On Saturday morning, House Speaker John Boehner told his Republican colleagues that talks between him and The President had broken down, and that the situation had moved to the Senate to see if they could work something out.
At the time he said that, it looked like momentum was building around a plan put forth by Maine Senator Susan Collins to both reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. The idea was to pass that in the Senate, and then “jam” the House, forcing House Republicans to take up the bill as a last-second vehicle to avoid a debt ceiling disaster.
But the Democrats swatted down the Collins bill, and then Senate leadership proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend making no outward progress.
And so the House may come back into the picture.
POLITICO reports that the House GOP is considering its own last-minute 6-week debt ceiling hike, although though the bill would be anything but the “clean” bill the President has asked for.
Attaching the so-called Vitter amendment to the debt-limit increase is one option, according to House GOP sources. That provision would end health-insurance subsidies for members of Congress, their aides and other federal government employees. Another option is delaying or repealing the medical device tax. Reid and Senate Democrats have opposed both proposals so far, but with the debt limit clock ticking, House Republicans may have more leverage now.
Also according to Robert Costa, the bill could have some kind of income verification for Obamacare enrollees as well as a bill pushed by Congressman Lankford that would automatically cut spending in the event of a government shutdown, which seems like a clear poison pill.
If the Senate can’t act soon, the House might pass this, and then you’ll have a situation in which the only bill to raise the debt ceiling is something the Senate would never sign, with the House feeling as though it has done its work.
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