clear
Sunday May 3rd, 2015 11:02PM

House GOP to try to counter Senate debt limit plan

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) House GOP leaders unveiled their own plan Tuesday to counter an emerging Senate deal to reopen the government and forestall an economy-rattling default on U.S. obligations.

The House bill would repeal a new tax on medical devices and take away lawmakers' federal health care subsidies in addition to funding the government through Jan. 15 and giving Treasury the ability to borrow normally through Feb. 7.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Republicans plan to pass the measure later Tuesday. It could prove tricky because Democrats probably won't support it.

The House move comes after conservative lawmakers rebelled at the outlines of an emerging Senate plan by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Those two hoped to seal an agreement on Tuesday, just two days before the Treasury Department says it will run out of borrowing capacity.

The emerging Senate measure would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and permit the Treasury to borrow normally until early to mid-February, easing dual crises that have sapped confidence in the economy and taken a sledgehammer to the GOP's poll numbers.

``The general framework is there'' between Reid and McConnell, said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. He said conversations with the House were continuing and he thought it would be midday Tuesday at the earliest before a plan was finalized.

President Barack Obama telephoned McConnell on Monday to talk about the emerging deal, a McConnell aide said. Congressional leaders had been scheduled to meet with Obama at the White House on Monday, but the meeting was postponed to allow more time for negotiations.

On Wall Street, futures were mixed early Tuesday, with investors somewhat optimistic over a potential deal.

Sen. Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat who was part of the bipartisan group known as the Gang of 12 which labored over the weekend to end the stalemate, said Tuesday he was ``pretty confident'' the Senate leadership and the White House would announce an agreement some time later in the day.

Speaking of the House, Pryor told CNN that ``some Republicans are, quite honestly, they're acting childish about this. They almost want a shutdown. They almost want to see us break the debt ceiling.''

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also a part of the Gang of 12, told ``CBS This Morning'' she believes an agreement is near that ``doesn't contain a lot of the partisan pills'' that sank earlier proposals. She said it's urgent that national leaders find solutions to vexing issues so that the country doesn't ``lurch from one financial crisis to another.''

Many House conservatives were unhappy about the emerging framework, though it remained to be seen whether they would seek to change it.

``One of the things we want to test is just basic fairness,'' Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of House conservatives, said on CNN Tuesday. He was asked how conservatives would respond to the plan taking shape in the Senate. ``One of the things we don't want to see is just another patch,'' he said.

``We're willing to get the government open. We want to get the government open,'' Scalise said. ``Hopefully they get something done that addresses the spending issue.''

The developing plan is a far cry from the assault on ``Obamacare'' that tea party Republicans originally demanded as a condition for a short-term funding bill to keep the government fully operational. It lacks the budget cuts demanded by Republicans in exchange for increasing the government's $16.7 trillion borrowing cap.

Nor does the framework contain any of a secondary set of House GOP demands, like a one-year delay in the health law's mandate that individuals buy insurance. Instead, it appeared likely to tighten income verification requirements for individuals who qualify for Obamacare subsidies and may repeal a $63 fee that companies must pay for each person they cover under the big health care overhaul beginning in 2014.

Democratic and Republican aides described the outlines of the potential agreement on condition of anonymity because the discussions were ongoing.

But with GOP poll numbers plummeting and the country growing weary of a shutdown entering its third week, Senate Republicans in particular were eager to end the shutdown and avoid an even greater crisis if the government were to default later this month.

Any legislation backed by both Reid and McConnell can be expected to sail through the Senate, though any individual senators could delay it.

But it's another story in the House, where it wasn't winning a lot of fans among conservatives.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, signaled that conservative members of the House were deeply skeptical. He said any bill had to have serious spending cuts for him to vote to raise the debt ceiling and said he thought Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had more flexibility than they had said publicly.

``No deal is better than a bad deal,'' Barton said.

Asked whether the emerging package contained any victories for Republicans, Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., a member of the House GOP leadership, said, ``Not that I've seen so far, no.''

In addition to approving legislation to fund the government until late this year and avert a possible debt crisis later this week or month, the potential pact would set up broader budget negotiations between the GOP-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate. One goal of those talks would be to ease automatic spending cuts that began in March and could deepen in January, when about $20 billion in further cuts are set to slam the Pentagon.

Democrats were standing against a GOP-backed proposal to suspend a medical device tax that was enacted as part of the health care law.

Democrats also were seeking to preserve the Treasury Department's ability to use extraordinary accounting measures to buy additional time after the government reaches any extended debt ceiling. Such measures have permitted Treasury to avert a default for almost five months since the government officially hit the debt limit in mid-May, but wouldn't buy anywhere near that kind of time next year, experts said.

The House GOP plan would repeal the extraordinary measures, which would make the Feb 7 date a hard deadline to revisit the fight.

Some lawmakers are frustrated that defusing the immediate standoff simply sets up another fight next year.

``It's punting because no one, Democrats, Republicans wants to face up and the American people to the tough reality that we're in,'' said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. ``It's all a temporary fix.''

© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 1 year ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Ben Carson, famed neurosurgeon, running for president
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon turned conservative star, has confirmed that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.Carson, who has never run for public office,...
9:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
Police investigating shooting in Gwinnett
Gwinnett County police are investigating a Sunday evening shooting in Lawrenceville
9:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
Jackson County investigating body found at school
The body of a female was found Sunday on the campus of a Jackson County school.
By Rob Moore
9:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
Police have identified a man shot near the Underground
Police have identified a man shot near the Underground Atlanta shopping and entertainment complex in the city's downtown area. Authorities say the suspected gunman ran to Underground Atlanta after firing shots at another man near Peachtree Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Police later identified the victim as at 24-year-old Khiry Clemons.
2:45PM ( 8 hours ago )
Survey says Suwanee residents happier with their city than most
The results of the National Citizen Survey suggest that residents of Suwanee are happier with their city overall than most others across the country.
9:00AM ( 14 hours ago )