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NDTP UPDATE-House holds firm, now the Senate needs to hold firm !

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Sunday October 13, 2013
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Now the Senate Republicans need to hold firm.
“It’s all good,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said.
“It’s now up to the Senate Republicans to stand up.”

Focus on Senate after Obama rejects House plan

By JAKE SHERMAN , JOHN BRESNAHAN and BURGESS EVERETT | 10/12/13 9:10 AM EDT Updated: 10/12/13 2:40 PM EDT

Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans Saturday morning that his efforts to strike a deal with President Barack Obama are at a standstill.

There is no agreement, Boehner said in a room in the Capitol Saturday, and there are no negotiations between House Republicans and the White House, since Obama rejected the speaker’s effort to lift the debt ceiling for six weeks and reopen government while setting up a budget negotiating process.

With that, a familiar dynamic has resurfaced 12 days into the government shutdown and five days before Treasury says the nation runs out of borrowing authority: The pendulum has swung back to Senate Republicans, who now look more likely to cut a deal with Obama to end the first government shutdown since 1996, and avoid the first default on U.S. debt in history.

After the news that talks between Boehner and Obama have broken down, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) emerged on the floor to emphasize that the nation’s eyes are firmly fixed on the chamber.

“I was happy to see the Republicans engaged in talks with the president, the House Republicans. That’s over with. It’s done. They’re not talking anymore,” Reid said. “I say to my friends on the Republican side of this Senate, time is running out.”

House Republicans are, for the first time, acknowledging that reality. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told the closed meeting of GOP lawmakers that, “Senate Republicans need to stand strong and fight,” according to sources in the room.

“It’s all good,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said. “It’s now up to the Senate Republicans to stand up.”

House Republican leaders met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Friday to receive a briefing on the state of play in the Senate.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are circulating a 23-page draft bill that would increase the nation’s borrowing limit through January and reopen government until March.

The bill would also delay Obamacare’s tax on medical devices for two years, while replacing the lost revenue by altering the way pensions are calculated. It would give increased autonomy to the heads of federal agencies under the constraints of sequester spending levels and provide funding increases for fire suppression, a key item for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

But the clock is the biggest enemy for all sides. It’s unclear if a deal brokered by the Senate could come together before Thursday, when the $16.7 trillion debt limit must be boosted, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. House Republican leadership sources say their offer of a six-week debt limit increase might regain favor if a Senate-brokered deal does not come together before that deadline.

The House goes out of session Saturday and will return Monday evening.

Obama appeared open to the basic outline of the Collins-Manchin plan, though the White House has not formally endorsed it. The president told Senate Republicans Friday that the medical device tax is not central to his signature domestic achievement — the Affordable Care Act.

Meanwhile, Reid on Saturday will move forward with a procedural vote to lift the debt ceiling through 2014 with no policy add-ons. That vote is not expected to reach the key 60-vote threshold needed to proceed to debate. But the legislation may be altered later to reflect any compromise struck in the Senate.

Neither Senate proposal — the Democrats’ “clean” debt-ceiling increase or the Collins-Manchin framework — seems like it would be popular in the House, which has trouble passing its own plans.

Many House GOP conservatives see ending the device tax as going after a “shiny object” instead of focusing on truly altering the law, one conservative Republican told POLITICO. Appropriators are angry that the government would be funded until March — they would prefer a shorter-term measure, to allow lawmakers to cobble together a full 2014 spending package

“We have to see what’s in it,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a brief interview. “We have to see what it finally looks like if they can’t get something.”

Wayne Iverson, MD
P.O. Box 420640, San Diego , CA 92142

Fax: 858-674-4543

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