The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 15, 2013

New House GOP plan as debt-limit deadline nears

House vote expected Tuesday night, but unclear if enough support

(Continued)

"It's piling on and it's not right," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said of the response from the Democrats. "To categorically reject what the House and the speaker are doing — and I think he's pretty courageous in what he's doing — in my view is not serving the American people."

The House had been effectively sidelined in recent days as Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell engaged in intense negotiations to reopen the government and raise the debt limit.

That changed emphatically when details began circulating of some of the elements of the terms under discussion.

In addition to ending the shutdown and raising the debt limit, the two Senate leaders were considering a plan to delay a $63-per-person fee that the health care overhaul would impose on anyone who receives health care coverage under an employer-provided plan.

Some Republicans balked, complaining that was a concession to labor unions who are among the Democrats' most loyal political supporters.

Many unions have announced their opposition to the fee, but so, too, have businesses.

Reid and McConnell also have been discussing provisions to give federal agencies flexibility in adjusting to across-the-board spending cuts imposed under legislation that Obama signed in 2011.

Another element of their negotiations would call for House-Senate negotiations on a possible deficit reduction measure to take the place of the across-the-board cuts.

The twin crises began more than three weeks ago, when some lawmakers in the House insisted on seeking the defunding of Obamacare as the price for preventing a partial shutdown of the government.

The White House refused, and the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected legislation to achieve the GOP goal, as well as subsequent legislation that contained scaled-back concessions on the health care overhaul.

The partial shutdown, which began on Oct. 1, swiftly merged with the approaching debt crisis.

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