The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

September 27, 2013

Senate set to OK budget bill, but fight not over

(Continued)

They said the House might insert provisions into the shutdown bill repealing an unpopular tax on medical devices that helps pay for Obama's health care overhaul, or erasing federal subsidies for Congress' own health care coverage. They could then dare the Senate to reject the overall measure — and face the fallout from the government shutdown that would result.

But lawmakers and GOP aides cautioned that no decisions had been made, in part because it was unclear whether even those provisions would help win enough votes for House passage.

The debt limit bill was even more complicated and potentially dangerous. Many analysts think even the serious threat of a federal default would jar the economy — for which neither party would relish being blamed.

In an attempt to build support, House GOP leaders considered adding a stack of provisions.

A one-year delay of "Obamacare," expedited congressional work on tax reform and clearing hurdles to the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas were considered certainties. Other possibilities included boosts in Medicare costs for higher earners, land transfers in California and Oregon, and repealing Federal Communications Commission restraints on Internet providers' ability to control available content.

Even so, many conservatives said the debt limit bill lacked sufficient spending cuts.

"It definitely has a lot of goodies in it, things that arguably would grow the economy and arguably would generate more revenue," said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. "But still you have to address the spending problem."

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