Reid: Progress made to resolve political stalemate

Harry Reid
Jose Luis Magana

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada takes the elevator after a rare Senate session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. Senate Republicans and Democrats hit an impasse Sunday over spending in their last-ditch struggle to avoid an economy-jarring default in just four days and end a partial government shutdown that's entering its third week. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reported progress Monday toward a deal to avoid a threatened default and end a two-week partial government shutdown as President Barack Obama called congressional leaders to the White House to press for an end to the impasse.

"We're getting closer," Reid told reporters after he met privately with the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell.

While Reid, D-Nev., said there was not yet an accord, he said he hoped to have a proposal to outline when the two men and House leaders meet with Obama at mid-afternoon. Emerging from Reid's office, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said "he told us the negotiations were productive and positive."

Under discussion is an increase in the debt limit well into next year, a short-term measure that would re-open the government and the start of budget negotiations.

Visiting a Washington charity, Obama mentioned the possible progress in the Senate and said his mid-afternoon meeting will determine whether it's real.

"There has been some progress on the Senate side, with Republicans recognizing it's not tenable, it's not smart, it's not good for the American people to let America default," he said while visiting a Washington charity that has retained furloughed government workers as volunteers.

Otherwise, he warned, the threat of default was legitimate.

"If we don't start making some real progress both in the House and the Senate, and if Republicans aren't willing to set aside some of their partisan concerns in order to do what's right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting," he said.

In announcing the meeting with Obama, the White House said the president would repeat a vow he has made consistently in recent weeks: "we will not pay a ransom for Congress reopening the government and raising the debt limit."

The two Senate leaders, Reid and McConnell, had spoken by phone Sunday but failed to agree on a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority above the $16.7 trillion debt limit or reopen the government. Congress is racing the clock with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning that the U.S. will quickly exhaust its ability to pay the bills on Thursday.

Separately, a bipartisan group led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, met for two hours Monday morning on a possible solution to the impasse.

"We're making very good progress, but there's still many details to be worked out," Collins said before joining her GOP colleagues at a meeting with McConnell. "We don't have a finished, agreed-upon product yet but I think we had an excellent meeting. And we'll get together later today."

There was no certainty that the growing anxiety among financial leaders around the world would provide the necessary jolt to Senate leaders, who represent the last, best chance for a resolution after talks between President Barack Obama and House Republican leaders collapsed.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Monday that investors are growing increasingly "skittish" about the possibility of default. The bond markets were closed for Columbus Day, and by mid-morning the stock market was down modestly, with both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index losing less than 1 percent. Trading in Asia was muted, with markets in Tokyo and Hong Kong closed for holidays.

The shutdown has furloughed 350,000 federal workers, impeded various government services, put continued operations of the federal courts in doubt and stopped the IRS from processing tax refunds. Some parks and monuments remain closed, drawing a protest at the National World War II Memorial on Sunday that included tea party-backed lawmakers who had unsuccessfully demanded defunding of Obama's 3-year-old health care law in exchange for keeping the government open.

Economists see greater financial danger from an historical default. Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund's managing director, spoke fearfully about the disruption and uncertainty, warning on Sunday of a "risk of tipping, yet again, into recession" after the fitful recovery from 2008.

Reid and McConnell — five-term senators hardened by budget disputes and years of negotiations — are at an impasse over the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and whether to undo or change them as part of a budget deal. Republicans want to keep the spending at the deficit-cutting level of the 2011 budget law while Democrats are pressing for a higher amount.

"I'm optimistic about the prospects for a positive conclusion to the issues before this country today," Reid said as the Senate wrapped up a rare Sunday session.

McConnell insisted a solution was readily available as he embraced the proposal from a bipartisan group of 12 senators, led by Collins and Manchin, that would re-open the government and fund it at current levels for six months while raising the debt limit through Jan. 31.

It also would give agencies greater flexibility in dealing with the automatic budget cuts, delay the medical device tax for two years and establish income verification for individuals receiving subsidies to buy health insurance.

"It's time for Democrat leaders to take 'yes' for an answer," McConnell said in a statement.

"This haven't put us on suicide watch yet," Manchin joked Monday morning, "but they're concerned about us."

He said, "The leaders have to come together" and decide what time frame a stopgap spending bill would cover and how much it would cost.

Tennessee's Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican, said the leaders of both parties need to be "getting on the same page."

McConnell and Republicans want to continue current spending at $986.7 billion and leave untouched the new round of cuts on Jan. 15 that would reduce the amount to $967 billion. Democrats want to figure out a way to undo the reductions, plus a long-term extension of the debt limit increase and a short-term spending bill to reopen the government.

"Republicans want to do it with entitlement cuts," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "Democrats want to do it with a mix of mandatory cuts, some entitlements and revenues. And so how do you overcome that dilemma? We're not going to overcome it in the next day or two."

He suggested keeping the government running through mid-January.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, told reporters the two sides are roughly $70 billion apart, the difference between the $1.058 trillion Senate budget amount and the $988 billion envisioned by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"We haven't picked a number, but clearly we need to negotiate between those two," Durbin said.

Republicans dismiss the latest request as Reid moving the goalposts in negotiations as they were getting closer to resolving the stalemate that has paralyzed Washington. They also argue that it is disingenuous for Democrats to resist any changes in the 3-year-old health care law while trying to undo the 2011 budget law that put the cuts on track.

Unclear was whether any Senate deal would pass the Republican-controlled House by Thursday, though Senate Democrats were hoping momentum and an imminent default would pressure House lawmakers.

Corker was interviewed on NBC's "Today" show Monday and Manchin appeared on Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

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If Reagan were here doing now

If Reagan were here doing now what he did in the 80s, he would be branded a RINO and traitor to the Tea Party cause. Ted Cruze would have nothing to do with him and snub invitations to the White House.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

That's

a big 10-4 buddie....shame Ronnie wouldn't give Cruz an invitation now to join him.....

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Brain eating zombies

I read this joke today and loved it. "Brain eating zombies invaded Washington DC and starved to death". A deal between Senators and the President will probably not help. The newest strategy with the House "suicide caucus" is to let the government default and when the President uses his authority to restore our credit to attempt to use that to impeach him. They really think that the public will support a political party which is trying to impeach a guy who is rescuing our savings and nursing home patients and Social Security checks. There is no limit to what they will do to us to reverse the last election.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

As the bell tolls!

I wonder if these geniuses know that violating their oath of office, as in not following the requirements of the 14th amendment ARE A FEDERAL CRIME?....

I can bet that the baggers will have this to ponder; the President will give them to the 17th to pass a clean CR raising the debt ceiling. If they refuse, he should have the DOJ arrest and charge every member that refuses with violating their oath of office.

They can then negotiate from inside the federal detention center on visiting days.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Despicable

Sleaze Baggers…Here Are the Sleaziest Things Republican Congress Has Done During the Shutdown

1. Grandstand at the World War II Memorial.
2. Berate a Park Ranger at the World War II Memorial for the effects of the shutdown.
3. Put on lab coats and stand with Cantor and chastise Democrats for not funding cancer research.
4. Fundraise off the whole debacle.
5. Rub their "nice house" in the faces of 800,000 federal employees they helped furlough.
6. Tell furloughed employees they shouldn't get back pay while they're prohibited from working.
7. Suggest furloughed employees take out loans if they can't pay the bills.
8. Accuse the president of "curb-stomping" people.
9. Keep the congressional gym and other amenities open as essential services.
10. Complain that the gym is gross and doesn't have enough towels.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Disapproval of GOP Peaks In Blame for the Budget Crisis

http://www.langerresearch.com/uploads/1144a30ShutdownWeek%20II.pdf

As of Monday 10/14/13

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that criticism of the GOP’s handling of the budget dispute has grown by 11 percentage points since just before the partial government shutdown began, from 63 to 70 and now 74 percent – clearly leaving the party with the lion’s share of blame. Indeed 54 percent now “strongly” disapprove.

Bye- Bye Baggers, Bye- Bye low lifes, Bye- Bye baggers, it's time to see you go!

Ted Cruz is the baggers doom and bringing on the gloom....LOL

FRANK EARLEY's picture

As insane as all this is............+

I feel we've only seen the tip of the iceberg. First of all, with the economic future of the entire country on the line, hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed, why the hell are Mitch McConnell, and Harry Reid talking on the phone. These two need to be locked in a room pending a satisfactory outcome to this disaster. I have felt all along, the ACA had no business being on the table as a bargaining chip. I do how ever agree that including the Sequester is an absolutely necessary item to be eliminated. It is responsible for many hardships the people don't need. That budget law enacted in 2011, was designed to appear to ridiculous for anyone to enact. Anyone except the Republican Party as it turns out. It was never expected to be used. Of course that was probably before the Tea Party.
This rolling disaster needs to be stopped now. Republicans lost the election. Allow what the people of this country approved at the ballet box to work, and quit trying to hijack our liberties......................

Republicans didn't vote for a

Republicans didn't vote for a shut down, the Dems allowed one for political reasons.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

You are one huge mistake, to say the least!

“The second mistake you made was posting something online that is "TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE". The first mistake you made was you believed in it too.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Voting

Seems to me preventing a vote to keep the government funded is as good as voting to shut it down.

Harry Reids the one

Harry Reids the one preventing the votes.. Check out the facts!

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

The facts

Only yesterday a move was made to vote In the House to vote on a budget to end the shutdown and it was blocked by a motion passed well before the shutdown that prevents anybody from bringing a motion to the floor but Boehner or someone designated by him. Since the House is where the government funding originates that prevents anybody but Boehner or his designated representative from ending the shutdown. It's not about Obama or the Senate. The problem is in the House. The nuts are in charge.

Theres no problem in the

Theres no problem in the House, they want to fund everything. All they are asking for is a 1 year delay of Obamcare on individuals.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

BS

BS...Provide the facts as to WHO pays the bills, and WHO is denying the VOTE in CONGRESS HOUSE? That is the FACTS not your uneducated BS....You see you most light empty headed one....the House controls the purse and if THEY do not pay the bills and THEY do not let a vote go to the FLOOR for reopening the government, to hold hostages to forcing the Senate or the President; then the controlled GOP house, they are the problem.

The GOP was scheming all this before the OCT 1, deadline and the PROOF is out there for all to see NOW......you are just plainly to naive and stupid to conceive it.

You just want and see a one way Congress and that is why Dennis, you need to go back to school, this is why there are TWO, Senate and Congress....

Just tell Harry Reid to allow

Just tell Harry Reid to allow the House GOP dozen or so funding bills to get a vote in the US Senate. Dingy Harry is blocking the reopening of the government. Open your eyes Jerry!!!

Kyle Wilson's picture

A serious solution

I understand why the Republicans are so resistant to passing a longer-term CR bill. It seems that the only way for them to push their agendas is by forcing these crisis on the american people unless their demands are met. If Democrats could get a bill to pass that would address both the debt limit and funding of the government until 2015, there is a high chance that Republicans could lose enough seats over this issue to impede their ability to do this again. Make no mistake. If they get away with it the first time, they will do it again.

Realistically, I believe the best way out of this crisis would be for the President to draft a bill that simultaneously funds the government and raises the debt limit for nine months so that the actions of congress over the next crisis will be fresh in the voter's minds on election day. In order to appease the Republicans, the bill should also strip out congress and thier staffs' exemption from the ACA. Sequestration should be left as is under this bill and left to the next session of congress when, perhaps, cooler heads may be able to prevail.

The only reason why I believe the president should draft this bill is because he can force the House to vote on it, preventing Boehner from obstructing the process. I believe there to be enough concessions from both sides in a bill such as this that it would pass the House, Senate, and be signed into law by the President.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Judgment Day Will be upon the GOP for thier Banana Repub

House Republicans Changed The Rules So A Majority Vote Couldn't Stop The Government Shutdown

In the hours working up to the government shutdown on Sept. 30, Republican members of the House Rules Committee were developing a strategy to keep a clean CR off the floor, guaranteeing the government would remain shut down.

Though at least 28 House Republicans have publicly said they would support a clean CR if it were brought to the floor -- enough votes for the government to reopen when combined with Democratic support
-- a House rule passed just before the shutdown essentially prevents that vote from taking place.

During a floor speech on Saturday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) drew attention to the quietly passed rule when he attempted to present a motion to accept the Senate's clean continuing resolution and reopen the government.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), presiding over the chamber, told Van Hollen that the rule he was asking to use had been "altered" and he did not have the privilege of bringing that vote to the floor.

Please READ on, it gets even better of who wanted the shutdown and how they were going to prevent the Congress and the Government from opening to do the Peoples business.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jd-iaYLO1A&sns=tw

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/13/house-republicans-rules-change_...

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Overreaching

While the face of this disaster has been Cruz the real architects have been Ryan and Cantor. So it is worthwhile to see what they want. Unbelievably, Ryan is insisting we keep the worst parts of the sequester. You know, the poison pill that was so stupid nobody would want to see that done to America. And he wants to remove birth control coverage from the ACA. They are after women again. And they are worried about leverage so they need to revisit the debt ceiling every two months. Way to kill the economy for good. Well they have sheltered themselves from the pain of both the shutdown and the sequester and they are not women and they are rich enough to withstand economic meltdown so I guess from their point of view it makes sense. For the rest of us not so much.

Ted Cruz is the best thing

Ted Cruz is the best thing thats happened to America since Ronald Reagan. Rhinos like Mccain and Mconnell need to leave.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Reagan's Known for all these things...oops...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBx5-alXisY

Doubling the deficit and so many others.....

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Wow you are totally worthless as a voter

You must drink a LOT...it is RINO....Repubs in name only.....McCain....McConnell....

Ted Cruz...LMFAO....Like Reagan....LOL

He was always a popular President, but he has since been recast (mainly by conservative historians) as a great one as well. Yes, you can easily place him on that pedestal. You would merely need to ignore the Iran-Contra scandal, the huge budget deficits, his environment ignorance, his do-nothing reaction to the looming AIDS epidemic, his courting of Saddam Hussein, and numerous other blunders. “Reagan was truly a great president whose achievement rivals that of Franklin Roosevelt,” wrote conservative author Dinesh D'Souza, in his 1997 reappraisal where he credited Reagan for everything from the strong Clinton economy (go figure) to world peace (while somehow forgetting to mention Iran-Contra anywhere in the book).

Read this you misinformed uneducated boob....

10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan

1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan “a dear friend,” told NPR, “Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration — I was there.” “Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes,” said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan’s memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is “false mythology,” Brinkley said.
2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, “roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.” Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.
3. Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic boom for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and middle class, but the economic growth of the 1980?s did little help them. “Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled,” the New York Times’ David Leonhardt noted.
4. Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously. Reagan promised “to move boldly, decisively, and quickly to control the runaway growth of federal spending,” but federal spending “ballooned” under Reagan. He bailed out Social Security in 1983 after attempting to privatize it, and set up a progressive taxation system to keep it funded into the future. He promised to cut government agencies like the Department of Energy and Education but ended up adding one of the largest — the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which today has a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. He also hiked defense spending by over $100 billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the Vietnam war.
5. Reagan did little to fight a woman’s right to choose. As governor of California in 1967, Reagan signed a bill to liberalize the state’s abortion laws that “resulted in more than a million abortions.” When Reagan ran for president, he advocated a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, but once in office, he “never seriously pursued” curbing choice.
6. Reagan was a “bellicose peacenik.” He wrote in his memoirs that “[m]y dream…became a world free of nuclear weapons.” “This vision stemmed from the president’s belief that the biblical account of Armageddon prophesied nuclear war — and that apocalypse could be averted if everyone, especially the Soviets, eliminated nuclear weapons,” the Washington Monthly noted. And Reagan’s military buildup was meant to crush the Soviet Union, but “also to put the United States in a stronger position from which to establish effective arms control” for the the entire world — a vision acted out by Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, when he became president.
7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Reagan signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty. The bill was sold as a crackdown, but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented immigrants were removed before final passage. The bill helped 3 million people and millions more family members gain American residency. It has since become a source of major embarrassment for conservatives.
8. Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran. Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms to officials in Iran, which was subject to a an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for American hostages. Some funds from the illegal arms sales also went to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua — something Congress had already prohibited the administration from doing. When the deals went public, the Iran-Contra Affair, as it came to be know, was an enormous political scandal that forced several senior administration officials to resign.
9. Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act. which placed sanctions on South Africa and cut off all American trade with the country. Reagan’s veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled Senate. Reagan responded by saying “I deeply regret that Congress has seen fit to override my veto,” saying that the law “will not solve the serious problems that plague that country.”
10. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Taliban and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujahideen commander — emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services’ close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan’s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendancy.
Conservatives seem to be in such denial about the less flattering aspects of Reagan; it sometimes appears as if they genuinely don't know the truth of his legacy.

Dennis ponder this.....My dobermans are smarter than you....

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