House Plan Dead, Ball in Senate’s Court

The House plan the Senate was waiting for is dead.  Heritage Action helped scuttle it by urging a “no” vote and saying it would grade members on their vote.  Tea Party members opposed it because they won’t give up on their Obamacare battle.  Earth to Tea Party House members:  you lost.

Action is back to the Senate, where they are close to a deal.  We need to get something out of the Senate and bring it to the floor of the House.

Fitch Ratings has threatened a downgrade because of the “political brinksmanship.”

Where We Are

Surprise, surprise, the House GOP doesn’t like the Senate plan, so they’ve come up with their own — they would re-open the government through December 15 (which is a month less than the Senate plan and makes retailers want to shoot themselves because of the chilling effect on Christmas shopping) and raise the debt ceiling until February 7, which is like the Senate plan.  But, unlike the Senate plan, they won’t allow Treasury to use “extraordinary measures” (moving money around) to pay bills after that, so it’s a hard ceiling.

And the House also wants to end the employer contribution to health care for members of Congress, their staffs, and White House officials.  They want to get Dems on record voting against it.

The House is going to vote by this evening.

The rest of the world thinks we’re nuts, and the rest of the world is right.

The Emerging Deal

So it looks as if the latest  in the Reid-McConnell negotiations is to re-open the government until January 15 and raise the debt ceiling until February 7.  The deal would require income verification for those getting Obamacare subsidies, which was already in the law (as it should be!), until Obama waived it.  All this is taking place in the Senate (with Boehner being kept in the loop), so it’s not sure what would happen in the House.

Are We (Almost) There Yet? — Update

President Obama was supposed to meet with Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner at the White House at noon.  That meeting has been postponed, so Senate negotiations can continue.  It’s not a bad sign, talks have not collapsed.

Reid says he’s “very optimistic” on a deal this week to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.  If Reid is happy with the deal, I’ll probably be happy with the deal.

Quote of the Day

“It’s the lack of strategy towards a specific outcome that is most disheartening.  Outside a few borderline delusional folks, no one believes there’s a viable strategy to stop Obamacare.  So what exactly are we fighting to achieve?  The government will re-open and the debt limit will be extended.  These are facts.  What will we get, if anything?  That’s the tough part.”

A Republican Senate aide to Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo

What will they get?  How about an end to the GOP’s slide in the polls?  At this point, this should just take the tourniquet the Dems are offering and stop the bleeding.

We’re all focused on Thursday, when the government will be down to its last $30 billion in cash (plus daily tax revenues coming in).  At that point, the sh*t will still be approaching the fan.  Our next interest payment on Treasuries is October 31, and then almost $60 billion in payments on November 1 for Social Security, Medicare, military pay, etc.