October 11, 2013

GOP Senators Optimistic After Obama Meeting on Debt Ceiling

House GOP meeting with Obama ‘productive,’ but no agreement reached on the 11th day of the government shutdown

Political wrangling continued Friday as GOP lawmakers and the Obama administration failed to agree on a deal floated Thursday by House Republicans that would raise the debt ceiling until Nov. 22, without reopening the government, in exchange for negotiations with President Barack Obama on spending cuts and tax reform.

News from published reports and on Twitter said that while no deal was struck, House Republicans characterized their hour-and-a-half meeting with Obama on Thursday as “a useful and productive conversation.”

“I’m glad we had the discussion,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., according to The New York Times. “Now we have to put the words into action and get this resolved.”

Reports also said, however, that Obama won’t go along with any GOP deal that ties spending cuts with raising the debt ceiling and opening the government.

At press time on Friday afternoon, Obama had just finished a meeting with Senate Republicans at the White House, and a press briefing to be held by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney kept getting pushed back.

At 1:13 p.m., Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted: "Meeting at White House over. Very good discussion on shutdown Nothing obvious decided But hope I'm surprised there may be progress."

In another tweet, Jamie Dupree of Cox Radio quoted Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, as saying, "Honestly, the bigger breakthrough was last night with the House Republicans."

Bloomberg reported that Senate Republicans said Obama was open to changing a tax on medical devices in the future. The president did not "rule out repealing the tax, which was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Bloomberg reported Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, an advocate of the tax’s repeal, as stating.

MarketWatch tweeted that House Republicans have called a meeting for 9 a.m. Saturday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was quoted as saying Friday that he was open to hearing Republican proposals, though he was not in favor of extending U.S. borrowing authority only to Nov. 22. Rather, Reid said he would continue advocating a delay of the next debt-limit fight into 2015.

Political strategist Greg Valliere of Potomac Research said in his Friday morning commentary that while the chances of a default on the nation’s debt were now “close to zero,” any eventual “’deal’ will simply kick the can down the road, with another deadline later this fall, or in the winter, or whenever.”

While “market psychology has soared because default is off the table, … business and consumer psychology has taken a more lasting hit,” Valliere said. “Fresh crises loom — so the fragile recovery may stay fragile, because Washington is still dysfunctional.”

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Check out Shutdown Plays Havoc With Federally Funded Nonprofits on ThinkAdvisor.

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