House Bristles at Senate Compromise As Time Ticks On Debt Ceiling

New plan from Republicans to reopen government and lift debt limit

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Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, listens to a question during a news conference after a House GOP meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington.

House Republicans on Tuesday balked at a Senate compromise to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling, and said they would instead vote on a more conservative version of the Senate plan.

“We are preparing a bill similar to the Senate compromise that we believe is more on-point and acceptable to the senators and the White House,” said California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Like the Senate package, the House plan, which could see a vote as soon as Tuesday, would provide government funding until mid-January, extend the nation’s borrowing authority until Feb. 7 and form a bicameral budget conference for the two chambers to hash out broader fiscal reforms.

But House Republicans will also attach a number of provisions that would make more significant changes to President Barack Obama‘s health care reform law, something the White House and Senate Democrats have said is a non-starter. The Republicans want to include a two-year delay of the medical device tax in the Affordable Care Act and an amendment that would prohibit health-insurance subsidies for government officials, including the president, vice president, members of the Cabinet and lawmakers, according to House Republican aides familiar with the proposal. The proposal may also include instructions barring the Treasury Department from using accounting maneuvers to postpone the next debt-limit deadline.

“We’re talking with our members on both sides of the aisle to find a way to move forward today,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters. “I have made clear for months and months that the idea of default is wrong and we shouldn’t get anywhere close to it.”

The move by House Republicans comes after members bristled at having their role in the negotiations superseded by Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, who stepped in over the weekend to steer Congress toward a bipartisan deal as the minutes ticked toward the Thursday deadline to lift the debt ceiling. Unwilling to be sidelined and desperate to put its stamp on the bill, the House will try once again to volley another proposal to the Senate. But it is almost certain to be rejected by the upper chamber, where both parties have grown weary of House leadership’s inability or unwillingness to control a restive Tea Party faction that has repeatedly insisted on policies that are dead-on-arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The White House, which broke off negotiations with the House last Friday, blasted the House for the move.

“The President has said repeatedly that Members of Congress don’t get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation’s bills. Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place,” said Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman. “Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been working in a bipartisan, good-faith effort to end the manufactured crises that have already harmed American families and business owners.  With only a couple days remaining until the United States exhausts its borrowing authority, it’s time for the House to do the same.”

Obama is scheduled to meet with House Democratic leaders on Tuesday afternoon.

House Republicans unveiled the proposal at a Tuesday morning meeting, which opened with Florida Rep. Steve Southerland singing a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” As they trickled out of the meeting in the basement of the Capitol, some members voiced the same concerns about lifting the debt limit that have marked the negotiations and nudged the U.S. to the brink of what could be an economically catastrophic debt default.

“If you don’t draw the line in the sand now, you never will,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones said.

It is unclear whether even the new House proposal has the votes to squeak through the chamber with two days to go before the Thursday debt-ceiling deadline determined by the Treasury Department.

“There have been no decisions about what exactly we will do,” Boehner said.

But the 11th-hour proposal is unlikely to reshape the endgame of the debt and budget crisis, which will still hinge on Reid and McConnell hammering out a bipartisan deal in the Senate, and which Boehner, faced with no other options, could be forced to pass with Democratic votes.

“Let’s be clear: the House legislation will not pass the Senate,” Reid said Tuesday. “I’m very disappointed in John Boehner.”

With reporting by Alex Rogers and Zeke J. Miller

84 comments
barneydidit
barneydidit

People....we have to give the GOP- led House a break, they've contributed quite a bit to the welfare of this country over the past 3 years.  I mean...well...they gave us "In God We Trust" as the National Motto.  That was a very important piece of legislation that was passed by the very same people who had just spent the prior 9 months criticizing Obama and the Democrats for not displaying "a laser focus on jobs".

TimJohnson
TimJohnson

Republicans are the most selfish people.

cpl3
cpl3

He's drunk again.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

Yes, another stunningly stupid development emanating from where?  The House, of course!

Note to the intellectually stunted in The House - Part of the Senate deal is to put together a bi-partisan budget conference to deal with the debt and the budget.  You in the House apparently agree with this.  With deadlines set for Jan. & Feb. they will have to time to work out details on what the next budget plan should look like.  It represents a way forward, a way out, and a way where details can be worked out. 

Everything should be on the table; spending, debt, entitlements, Obamacare etc.  THIS will be the place to discuss whether or not to eliminate the tax on medical devices.  THIS is the place to decide all the other related budgetary issues that you guys are knee-jerking about now.  NOW is the time to pass the budget, extend the debt ceiling.  Later you can discuss all the other stuff until the cows come home. 

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Scary to think our economy, indeed, the world's economy, lies in the hands of Boehner's Baggers, who don't have the slightest idea how to govern.

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

These guys will take it down to the 11th hour in the hopes that Obama will blink. They miss a number of important points. First, why should he blink? He has all the cards. Second, while they're playing this game, the approval rating for the GOP has dropped to its lowest in 21 years. It dropped 10 points in one month (!) down to 28%. Do you know who gets elected with an approval rating of 28%? Nobody. George Washington doesn't get elected with that number. The only thing these guys are doing right (for them) is playing to their base in Dimbulb, Texas. This is self-serving, radical politics taken to the nth degree. But the American voters don't like radical and they don't like dysfunction and they don't like us being a laughing stock around the world. And they sure don't like the possible recessionary affect of all this. Payback time approaches.

jmac
jmac

Florida Rep. Southerand will sing a rendition of Amazing Grace.   Amazing Grace is a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed.

Very good choice for Republicans.  They need to believe God forgives everything because they have a pile of sins that are pretty hard to ignore, even by a benelovent God. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

The American Taliban just made it harder for us to avoid fiscal default. Make sure to thank them at the polls

The newest and most unexpected item in the latest House Republican continuing resolution/debt limit bill is this:

Like the emerging Senate agreement, the House plan would extend the debt ceiling to February 7. But the House plan would bar the Treasury Department from using accounting gimmicks known as “extraordinary measures,” increasing the transparency of the federal budget process and prohibiting what economist Donald Marron calls the “embarrassingly casual” use today of such measures by the Treasury Secretary. In the era of President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill, short-term debt limit increases with hard dates and no gimmicks were the norm. The House plan seeks to restore transparency to the process and deny bureaucrats the ability to use budget gimmicks to mislead the public about the financial condition of the United States.

It sounded like a turn on a dime, and Senate Democrats rejected it immediately. For two years, Republicans had favored (and passed in the House) legislation that mandated the Treasury pay debt service, entitlements, and veterans in the event that the debt limit was reached. Now, they were trying to bar the Treasury from shuffling money around? Republicans told me that this had been in the air for a while; Marron only spelled out his theory a few days ago, noting that it "would reduce the time the next debt limit increase will last," but maybe shock the system so that these periods of brinkmanship didn't last so long.

"I like it," said Missouri Rep. Billy Long, a fomer auctioneer from a safe conservative seat. He co-sponsored the "Full Faith and Credit" act that would have tied Treasury's hands on prioritization, and he saw this as a complement. "We need to be honest about how much money we're spending in this country and how we're gonna pay it back. It seems right now that they can pay it back whenever they want. A lot of times it seems it's driven by politics. We're gonna hit it in May. No, actually, we're gonna hit it in June. No, actually, we're gonna hit it Oct. 17."

Most people figured that the delays in the debt limit were related to the shrinking deficit, a function of higher tax revenue and lower spending. But plenty of Republicans were convinced that the administration was playing games and needed to be stopped.

"You and I can find ways the game-playing has been done," said Arizona Rep. David Schweikert, the former treasurer of Maricopa County. "If we're going to actually start to have build for debt management, there's a bigger issue here. We, the administration and Congress, need to do debt management through the baby boom cycle, through this huge demographic cycle. We've got a 35-year cycle to work through. I like the concept of super-bonds. I like the concept of trills. You don't get to have those debates and discussions if you have the administration able to game-play with the trust funds."

Another reporter asked Schweikert to respond to some doom-saying quotes from Chinese bankers. "I lay this at the steps of the administration and Jack Lew," said the congressman. "The unconscionable, unacceptable use of language, the word 'default,' when the borrowing we need for 2014 is we're 16 percent short on revenue. To use the word 'default,' to scare the markets—are politics really that important to this administration that it ignores basic math?"

Schweikert ticked off ways that he, as a county treasurer, had sought balance. "The basic repo desk, running your ladders on your debt—it's stunning that the politicians in the administration care more about keeping this as a wedge than the international markets. Even Geithner made it clear that he had the ability to prioritize. I don't know who this new Jack Lew is. He's not the same guy I knew 10 years ago when he backed Clinton ... there is no such thing as default unless there is an actual evil attempt from the administration. When you have 18 percent of GDP coming in in cash, less than 2 percent going out in debt coverage—I'm stunned you all fall for it in the press. None of you were math majors, were you?" 

notsacredh
notsacredh

It's time to stop treating the tea party like they're American citizens. Now is the time to arrest them and try them for treason.

swagger
swagger

the right wing extremists are determined to put a match to it and watch it burn.

auroraazurebaptista
auroraazurebaptista

This is NOT Canada or Finland or some Soviet country. America does NOT need universal health care. I refuse to give any of my hard earned money to care for people who refuse to work.

manlyman
manlyman

Liberals are the most ignorant people.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@TimJohnson Many on the far right idolize Ayn Rand who is the standard bearer for individualism & selfishness.  For some reason they can't see her for the sick psychopath that she is.

coleskinner71
coleskinner71

@AlphaJuliette why do you think the debt ceiling is there in the first place?  Because without spending restrictions, we will continue to spend beyond our revenue.  

Why not be responsible and work out the proper budget NOW, even with something as simple as reducing each dept's existing budget by a small percentage?  Why are we always kicking the problem down the road?

What is another committee going to do?  Isn't their job, year in and year out, to come up with a budget?  In some ways, isn't that their ONLY job?  So forming another committee to examine this problem isn't going to fix anything.  There are fifty committees already in place with this responsibility.

jmac
jmac

@oldwhiteguy  It's up to Boehner.  I'm not so sure they will blink.   This is the Rand Paul of economics crowd.  Palin is out saying that if we default, Obama should be impeached.  Yet she also says if Obama uses the 14th amendment to pay the bills, he should be impeached.

They impeached Clinton and they think it was a good thing.  History is not their subject any more than Economics.  

reallife
reallife

@sacredh  you know where we are - it's not like we're hiding - we'll be waiting

tom.litton
tom.litton

@auroraazurebaptista Let me ask you something.  Did you ever wonder why the only other person defending republicans on here is an obvious troll?  

There used to be plenty of right leaning and/or libertarians commenting here, and there isn't anyone defending republicans now. 

What does that say about your chances of winning enough elections to get anything that you want?  Of having any say in the future of America?

romerjt
romerjt

@auroraazurebaptista Did you come late to the part where the facts were presented?  You already to help provide health insurance to non-workers  . .  like in retired people and the ACA is selling insurance to people who are working . .  those who can't afford it will not get it in the 26 Republican states not opting in to the expansion of Medicaid.  Geeeeze

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

@auroraazurebaptista 

Oh?  And should anyone give any money to pay for YOUR fire and police protection?  How about the roads you drive on?  Or the safety of the planes you fly, the food you eat, the air you breathe, the toys your children play with, the medicines you take, etc.?  

But let's not even go there.  If you believe that little children should be denied health care because their parents can't find work, that people on Medicare whose benefits have been exhausted, that unfortunate people whose jobs were eliminated, that people who developed terrible diseases they can't afford to pay to treat, etc., etc., etc., are not "worthy" of health care, then you truly are unfit for civilized society.

Like the Grinch, you need a heart transplant.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@auroraazurebaptista 

USA would be so lucky to have universal healthcare.

BTW, there are no 'Soviet' countries. You are what makes the world laugh at us.

jason024
jason024

BTW: The ACA is NOT universal healthcare....

jsfox
jsfox

@auroraazurebaptista Please go find out a couple things before you post again. This is not universal healthcare in the model of any of the place you mentioned. Yes we do need it, but that is another story. Next go find out exactly what Obamacare does and does not do. Finally most of the people who will be getting insurance on the exchanges do work and work hard they just are not provided insurance by their employer.

hector.delacruz
hector.delacruz

Your words exactly, write to your local Republican Congressperson and tell him/her how you feel. Maybe then they'll budge and we can all move along.

grape_crush
grape_crush

@coleskinner71 @AlphaJuliette> Why not be responsible and work out the proper budget NOW?

Why not do it a month ago, or three months ago? Why wait until the last possible second to cobble together an irresponsible and crappy budget deal that isn't necessary because there is a clean bill sitting on the House floor waiting for a vote? Why not pass the clean funding bill and work out the proper budget later?

> Why are we always kicking the problem down the road?

Because no one wants to make decisions that are unpopular with their core constituencies. 

> What is another committee going to do?

Short term putting another committee together allows us to not default on our debt and throw the economy into a tailspin; it allows for fully functional government services. 

Longer term, not much if they come up with something that their backers consider acceptable.

It's a sucky way to run a country, sure.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@coleskinner71 @AlphaJuliette You are incorrect about the origin of the debt ceiling. Once upon a time Congress had to authorize all the sales of Bonds one issue at a time. The WW I happened and they got too lazy to work that hard so they invented the debt ceiling as a shortcut to authorize the Treasury dept to operate on autopilot. None of this has any bearing on spending which is an entirely separate process.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@coleskinner71 @AlphaJuliette It should be apparent that neither side is interested in working out a balanced budget (and it shouldn't while the economy is bad, but that is another discussion).  

The republicans want tax cuts, specifically for the wealthy.  They couldn't care less about the debt, or they wouldn't even be asking for this.

The democrats want to protect spending, specifically entitlement spending (although there are some good reasons for doing so).

Both sides want to protect corporate welfare and the military industrial complex, which is why neither is ever on the table.

To Obama's credit, he has tried to get a balanced budget, that included entitlement cuts and tax increases, but, like i said, republican's aren't interested in balancing the budget.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@jmac @oldwhiteguy 

Yes, I think impeachment is their end game. Didn't help them when they did it to Clinton and it won't help them now, especially with 24 GOP Senate seats open in 2016 to 10 for the Dems. At the last minute Boehner will pull them from the brink. It may mean his Speakership, but he's been in Congress long enough to be a millionaire many times over. Better he go back to being a back bencher where he can continue to hand out lobbyist checks on the House floor without hardly anyone noticing

notsacredh
notsacredh

@jmac, Boehner just said that he won't say what he'll do. And then he added that a default is something they can't allow to happen. translation: let the full house vote on the senate plan.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@reallife, I thought we had to be relatives and get your doctor's permission to visit you?

auroraazurebaptista
auroraazurebaptista

Necessary evil, but I don't think we should be forced by our president to pay. Some people really can't afford health care or to work,but some folks are just lazy. The lazy ones and Illegal Immigrants are who I resent being forced to support. The world owes no one anything!

jmac
jmac

@sacredh @jmac I didn't even think about the Dems voting for Pelosi!  

tommyudo
tommyudo

@sacredh

First let's start calling the Tea Party (which really doesn't exist as an entity the way they did when big money created them back in circa 2009 - 2010) for what they are - radical rightists, since fascists is too much of an easy, but truthful, cliche. They always have  been with us, in various forms, throughout US history. Thanks to Karl Rove's strategy in 2000, they now have effectively taken over the ideological "soul" of the GOP, assuming we give the GOP the benefit of the doubt that a soul exists. I'm too much of a squishy Lefty to recommend re-education camps in the middle of South Dakota or northern Idaho, so how do we marginalize these cretins, since they are not all old geezers with one  foot in the grave?

notsacredh
notsacredh

@jmac, I think what would keep that from happening is that if the TPers revolt or are marginalized, the democtrats may try to elect pelosi by taking advantage of the split. If the Tea party splits, the democrats WILL be the majority.

jmac
jmac

@sacredh @tommyudo Can't the democrats save his seat for him?  They get to vote for Speaker even in the minority.   

notsacredh
notsacredh

@tommyudo, I think the only way Boehner doesn't lose the speakership is if the majority of the GOP in the house (that ISN'T tea party) deicdes that they're not going to let the Tea party hold them hostage any longer and treats them like the minority within their own party that they are. 

notsacredh
notsacredh

@reallife, btw, you wouldn't recognize a Poe's Law snark if it bit you on the @ss.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@reallife 


I suggest you raise your right hand at an angle to your waist, raise it, lower it, raise it lower it, then rinse and repeat. The coming days seem to be the death knell of the corporate funded Tea Party. Obama is one lucky SOB to have them as his enemy.

I wonder what sort of mutation the far right will undertake when Hillary takes over the Oval Office in 2016.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@reallife, you are a great example of why the GOP is on the verge of a split. The right wing nuts hold the majority of their own party hostage. Their own party. You baggers aren't patriots and you sure as hell don't care about the US. It's your version of what you think the US should be without respect for anybody else's rights. Am I afraid of you? Of course I am. It's people lijke you that put themselves above the country and are it's greatest threat. That is what I fear from lunatics like you.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@auroraazurebaptista Your problem is that you swallow every mindless, hateful trope Limbaugh and FOX shove down your throat. Congress wrote and passed the ACA, the president isn't forcing you to pay anything. Illegal immigrants are net producers to the economy from the taxes they pay for government services they don't receive. As for those who are too lazy to work, get back to me when there are enough jobs for every American who is willing to work. Mindless idiot.

jason024
jason024

@auroraazurebaptista This is not even about "illegals" this is about AMERICANS who are uninsured and the high costs of medical insurance. That is a much larger problem than illegals ever will  be on the system.

auroraazurebaptista
auroraazurebaptista

I do not believe there are enough safety nets to make sure illegals cannot skirt the system. They always seem to find a way to get out of paying for any services.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@auroraazurebaptista If you have a plan to accurately weed out the lazy ones from the non-lazy ones in a way that is cost-effective and doesn't harm innocent people (like their children), then i would be all for it.

jason024
jason024


@auroraazurebaptista Ever wondered why our healthcare costs are so high? or Why so many people are uninsured? 

This is the first albeit not perfect attempt to solve the problem. Other nations who have a single payer system have lover costs compared to our broken system. What is your solution?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@auroraazurebaptista Than you should love this plan. It forces everyone who can afford it to buy health care. No more moochers ending up in the emergency room running up everyone elses healthcare costs.