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Debt Limit Talks in Limbo After Senate Deal Collapses

October 15, 2013 in Blogs

By Dan Roberts, Paul Lewis, The Guardian

Democrats accuse hardline Republicans of sabotaging bipartisan deal after negotiations to raise debt ceiling left in limbo.


 

A fragile deal to end the US budget crisis collapsed on Tuesday when Democrats accused conservative Republicans of sabotaging the bipartisan proposals less than two days before the country's borrowing authority expires.

A proposal by a group of Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Senate fizzled when GOP leaders in the House of Representatives failed to get their rank-and-file members to back a revised version.

But just as the embattled House GOP leadership attempted to muster support for a deal by adding new clauses picking away at Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, it was rejected by Democrats. “It can't pass the Senate and won't pass the Senate,” said Harry Reid, the majority leader.

The latest tussle began when House Republicans met at 9am to consider a deal reached on Monday between Senate leaders that would have extended the debt limit and authorised government spending with only one token concession over healthcare.

Speaker John Boehner floated an alternative that, in addition, would delay a new tax on medical devices designed to help pay for Obamacare and deprive lawmakers of any personal health insurance subsidies.

That succeeded only in inflaming conservatives in his own party, who regard both House and Senate compromises as surrender, and Democrats, who accused Boehner of introducing unacceptable new “ransom demands”.

House Republican leaders emerged from their bruising encounter with conservatives without announcing whether they would even try to stage a vote on their new proposal. “There is no decision about what exactly we will do,” Boehner told reporters. “We are talking with our members and both sides of aisle to try to find a way forward today.”

It was not clear if Boehner's proposals, which were strongly opposed by the White House and Senate Democrats, even carried the support of conservative members of his own party. The Republican House meeting began with a rendition of the Christian hymn Amazing Grace, but quickly descended into lively, and at times fiery, debates, according to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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