The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 3, 2013

Frustrated Republicans urge Boehner to find deal to end shutdown

Moderate Republicans urge vote on Senate bill. Anti-shutdown wing is growing

(Continued)

Lawmakers frustrated with the tea party's outsized influence have been working behind the scenes for weeks. Ribble has spoken out during his party's past five conference meetings to implore Boehner to redirect his party's priorities to the entitlement programs — Medicare and Social Security — that pose the greatest threat to the nation's fiscal future.

"There are a lot of sidebar conversations going on between regular House members," Ribble said.

Even as Boehner is now engaging these members, their ideas may be overtaken if Obama and Boehner broaden negotiations to the debt ceiling. The president, saying he is "exasperated," said Wednesday he won't negotiate with Republicans on the budget until they reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling without conditions.

Still, Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the Budget Committee, said the House leadership sees negotiations over a spending deal and the debt ceiling "converging." He said that "from the get-go we've wanted to get a budget agreement to grow this economy and get this debt under control."

Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, also said "we're at a point where we need a broader solution here."

Camp said Treasury Secretary Jck Lew called him the night of Oct. 1 to remind him that the U.S. has used "all of the extraordinary measures" to extend the nation's borrowing power, slated to be exhausted on Oct. 17.

Unlike past fiscal feuds, this dispute is more about the health law and less about the amount of government spending. The U.S. budget deficit in June was 4.3 percent of gross domestic product, down from 10.1 percent in February 2010 and the narrowest since November 2008, when Obama was elected to his first term, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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