Senate Democrats are hopeful that their Republican counterparts in the Senate will work with them to come up with a deal that both ends the ongoing federal government shutdown and raises the nation’s debt ceiling in the next few days.
A Senate Democratic leadership aide told Business Insider Thursday night that Senate Republicans have a “very strong desire” to end the shutdown before Oct. 17, which also happens to be the Treasury Department’s deadline for raising the debt ceiling.
The aide said that Democrats are more optimistic of a deal from Senate Republicans than House Republicans, who met with President Barack Obama at the White House Thursday night.
“None of the deals on the table at the moment are good enough, but if there is a deal to be had it is probably with Senate Rs, not House Rs,” the aide said.
House Republican leaders had unveiled a plan to extend the nation’s borrowing authority for six weeks on Thursday, provided that Obama and Democrats enter into negotiations about broader fiscal issues. But their plan does not end the ongoing government shutdown — something the White House said would be necessary for negotiations.
Obama didn’t close the door on a six-week debt ceiling increase, but he made it “very clear” that he wanted a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government as well, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
House Republicans’ plan also fell flat with both parties in the Senate because it didn’t tackle the shutdown, which entered its 11th day on Friday.
According to multiple reports, Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and John Cornyn (Texas) are circulating a version of the plan Collins presented last week. The reports also portrayed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as involved in the talks.
The Senate Democratic aide told Business Insider that negotiations are “all over the place in the Senate,” and far from settled. CNN reported that what Collins and Cornyn are proposing would likely fund the government for six months and raise the debt ceiling for a little more than three months. Collins’ proposal also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices.
“I was surprised that the House decided only to deal with the debt limit and not the continued closure of government,” Collins told reporters on Thursday. “I think that we need to deal with both issues and we need to do so quickly.”
Of course, even though the idea of a deal in the Senate seemed attractive to Republicans in that chamber, there’s always the issue of whether or not House Republicans will go along with it.
“The problem of course is that even if the Senate passes a deal, there is no guarantee Boehner brings it to the floor,” the Senate Democratic aide said.
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