Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

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A delegation of 18 House Republicans is heading to the White House Thursday afternoon to propose a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, which the White House indicated President Obama could sign — but the deal would not resolve the partial government shutdown which is now in its 10th day.

The goal of the proposal appeared to be to buy time, by removing the immediate threat of missing an Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling, for both sides to strike a broader agreement on spending and debt.

House Speaker John Boehner and his deputies announced the proposal after pitching it to rank-and-file Republicans in a closed meeting. The plan would allow for a six-week extension of the debt ceiling with no strings attached, as long as Obama and Democrats make a “real commitment” to negotiate over the partial government shutdown and a longer-term debt-ceiling hike.

“It’s time for leadership,” Boehner said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney indicated that Obama could sign it. While stressing that the president still needs to see a bill, he said that if a “clean” bill to hike the debt ceiling for six weeks hits his desk, “He would sign that.”

Carney said Obama still would strongly prefer that Congress approve a longer-term increase in the debt ceiling and approve a spending bill right away. Pressed repeatedly by reporters, Carney appeared to open the door to a short-term increase in the debt limit even if the partial government shutdown is not addressed.

That means the partial shutdown could easily continue into next week and beyond, without the pressure of the Oct. 17 deadline. That’s when Treasury officials warned the nation would be unable to pay all its bills, absent a debt-ceiling hike.

Inside the GOP caucus, reaction to the Republican leaders’ plan appeared to be mixed, with some voicing support and others voicing skepticism. One source said leadership was “taking the temperature of the conference” before taking the idea to Obama.

Despite Carney’s remarks, a prior statement from the White House was non-committal over the new plan.

A White House official said “we are willing to look at any proposal Congress puts forward to end these manufactured crises” but will not “allow a faction of the Republicans in the House to hold the economy hostage to its extraneous and extreme political demands.” The official said Obama still wants the House to pass a spending bill first, and raise the debt ceiling, before Obama will negotiate.

The official also reiterated that Obama would prefer a longer-term debt-ceiling increase, like the one-year extension the Senate is considering.

Sources said the new GOP proposal would increase the debt ceiling through a hard deadline of Nov. 22, but also call for negotiators to be appointed to discuss the budget — and require Obama to work with them on both the debt limit and budget.

Pressure is increasing on all sides to work out an agreement. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew testified on Thursday that both stalemates are creating a drag on the economy and Wall Street.

He issued dire warnings about failing to raise the debt ceiling. He did not specifically warn that the government would be unable to pay interest on the debt, but said payments ranging from Social Security checks to Medicare reimbursements to military salaries could be halted by the end of the month.

He said some of the repercussions would be unpredictable since this is “uncharted territory.”

“It would be chaos,” Lew said.

Though some Republicans have accused the administration of exaggerating, many still do not want to toy with breaching the debt-ceiling deadline.

Senate Republicans are set to meet with Obama at the White House on Friday morning.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel, Chad Pergram and Fox Business Network’s Rich Edson contributed to this report.

By Michael O’Brien and Frank Thorp, NBC News

President Barack Obama called Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday to again tell the top House Republican that he wouldn’t negotiate over reopening the government or raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

And, keeping up his pressure on Republicans in Congress, Obama will marshal the power of the bully pulpit during a 2 p.m. press conference at the White House.

The phone call came within an hour of Boehner’s most recent public plea for Obama and Senate Democrats to come to the bargaining table and agree to talks to solve the fiscal impasse.

“The president called the speaker again today to reiterate that he won’t negotiate on a government funding bill or debt limit increase,” Boehner aide Brendan Buck emailed reporters.

According to the White House, Obama “repeated what he told him when they met at the White House last week: the President is willing to negotiate with Republicans — after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed.”
Obama also again demanded that Boehner bring up a clean extension of government spending and a clean approval of increased borrowing authority.
The call occurred at around 10:45 a.m., just a short while after Boehner emerged from a closed-door meetings to put the pressure on Obama to negotiate.
“There’s never been a president in our history been a president who didn’t negotiate over the debt limit. Never. Not once,” Boehner said following a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans.
But the very subject of whether to negotiate has set Obama and Boehner apart — a difference on top of their opposing views over how to fund the government, and whether to preserve health care reform.
Obama and his Democratic allies have said they are more than happy to negotiate over any number of topics, but only after Republicans vote to approve a clean extension of government spending and authorize an increase in the debt limit.

President Barack Obama calls on Republican House Speaker John Boehner to bring a clean continuing resolution to the floor for a vote. Obama made the remarks Monday in Washington, D.C., while visiting FEMA headquarters.

“We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of further harm to our economy and middle-class families,” Obama said Monday at FEMA headquarters in Washington. “We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of a prolonged shutdown until Republicans get 100 percent of what they want.”

Democrats, meanwhile, have challenged Boehner to demonstrate his assertion over the weekend that a clean spending bill to reopen the government or a clean extension of the debt ceiling couldn’t pass the House.
“Speaker Boehner insists that the Senate-passed bill to end this shutdown can’t pass the House,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday. “Well, I’m not the first to issue this challenge … and that is, prove it. Bring it up for a vote.”

In short, political gamesmanship continued its stranglehold of Washington as the nation’s political leaders barreled toward the Oct. 17 deadline by which they must raise the nation’s debt limit or risk a severe shot to the U.S. economy and global financial markets.

There had been some speculation Tuesday that Republicans might consider a short-term extension of both spending and the debt limit in order to enter into serious fiscal talks with Obama. It would hand Democrats a minor victory immediately, but offer up a chance for the GOP to lock in reduced spending levels under the automatic “sequester” spending cuts. Republicans could also look to win entitlement or tax reforms as a result of such negotiations.

As Republicans mull their path forward, GOP leaders laid out a new plan to their rank-and-file on Tuesday that envisions the House passing two bills this week, one to guarantee pay for essential workers who have stayed on the job throughout the shutdown.

The other bill would establish a bipartisan negotiating team to tackle the debt limit and other fiscal issues, somewhat resembling some of the other official panels and working groups that have unsuccessfully tried to resolve the deep fiscal differences between Democrats and Republicans in recent years.

It’s not clear that this group would have any greater success, though, especially since its authority is nonbinding — unlike some of the past panels, like the 2011-2012 “supercommittee.”

Boehner dismissed talk of such a temporary resolution as “a lot of speculation,” refusing to engage with a reporter’s question. And the Republican speaker said that he didn’t have any particular standard by which he’s measuring the GOP’s willingness to enter into an eventual deal. “I’m not drawing any lines in the sand,” he said, later adding: “There’s no reason to make it more difficult to bring people to the table. There’s no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table. I’m trying to do everything I can to bring people together and have a conversation.” As the shutdown continued to play out, there were increasing signs that the GOP was shouldering more of the political blame for the shutdown. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday found, for instance, that seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans have handled negotiations over the federal budget. This story was originally published on Tue Oct 8, 2013 10:42 AM EDT

 

 

 

The government slimdown enters its second week with Democrats and Republicans continuing to blame each other with no compromise in sight, as a second major budget deadline looms larger and closer.

Despite Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning again Sunday about the potential “catastrophic” impact of Congress allowing the government to default on its debt on Oct. 17, Republican leaders made clear the House won’t agree on any deal to increase the county’s borrowing authority without concessions from President Obama.

Lew told “Fox News Sunday” such a strategy was “irresponsible” and “reckless.”

“Which is why Congress needs to act,” said Lew, calling on members to pass a temporary spending bill to reopen the government and pass a measure to increasing the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt limit.

House Speaker John Boehner made a point Sunday of saying his GOP-led chamber has stayed on Capitol Hill two straight weekends to try to pass spending bills to keep the government fully operational, only to have them rejected by the Democrat-led Senate.

The upper chamber will try to vote this week on a bill that passed the House unanimously on Saturday to pay federal workers for days missed.

Boehner told ABC’s “This Week” that Obama is risking default by refusing to negotiate with Republicans and that he doesn’t have the votes to pass a debt-limit proposal free of other fiscal issues.

“We’re not going to pass a clean debt limit increase,” he said. “The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit, and the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us. … I’m ready for the phone call.”

Changes to ObamaCare, entitlement reform and other spending cuts are among the possible concessions for which Republicans might ask.

On Monday, the government slimdown enters its seventh day with hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed, national parks closed and an array of government services on hold. However, the Obama administration is calling back to work hundreds of thousands of civilian military workers.

Lew said Obama has not changed his opposition to coupling a bill to re-open the government and raise the borrowing authority with Republican demands for changes in the 3-year-old health care law and spending cuts.

Boehner insisted that Obama must negotiate if the president wants to end the shutdown and avert a default that could trigger a financial crisis and recession that would echo the events of 2008 or worse.

Boehner said he lacks the votes to pass a clean temporary spending bill. Democrats argue that their 200 members in the House, plus close to two dozen pragmatic Republicans, would back a so-called “clean” bill if Boehner just allowed a vote, but he remains hamstrung by his Tea Party-strong GOP caucus.

“Let me issue him a friendly challenge,” New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer told ABC. “Put it on the floor Monday or Tuesday. I would bet there are the votes to pass it.”

In a series of Sunday television appearances, Lew warned that on Oct. 17, when he exhausts the bookkeeping maneuvers he has been using to keep borrowing, the threat of default would be imminent.

“I’m telling you … Congress is playing with fire,” he said.

Lew said that while the Treasury expects to have $30 billion of cash on hand on Oct. 17, that money will be quickly exhausted in paying incoming bills given that the government’s payments can run up to $60 billion on a single day.

Treasury issued a report on Thursday detailing in stark terms what could happen if the government actually defaulted on its obligations to service the national debt.

“A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic,” the Treasury report stated.

Private economists generally agree that a default on the U.S. debt would be extremely harmful, especially if the impasse was not resolved quickly.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a force in pushing Republicans to get changes to ObamaCare in exchange for keeping the government running, spelled out his conditions for raising the borrowing authority.

“We should look for three things. No. 1, we should look for some significant structural plan to reduce government spending,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “No. 2, we should avoid new taxes. And No. 3, we should look for ways to mitigate the harms from ‘ObamaCare,” Cruz said, describing the debt ceiling issue as one of the “best leverage the Congress has to rein in the executive.”

Asked how the standoff might end, Boehner said: “If I knew, I’d tell you.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Reuters) – Up to one million federal workers were thrown temporarily out of work on Tuesday as the U.S. government partially shut down for the first time in 17 years in a standoff between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over healthcare reforms.

The stalemate closed museums and national parks and slowed everything from trade negotiations to medical research, while sparking new questions about the ability of a deeply divided Congress to perform its most basic functions.

However, the standoff did not prevent the Obama administration from rolling out enrollment in health insurance marketplaces, the centerpiece of the most ambitious U.S. social program in five decades.

Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted to block Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act by tying continued government funding to measures that would undermine it. But the Democratic-controlled Senate repeatedly rejected those efforts.

In Washington, museums were closed to tourists and police erected barriers around landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial. The National Zoo shut off a popular “panda cam” that allowed visitors to view its newborn panda cub online.

“I think it’s outrageous. You know these guys are put into office to help the people, not to hurt them,” said federal worker Ronald Jackson, who commuted 55 miles in to work at the Treasury Department only to be sent home.

If Congress can agree to a new funding bill soon, the shutdown would last days rather than weeks, with relatively little impact on the world’s largest economy.

But the standoff continued on Capitol Hill as the Democratic-controlled Senate formally rejected an offer by House Republicans to break the logjam.

“This shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened,” Obama wrote in a letter to government employees.

Whether the shutdown represents another bump in the road for a Congress increasingly plagued by dysfunction or is a sign of a more alarming breakdown in the political process could be determined by the reaction among voters and on Wall Street.

The market appeared to be taking the closure in stride for now. U.S. stocks rose modestly as the S&P 500 .SPX edged up 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC gained 1.1 percent.

A week-long shutdown would slow U.S. economic growth by about 0.3 percentage points, according to Goldman Sachs, but a longer disruption could weigh on the economy more heavily as furloughed workers scale back personal spending.

The political crisis raised fresh concern about whether Congress can meet a crucial mid-October deadline to raise the government’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. Some Republicans see that vote as another opportunity to undercut Obama’s healthcare law.

Failure to raise the debt limit would force the country to default on its obligations, dealing a blow to the economy and sending shockwaves around global markets.

A 2011 standoff over the debt ceiling hammered consumer confidence and prompted a first-ever downgrade of the United States’ credit rating.

Analysts say this time it could be worse. Lawmakers back then were fighting over how best to reduce trillion-dollar budget deficits, but this time they are at loggerheads over an issue that does not lend itself to compromise as easily: an expansion of government-supported health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans.

Republicans have voted more than 40 times to repeal or delay “Obamacare,” but they failed to block the launch of its online insurance marketplaces on Tuesday. The program had a rocky start as government Web sites struggled to cope with heavy online traffic.

“What I’m hearing from my constituents at home is if this is the only way to stop the runaway train called the federal government, then we’re willing to try it,” said Texas Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate.

After missing the Monday midnight (0400 GMT) deadline to avert the shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in the House continued a bitter blame game, each side shifting responsibility to the other in efforts to redirect a possible public backlash.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed about one-quarter of Americans would blame Republicans, 14 percent would blame Obama and 5 percent would blame Democrats in Congress, while 44 percent said everyone would be to blame.

But the shutdown battles of 1995 and 1996 didn’t substantially affect public’s opinion of then-Democratic President Bill Clinton or his main adversary, Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Gallup polling organization said.

POLITICAL POLARIZATION

This latest shutdown, the culmination of three years of divided government and growing political polarization, was spearheaded by Republicans associated with the conservative Tea Party movement united in their opposition to Obama, their distaste for the president’s healthcare law and their campaign pledges to rein in government spending.

“While I don’t want to shut down government and I would be for short term solutions to keep it open, I think we do sometimes have to take a stand and say: ‘Enough’s enough,'” Republican Senator Rand Paul, a leader of the Tea Party movement, said on CNN.

While some government offices and national parks were shuttered, spending for essential functions related to national security and public safety continued, including pay for U.S. military troops.

Though the impact was likely to be most apparent in the Washington region it will be felt across the country as the federal government maintains offices in every major city and parks and other facilities are spread across all 50 states.

Republican Senator John McCain, who has opposed his party’s efforts to link government spending to Obamacare, said his constituents were angry about the shutdown as landmarks in his home state of Arizona were closed to the public.

“People that had planned for months to go to the Grand Canyon” will be upset to find it closed, he told reporters.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, visiting U.S. ally South Korea early Tuesday, warned that the shutdown would undermine American credibility abroad and lead allies to question the nation’s commitment to treaty obligations.

Some analysts said a brief government shutdown – and a resulting backlash against lawmakers – could cool Republican demands for a showdown over the debt limit.

Others said they were surprised that a shutdown hadn’t happened earlier.

“We have a divided government with such diametrically opposed views, we need a crisis to get any kind of results,” said Republican strategist John Feehery, a former Capitol Hill aide.(Additional reporting by Elvina Nawaguna, Richard Cowan, Susan Heavey and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Karey Van Hall, David Storey and Tim Dobbyn)

Source:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/01/us-usa-fiscal-idUSBRE98N11220131001