Hopes rise for budget deal as leaders head to White House

By Justin Sink – 10/14/13 01:43 PM ET

President Obama will meet top congressional leaders on Monday at the White House amid signs that senators could be nearing a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

Obama will meet with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at 3 p.m., a White House official said. Vice President Biden will attend as well.

Reid and McConnell, who took the reins of the fiscal talks over the weekend, huddled for 30 minutes on Monday morning. Asked after the meeting whether Senate leaders would have an agreement to present to Obama, Reid said, “[I] sure hope so.”

“We’re working on everything,” Reid said when asked about the scope of the negotiations. “We continue to work on it. It’s not done yet.” Continue reading “Hopes rise for budget deal as leaders head to White House”

Reid: Senate will ‘reject’ House CR plan

Reid: Senate will ‘reject’ House CR plan

By: Burgess Everett and Manu Raju
September 28, 2013 01:58 PM EDT

Harry Reid is pictured. | AP PhotoSenate Democrats will reject the House government funding bill on the eve of a shutdown, seeking to pressure House Republicans to approve their plan to keep government running past Tuesday.

The House vote on Saturday on a bill to fund the government through Dec. 15, delay Obamacare’s individual mandate and repeal the medical device tax is “pointless,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who added in a blistering statement that “the American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists.”

“To be absolutely clear, the Senate will reject both the one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of the medical device tax. After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one: Republicans must decide whether to pass the Senate’s clean CR, or force a Republican government shutdown,” Reid said in a statement. Continue reading “Reid: Senate will ‘reject’ House CR plan”

A Showdown Long Foreseen

Congressional Memo

A Showdown Long Foreseen

By Published: December 30, 2012

WASHINGTON — The titanic struggle over how to reach a broad Congressional tax agreement is not just the latest partisan showdown, but rather the culmination of two years of escalating fiscal confrontations, each building on the other in its gravity and consequences. On Sunday, lawmakers could not seem to find one final way out.

 
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From the first fight over a short-term spending agreement to keep the government open in early 2011 to the later tangle over the debt ceiling to the failure of last year’s special budget committee and the resulting automatic spending cuts that now loom along with tax increases, the so-called fiscal cliff was built, slab by partisan slab, to where it now threatens the nation’s finances.

“Something has gone terribly wrong,” said Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, “when the biggest threat to our American economy is the American Congress.” Continue reading “A Showdown Long Foreseen”

How Congress has already failed on the fiscal cliff

How Congress has already failed on the fiscal cliff

Posted by Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake on December 31, 2012 at 6:30 am

The fiscal cliff cometh. And, whether or not the House and Senate — with an assist from the White House — figure out some sort of stopgap(ish) way to avert going over the edge, one lesson is already crystal clear: Congress has failed.

Don’t believe us? Consider the following:

* Both sides put off any discussion of addressing the country’s looming financial crisis until after the 2012 election, which was cast as the peoples’ chance to let their voices be heard as to what direction they wanted their politicians to head. President Obama won with 332 electoral votes, Democrats surprisingly kept the Senate and not so surprisingly picked up a handful of seats in the House. And yet, here we are.

* Given that the country is headed over the cliff in a day or so — triggering a series of automatic cuts across the government — the logistical and political hurdles to any sort of grand bargain to address the country’s long-term debt and spending issues are insurmountably high. That means that any deal will be decidedly narrow in nature in order to pass it through the political and legislative gantlet that is a narrowly Democratic-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House. And if Congress can’t even find common ground on a small-bore deal, what does that say about its chances of cutting a big deal down the line?

* We’ve been here before. This will be the second time in less than 18 months that Congress — and specifically House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) — tried to find a way to solve the “big” problem of the country’s growing debt burden. And even if a deal is made, it will be the second time (the debt ceiling was the first) that will ultimately be defined not by whether a deal is made or even what the deal looks like but rather by the legislative ugliness — there is no kinder word — that led to the “compromise.”

Seen through that lens, what happens between now and when the clock strikes midnight tonight won’t really matter all that much. The die is cast. For the average person, Congress’s using every second — literally — of its allotted time (and maybe more than its allotted time) to find a deal will be chalked up as another in a series of failures by Washington.

And if the fallout for Congress is anything like what we saw in the wake of the debt-ceiling debacle, you can expect what has already been a dismal run in terms of the institution’s political popularity to get even worse.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) hit it on the head Sunday when he took to the Senate floor to lambaste his colleagues for their failure to act. “It is absolutely inexcusable that all of us find ourselves in this place at this time … with no plan and no apparent hope,” said Manchin.

No matter what happens in these final hours, Manchin’s sentiment seems certain to mirror the American public’s view of Congress and the fiscal cliff. Failure seems not to be an option but the only one.

Obama says tax cuts will get done — sooner or later: During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Obama said he is “confident” that Congress will renew tax cuts for the middle class, whether in this Congress or when the new one begins in the coming weeks.

“One way or another, we’ll get through this,” Obama said. “Do I wish that things were more orderly in Washington and rational and people listened to the best arguments and compromised and operated in a more thoughtful and organized fashion? Absolutely.  But when you look at history, that’s been the exception rather than the norm.”

Obama also touched on a number of other issues during the appearance, including Benghazi, which he called a “huge problem.” He also said gun control is “not something I will be putting off” and that he’s skeptical of the NRA’s proposal to put armed guards in schools.