Fiscal Deal Awaits A Compromise As Senate Leaders Meet

scLawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to pick up the broken pieces of failed week-end negotiation talks that were meant to end the U.S. government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling limit before its October 17th deadline which is only four days away.

As the government shutdown reaches its third week, pressure is building on  lawmakers to negotiate a  fiscal deal that re-opens the government and expands the U.S. borrowing authority for its debt ceiling.

Angry war veterans led a vocal week-end protest by slamming down wall barricades outside the White House in a protest against war memorials being shutdown from the federal government closure.

Protestors eventually pushed through government shutdown barricades and forced open the World War II Memorial.

Several Tea Party conservatives politicians such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sarah Palin were present to give their blessing to the protest movement.

Some protestors were waving Confederate flags and asking for President Obama to be impeached.

Week-end Negotiations

Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans occurred all week-end long, concentrated around party lines with lots of moving parts in play on Capitol Hill.

House Republicans refused to allow a “clean” continuing resolution vote on the government shutdown and debt ceiling.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) attempted to present a motion to approve the Senate’s “clean” continuing resolution and reopen the government but it made little progress in the House and he walked away frustrated.

House Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans that negotiations with the White House had fallen apart.

On Sunday Senate Democrats made some fiery speeches from the Senate floor, warning of dire economic consequences if Republicans failed to reopen the government and immediately raise the debt ceiling limit.

Revisiting the Sequester Cuts

Republican senators rallied around a debt ceiling limit proposal developed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), termed the Collins Plan, that maintains current sequestration-levels of government spending through March, gives federal agencies more flexibility to manage their budgets, delays the medical device tax for 2 years, and establishes income verification standards within the insurance exchanges of Obamacare.

But some Senate Democrats leaders such as Sen Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressed reservations with the Collins plan because it would allow the sequester cuts to remain in place through March and permit another round of sequester cuts to begin on Jan. 15th while not allowing any room for tax revenues and entitlement reforms.

“The dispute has been how to undo the sequester,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)  said yesterday on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, pointing out that Democrats want a combination of revenue increases and entitlement reforms.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky) conversed on Sunday for several minutes.

Senator Reid described their talks as “substantive” and said that they will continue.

“I’m optimistic about the prospects for a positive conclusion to the issues  before this country today,” Reid said from the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, Senator McConnell (R-Ky) issued a statement on Sunday, urging for the bipartisan plan to be accepted.

“There is a bipartisan plan in place that has the support of Democrat and Republican senators. It would reopen the government, prevent a default, provide the opportunity for additional budget negotiations around Washington’s long-term debt, and maintain the commitment that Congress made to reduce Washington spending through the Budget Control Act,  the law of the land.”

“It does all this while maintaining our commitments to reduce spending, cutting an Obamacare tax, and improving anti-fraud provisions in the law. It’s time for Democrat leaders to take ‘yes’ for an answer” McConnell wrote.

If the Senate reaches a final agreement on the bipartisan plan, it will still need to return for a vote in the Republican controlled House where there is strong resistance from their conservative base to not to make any concessions to the White House.

Bob Corker (R-TN) said yesterday on Fox News Sunday that he thinks that both parties need to move ahead towards a final solution.

“There are a lot of folks for what it’s worth….there are a lot of folks in the Senate that really want a good solid solution that doesn’t gauge either side and hopefully that’s what going to prevail” said on Sunday’s Fox News Sunday.

U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill will meet again on Monday to reach an agreement even with Monday being a holiday (Columbus Day).





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