with President Obama.

McConnell, in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader in his Capitol office, noted past agreements he has brokered with Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats, and he said “that’s what we’re going to need to do again now, sometime soon.”

“If you paid any attention to my recent history, I’m not opposed to reaching agreements with this administration,” McConnell said, noting his role in deals reached over the 2010 extension of the Bush tax cuts, the August 2011 Budget Control Act and the fiscal cliff crisis last New Year’s Eve.

The Senate is coalescing around a deal shepherded by Susan Collins (R.-Maine), with "bipartisan" support now behind it:

A bipartisan group of senators is polishing a plan that would reopen the government and prevent an unprecedented default on the country's bills, while talks between the White House and House Republicans for a way out of the financial mess have stalled.

Senators planned to vote Saturday on a Democratic measure to lift the government's borrowing cap through the end of next year. Republicans were poised to reject it.

Senate leaders were keeping close watch on the work by the bipartisan group. An emerging proposal by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and others would pair a six-month plan to keep the government open with an increase in the government's borrowing limit through January.

Sen. Collins' plan would delay the medical device tax meant to finance Obamacare by two years and reportedly implement stronger verification requirements for individuals applying for Obamacare subsidies.

Rep. Ryan said that the deal means that his Republican colleagues are "trying to cut the House out, and trying to jam us with the Senate. We're not going to roll over and take that."

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