EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHouse GOP Charts Separate Fiscal Course As Senate Nears Deal
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: ABC News
Reported: Oct. 15, 2013 12:08 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 15, 2013 12:36 PM EDT
House Republican leaders, seeking to placate conservative members of their rank and file, are pursuing a separate plan to open the federal government and raise the country's debt ceiling, while Senate leaders grow increasingly confident that they are close to an agreement to end the standoff, ABC News reported.
House Republicans are aiming to build off the work of Senate leaders, but adding new sweeteners to their own plan that could help more conservative members get on board with a compromise.
The House plan would likely include more changes to President Obama's health care law, including a delay in a tax on medical devices and a provision that would force members of Congress, their staff and cabinet members to get their health insurance from exchanges.
But even before the details of the plan emerged, the White House signaled that President Obama would reject it.
After meeting with rank-and-file members about the new plan for nearly two hours this morning, House Speaker John Boehner said there have been "no decisions" about how the House would move forward.
"But we are going to continue to work with our members on both sides of the aisle to try to make sure there is no issue of default and we get our government reopened," Boehner told reporters Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who have worked through the weekend and into this week hammering out the details of a potential compromise, met at the start of the day this morning behind closed doors.
After the meeting, Reid said on the Senate floor that the talks have been "productive" and he is "confident" a deal will be struck this week.
The dueling plans, however, are in agreement on two important terms: the length of a debt-limit increase and government funding. The differences revolve largely around which provisions of the president's health care law will be changed.
In a statement, the White House rejected the House plan as a "ransom" demand.
"The president has said repeatedly that members of Congress don't get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation's bills," White House spokesman Amy Brundage said Tuesday morning.
"Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place."
Brundage also signaled that the White House remains supportive of the direction that negotiations between Republicans and Democrats are going.
The two chambers would need to reconcile any differences before the Oct. 17 deadline in order to avoid reaching the debt ceiling.
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