The White House abruptly canceled a 3 p.m. meeting at the White House among President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and congressional leaders amid ongoing discussions on a potential deal to reopen the government and raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
The postponement came about 20 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to start. And it’s a good thing, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told Business Insider. It means both sides are making progress toward a deal.
“McConnell [is] presenting to his conference, so we’ll see if Ted Cruz revolts or not,” the aide said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid presented the offer an offer to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier in the day. The draft version of the agreement would keep the government funded through January and raise the debt ceiling through mid-February. The deal would also set up a budget conference to end no later than Dec. 13.
Prospects of passage in the House were far from certain, however.
The Senate Democratic aide said that the final deal will probably include some income-verification measure with regards to obtaining subsidies for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. But it wouldn’t be anything “too impactful that changes ability to enroll in any meaningful way,” the aide said. The House passed a bill in September along party lines that would require the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general to set up a verification program before it grants subsidies.
According to reports, the deal could also include a one-year delay in an Obamacare reinsurance tax, which has been opposed by unions.
The Affordable Care Act requires states to set up a transitional reinsurance program whose aim is to stabilise insurance premiums. The provision required that companies providing health care to pay a $US63 fee per person tax in 2014 as part of the transition.
Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday morning that “we’re getting closer” to a deal, and that he hopes there will be a deal roughly in place before the meeting.
Senate Republicans postponed a meeting scheduled for Monday night. They’ll instead meet on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. so more members can attend.
The federal government shutdown entered into its 14th day on Monday. And Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling by Thursday, at which point the Treasury will only have about $US30 billion cash on hand to meet all of its obligations.
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