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Government Shutdown Update

Oct 14, 2013

President Obama spoke with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Friday over the phone, but the President did not wholly agree to the House Republican plan offered on Thursday. Speaker Boehner presented the President with a proposal to pass a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling. The bill would raise the debt ceiling for a six week period during which Congress and the President would engage in budget negotiations. The proposal did not initially include a solution for ending the government shutdown, although a continuing resolution (CR) has been a part of discussions between the House Republicans and the President. A framework has not been agreed to, but any negotiations would likely cover fiscal year 2014 spending levels in addition to broader fiscal issues such as tax reform and changes to entitlement programs.

After meeting with the President Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took to the Senate floor to deride the House Republican approach as a temporary bridge to another period of chaos during the holidays saying, “We do not believe a six-week delay… is enough to give the country what it needs.” Senate Republicans met with the President Friday afternoon and offered their own plan based on a proposal from Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) that would raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for six months in exchange for repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) medical device tax. Senator Collins said about the meeting, “There is a willingness on the part of the Administration to engage and turn negotiations into a long-term plan.”
Meanwhile, the Senate is still moving towards a Saturday vote to raise the debt ceiling through 2015.

House Republican leaders met with President Obama late Thursday afternoon, but there were no clear signs of a potential agreement. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said, “He didn’t say yes, he didn’t say no. We’re going to continue negotiating this evening.” House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) said adding a CR to the package is “one of the things we’re talking about.” House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) also indicated that ending the government shutdown is a top priority; “What we’re trying to do is find a way to quickly settle the CR crisis so that we can pass a CR and stop the shutdown.” Speaker Boehner added, “No final decisions were made; however, it was a useful and productive conversation. The President and leaders agreed that communication should continue throughout the night.”

Representative Peter King (R-NY) said this afternoon that he would support a discharge petition to force a vote on a clean spending bill to reopen the government if GOP leaders don’t act soon. House Democrats had previously announced their intent to pursue a discharge petition by rounding up the 218 votes required to force a vote.