House Republicans Abandon New Shutdown Bill

Hoping to preempt a tentative Senate deal unpopular with many of its members, House Republicans presented a new plan this morning to reopen the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit to Feb. 7. UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: House Republicans have already abandoned the plan because there weren't enough votes to support it.

From the New York Times:

After more than two hours, Republican leaders backed off the plan that had emerged this morning. Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters that there were “no decisions about what exactly we will do.”

“We’re trying to find a way forward in a bipartisan way that would continue to provide fairness to the American people under Obamacare,” Mr. Boehner said, but he also acknowledged that “there are a lot of opinions” among his fractious members.

Unlike the Senate's plan, which would leave the Affordable Care Act mostly intact, the House's plan would suspend the medical device tax for two years, require income verification for health-care subsidies, and remove health-care subsidies for the president, vice president, the Cabinet and members of Congress but not congressional staff.


Sen. Ted Cruz spearheaded the new bill, which he reportedly planned with many of the GOP's most conservative members at Tex-Mex restaurant last night.

And House Republicans were in good spirits this morning as they discussed the bill.


“We think we’ve enhanced it in a number of ways,” Rep. Darrell Issa told the New York Times, referring the Senate plan, later adding that the new House plan was "more on point."

Harry Reid: “Perhaps Tomorrow Will Be a Bright Day”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday evening on the Senate floor that they are close to a deal that could end the shutdown.

“We’ve made tremendous progress. We are not there yet, but tremendous progress. And everyone just needs to be patient,” Reid said. “Perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day.”

The potential deal would extend the debt limit through February 7 and finance the federal government until January 15. From the Washington Post:


The framework under consideration includes only minor changes to President Obama’s signature health-care law, falling well short of defunding it or delaying major provisions as conservative Republicans initially sought. Instead, Republicans would get only new safeguards to ensure that people who receive federal subsidies to purchase health insurance under the law are eligible to receive them.

But talks were hung up over another provision, aides and lawmakers said: a demand by Democrats to delay the law’s “belly button tax,” a levy on existing policies that is set to add $63 per covered person — including spouses and dependents — to the cost of health insurance next year. Republicans derided the proposal as a special favor to organized labor.

Of course, it's not clear if the Senate deal would be approved by the more conservative House Republicans, who have demanded a complete repeal or delay of Obama's health-care law.

“We’ve got a name for it in the House: it’s called the Senate surrender caucus,” Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas, told the New York Times. “Anybody who would vote for that in the House as Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger.”


[Image via AP]

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