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White House Meeting Raises Hope of Debt Limit Deal

October 11, 2013—An Oct. 10 meeting between President Obama and House Republican leaders failed to produce an agreement to end the partial shutdown of the government, but the discussion signaled the two sides may be moving toward a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling and avoid a potential government default.

Republicans offered a six-week extension of the debt limit to provide more time to negotiate a larger deal. In a statement following the meeting, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “No final decisions were made; however, it was a useful and productive conservation. The president and leaders agreed that communication should continue throughout the night.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters “the President said the other day that if they [Republicans] were to send him a clean debt ceiling extension, no partisan strings attached, he would sign it.”

The House GOP plan may include a short-term extension of FY 2014 funding through Dec. 15, setting up possible negotiations for annual appropriations.

Republicans are looking to the debt limit measure to force cuts in spending, while Obama and Democrats have said they will not negotiate until Congress reopens the government and raises the debt ceiling.

Meanwhile, the Senate is scheduled to vote Oct. 12 on proceeding to a bill (S. 1569) to raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a cloture motion to set up the vote on the proposal, which would suspend enforcement of the debt limit through the end of 2014.  However, the proposal does not cut spending, and it is doubtful that many Senate Republicans will vote for a "clean" debt-ceiling increase. Sen. Reid’s proposal also does not address the government shutdown.

At the same time, Senate Republicans are considering a proposal by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) to end the government shutdown and address the debt limit.  Sen. Collins’ proposal includes a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to reopen the government and give federal agencies the flexibility to manage the across-the-board cuts in their budgets caused by sequestration, subject to congressional oversight. Collins also proposes to repeal or delay of the 2.3 percent medical device tax under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152).


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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