White House with Rival Debt Plan
Senate Republicans are heading to the White House on Friday as lawmakers search for a breakthrough agreement that could end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.
The meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden comes on the heels of a Thursday night conference with top House Republicans that both sides described as constructive.
GOP and White House staff members continued to talk through the night on the details of an offer by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), for a six-week extension of the debt ceiling. Obama told House Republicans he wanted to reopen the government as well, but it's unclear what the GOP might propose in response.
The meeting could reveal whether Obama is singularly focused on the House proposal or looking to engage the Senate GOP as well.
Senate Republicans have been crafting a rival proposal that would include a temporary debt-ceiling increase and a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for one year at sequestration levels.
Senate Republicans on Thursday said they preferred their plan to the one developing out of the House because it would immediately reopen the government.
GOP leaders in the upper chamber have openly fretted over the damage the extended shutdown is doing to the party's national brand...[An] NBC survey on Thursday found that a higher percentage of voters blamed Republicans for the shutdown than during the last government closures in 1995-96.
"I was surprised that the House decided only to deal with the debt limit and not the continued closure of government," Sen. Susan Collins (Ri-ME) told CNN. "I think that we need to deal with both issues and we need to do so quickly."
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (Ri-NH) tweeted Friday that "where we are is completely unacceptable...We need to resolve this and get the government open and also resolve [the] debt-limit issue...It's time for all sides to come out of their trenches."
The Senate bill would also repeal Obamacare's medical device tax and requiring income verification for the distribution of healthcare subsidies under the president's signature healthcare law.
But that might be a hard sell to Democrats. The White House has repeatedly insisted that it will not offer concessions until the debt ceiling is raised and the government is reopened. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said negotiations on a broad budget deal are "not going to happen" before the government reopens after a meeting with the president.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 10/11/2013
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