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”

House to vote on back pay for furloughed government workers

By Jonathan Easley – 10/04/13 11:32 AM ET

The House will vote Saturday on legislation that would provide back pay for federal workers who have been furloughed during the government shutdown.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office announced the House would remain in session to vote on new legislation that is “critical” to government operations.

One of the bills will deal with back pay for federal workers on furloughs and is likely to pass with support from both parties.

“The House will pass a bill to pay federal workers for their time in furlough once the shutdown ends,” Cantor said in a tweet. Continue reading “House to vote on back pay for furloughed government workers”

U.S. shutdown seen dragging on as debt ceiling fight nears

U.S. shutdown seen dragging on as debt ceiling fight nears

By Mark Felsenthal and Richard Cowan | Reuters – 1 hr 32 mins ago

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (2nd L) speaks to the media, beside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), following their meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at the White House in Washington, October 2, 2013. Obama stressed to congressional leaders on Wednesday that he will not negotiate with Republicans over a government shutdown or raising the U.S. debt limit, the White House said. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

  • Reuters/Reuters – U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (2nd L) speaks to the media, beside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), following their meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, House …more 

By Mark Felsenthal and Richard Cowan

(Reuters) – The shutdown of the U.S. government appeared likely to drag on for another week and possibly longer as lawmakers consumed day three of the shutdown with a stalling game and there was no end in sight until the next crisis hits Washington around October 17.

That is the date Congress must raise the nation’s borrowing authority or risk default, and members of Congress now expect it to be the flashpoint for a larger clash over the U.S. budget as well as President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

The situation gives “every appearance of getting dangerously close to the conversation on the debt ceiling,” Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. Continue reading “U.S. shutdown seen dragging on as debt ceiling fight nears”

House votes down GOP’s piecemeal spending bills

By Pete Kasperowicz – 10/01/13 08:02 PM ET

The House on Tuesday night rejected three appropriations resolutions that would have funded the District of Columbia, veterans programs and national parks, after House Republicans set them up in a way that required Democratic support for passage.

GOP leadership decided earlier in the day to advance smaller spending resolutions as a way to ease the impact of the government shutdown that started today. But Democrats held out against this tactic, and most voted against the three bills in order to keep up pressure for a comprehensive spending package.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the piecemeal strategy would allow Republicans to pick and choose which parts of the government to fund, which she compared to a slow release of hostages.

“They took hostages by shutting down the government,” Pelosi said. “Now they’re releasing one hostage at a time.” Continue reading “House votes down GOP’s piecemeal spending bills”

Congress, FEHBP and ObamaCare

Congress, FEHBP and ObamaCare

Back in 2010, as the health care reform debate was raging on, Senate Republicans proposed legislative language requiring lawmakers to drop their insurance coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and enter the newly created exchange market.

The proposal was a political gambit, attempting to force Democrats to cast an embarrassing vote to opt out of one of the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions. Democrats called the bluff, however, and the amendment passed easily.

Three years later, members of Congress and their staffers are faced with the reality of losing FEHBP coverage. Continue reading “Congress, FEHBP and ObamaCare”

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