Federal Relations

October 14, 2013

Shutdown Day 14: Days Before Debt Limit Deadline and No Deal in Sight

Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continued negotiations over the weekend – searching for a deal that would raise the debt limit and reopen the government, but emerged with no deal in sight yet. A bipartisan group of 12 Senators are also currently in-closed door meetings this morning trying to work out the parameters of an agreement.

Some details about a potential plan from the Senate have emerged:

  • Funding to run the government for 6 months
  • Extend debt limit until Jan. 31, 2014
  • Delay of the medical-device tax for 2 years
  • More leeway provided to federal agencies to implement sequester cuts
  • Mandate House-Senate budget talks

The sticking points right now seem to be the exact length of any extension of government funding or a debt ceiling increase, and FY14 spending levels. Democrats have indicated that they are willing to accept the $986 billion first-year sequester cap that was previously agreed upon, while Republicans are pushing for a cut in government spending a cap of $967 billion to be put in place in January.

While no concrete deal has been released, there seems to be a bit more optimism emerging from both parties. However, even if the Senate can agree on a bipartisan deal, it is unclear what the reaction would be by the House. Boehner would have a few options – pass a House deal that would need to go to the Senate for unlikely approval, pass the Senate bill which would be a clear defeat for the House GOP, or amend and pass a version of the Senate bill with addition terms.