WASHINGTON Oct 11 President Barack Obama will
press his case for a quick reopening of the entire federal
government coupled with an emergency increase of U.S. borrowing
authority when he meets with Senate Republicans on Friday.
With a partial government shutdown in its eleventh day and
less than a week to go before the Treasury Department runs out
of money to pay the government's bills, the Democratic president
has been urging congressional Republicans to end a fiscal
impasse that has overtaken Washington and rippled through the
Vice President Joe Biden will join Obama in pressing for
fast action, which could come by week's end if a series of new
efforts by Republicans in the House of Representatives and
Senate bear fruit.
Late on Thursday, House of Representatives Republicans were
looking at possible changes to a vague plan they floated that
would give Obama a short-term debt limit increase - possibly
lasting about six weeks - and reopen the government.
But many details had to be worked out, including what
Republicans would get in return. House Speaker John Boehner said
he and his fellow Republicans want solid commitments from Obama
and his congressional Democrats on some longer-term
The Oct. 17 deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling or
risking an historic default was daunting because any deal that
is struck by leaders could face a revolt from conservatives in
both the House and Senate.
That is particularly problematic in the Senate, where
procedural delays can slow legislation for up to a week - about
the time remaining before borrowing authority runs out,
according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
But public opinion polls showing Republicans were being
blamed for forcing a government shutdown at the Oct. 1 start of
the new fiscal year fueled a desire by many in the party to cut
Late on Thursday some senior House Republicans were
optimistic. Representative Pete Sessions, who chairs the House
Rules Committee that is a gatekeeper for all legislation headed
for debate in the full chamber, said a deal could be struck as
early as Friday.
If he is correct, that could queue up votes in the full
House by this weekend.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans were discussing a series of
different ideas, including a fast reopening of the government
coupled with a debt limit increase and the repeal of an
unpopular medical device tax that would raise revenues to help
pay for "Obamacare" healthcare subsidies. Under that plan, the
revenues would instead be raised through some pension reforms.