Senate Majority Leader Reid says "blindsided" by House debt plan
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 01:39
Oct. 15 - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says an alternative debt limit and government funding plan promoted by conservative House Republicans could not win approval in the senate. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday that an alternative debt limit and government funding plan promoted by conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives could not win approval in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Reid said the plan, which was discussed at a House Republican meeting on Tuesdays morning, was "an extreme piece of legislation and it's nothing more than a blatant attack on bipartisanship."
"We felt blindsided by the news from the House," Reid said from the Senate floor. "I'm very disappointed in John Boehner."
Earlier, House Speaker John Boehner said no decisions had been made to bring the House plan up for a vote.
The proposal would track several key parameters of an emerging deal that Reid is negotiating with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, but it would require some concessions on "Obamacare" health reforms and add some other restrictions on funding and borrowing.
New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said the move by Speaker Boehner inflamed already tense negotiations. "Speaker Boehner decides to light a match and throw it on the gasoline that's already all over the place," Schumer said on the senate floor.
But Republican Senator from Arizona, John McCain, was especially annoyed at his Senate colleagues for what he said was a "categorical" rejection of the Republican plan as a way to end the fiscal impasse.
"I came to the floor to express my disappointment in the categoric rejection of a good faith effort by the Speaker of the House," McCain said from the Senate floor.
Senate leaders had said earlier that they were close to an agreement on their side that would reopen the government, in partial shutdown for two weeks, and extend the debt ceiling by the deadline on Thursday when the U.S. Treasury says it will reach its borrowing limit.
The Republican plan in the House, which differed in a few important details from one in the U.S. Senate, was rejected in a meeting with rank and file Republican lawmakers.
The move may have complicated 11th-hour talks on the government shutdown and the potential default.
Senate Democrats and the White House have rejected the House Republican plan. President Barack Obama will meet with House Democratic leaders Tuesday afternoon to discuss their options.
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