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April 20, 2014

Posts in "Rules and procedure"

April 16, 2014

Eshoo Raises Money From Tech Industry Ahead of Ranking-Member Battle With Pallone

armenian presser006 040814 445x297 Eshoo Raises Money From Tech Industry Ahead of Ranking Member Battle With Pallone

Rivals for the ranking member slot, Eshoo and Pallone chatted earlier this month at a news conference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo’s leadership political action committee raised $203,000 — mostly from high-tech and telecommunication firms — as she bids to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the first leadership PAC of the California Democrat’s nearly 22-year congressional career. First-quarter numbers for Eshoo’s main rival for the post, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., were not yet available.

The burgeoning war chest provides leverage for Eshoo in the closely-contested ranking member race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., when the new Congress convenes.

Eshoo’s PAC was bolstered by contributions from the PACs of some powerful industry players who could come before the Energy and Commerce Committee, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast and NBC Universal, Google and Microsoft.

Leadership PACS are not just about receiving money, but about being able to spend cash, too, specifically in support of colleagues whose relationships could be professionally beneficial.

In her quarterly report, Eshoo revealed that she made donations to a number of her colleagues, including many in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable members. Members who received donations from Eshoo’s PAC include Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, John F. Tierney of Massachusetts, Raul Ruiz of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Ami Bera of California.

Full story

April 10, 2014

House Oversight Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt (Video)

irs hearing020 052213 445x296 House Oversight Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines Thursday to hold ex-IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.

The vote, coming as Congress heads out of town for a two-week recess, is the latest chapter in a year-long probe that has sparked some of the fiercest partisan clashes among panel members in recent memory — from cutting off the ranking member’s microphone as he sought to speak to comparing the chairman to Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wis.

Full story

April 4, 2014

Jim Moran, John Boehner Sought Congressional Pay Raise Reform as Freshmen

moran001 080191 445x291 Jim Moran, John Boehner Sought Congressional Pay Raise Reform as Freshmen

(Maureen Keating/Roll Call File Photo)

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in Roll Call on Aug. 5, 1991. We discovered it when looking for archival photos of Rep. James P. Moran, who made headlines by telling CQ Roll Call reporter Hannah Hess that members of Congress are “underpaid.” Moran, actually one of Congress’ poorest members, is retiring instead of seeking a 13th term.

Turns out Moran was among a group of freshmen calling for pay raise changes in an effort spearheaded by now-Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. (The effort was successful. The 27th Amendment was ratified a year later, in 1992.) The caption on the photo caught our attention and is priceless. It reads: Some 35 of this year’s 45 House freshmen are calling for changes in the way Congress works. They’re doing it now, they say, before they get co-opted by the system themselves. At a Thursday press conference (from left) Reps. Larry LaRocco, Jim Moran and Rick Santorum.

Full story as it appeared on page 3 nearly 23 years ago below.

Freshmen Ask Limit on Pay-Raise Power Of Congress as Part of Broader Reforms

By Karen Foerstel

Three-quarters of House freshmen have signed onto a resolution to limit the pay-raise authority of Congress.

The move is part of a broader effort by 35 of the 48 freshmen in the Class of 1990 to reform the way Congress works. They say they want to act now — before they themselves become entrenched in the system.

Full story

April 1, 2014

Highest Ranking Latino in Congress, Xavier Becerra Comes Into His Own

dems004 011414 445x305 Highest Ranking Latino in Congress, Xavier Becerra Comes Into His Own

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, April 2, 1:15 p.m. | In 2001, just shy of a decade in the House, Rep. Xavier Becerra suggested he was more of a policy wonk than a power broker.

“I understand the politics,” he told a Los Angeles Times reporter. “I’m not the best at playing the game.”

Thirteen years later, whether he was being self-effacing or somewhat disingenuous is debatable. But one thing’s become clear in the intervening decade: As a political operator, Becerra’s come into his own.

Full story

March 27, 2014

Secret ‘Doc Fix’ Deal Angers Rank and File (Video)

Screen Shot 2014 03 27 at 2.25.23 PM 445x251 Secret Doc Fix Deal Angers Rank and File (Video)

(Screengrab)

The House on Thursday passed a bill that likely did not have the votes to pass.

It was clear that a bill to avert a pay hike for doctors was short on support, so Republican leaders struck a closed-door agreement with Democrats to pass the bill by voice vote while members were not yet in the chamber, according to members and aides from both parties.

The bipartisan power move to hold a voice vote allowed members to avoid a tough roll call, which would have forced them either to vote for a bill they do not support or allow doctors who treat Medicare patients to take a pay cut, incensing powerful outside interests.

The tactic flies in the face of Speaker John A. Boehner’s pledge to be a transparent and rule-abiding Congress, members and aides said.

“I’ve seen a lot of dumb things, but I’ve never seen anything quite as comical as this,” Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., the longest serving member in the history of Congress, told CQ Roll Call.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., said House leaders essentially passed the bill while members’ backs were turned. “No one objected. No one was there to object,” he said.

Full story

March 4, 2014

Pelosi-Hoyer Rivalry Flares Anew With Eshoo-Pallone Fight

The long-running leadership rivalry between House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is flaring anew as the two Democrats take different sides in the fight over who will be the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee

On Tuesday, Hoyer said he would back New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California as the panel’s top Democrat in the 114th Congress.

“I’m not going to get into this publicly other than to say that I have historically been for the ranking member, the senior member, if that member is capable and able and if that member has contributed significantly to the legislative product, to the party efforts, and I think Frank Pallone has done all of those, but I’m not going to get into it further than that,” Hoyer said in his weekly media briefing. Pallone is the No. 3 Democrat on the committee.

Word had been circulating that Hoyer was supporting Pallone behind the scenes. The Maryland Democrat’s delicate articulation of support for Pallone is in stark contrast to Pelosi’s endorsement last week of fellow California Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, which she made with significant fanfare in a strongly worded letter circulated among her colleagues. Eshoo is No. 5 in seniority on the panel.

It’s uncommon for party stalwarts to insert themselves in committee races, particularly this early in the game — members won’t vote on committee assignments until after the midterm elections. It was also another break from the party’s usual deference to seniority.

But Pelosi’s unexpected decision to intervene on Eshoo’s behalf was a game-changer: What was at first a face-off between Eshoo and Pallone could now become another showdown between Pelosi and Hoyer, rivals who have often fought for the most influence among members of the House Democratic Caucus.

February 28, 2014

Kevin Brady Challenging Paul Ryan for Ways and Means Chairmanship

sotu080 012814 445x296 Kevin Brady Challenging Paul Ryan for Ways and Means Chairmanship

Brady has put his hat in the ring for the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan has said he wants the Ways and Means Committee gavel next year, but the Wisconsin Republican will face a challenge from Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

Brady, the current chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, told columnist Al Hunt in an interview that will air Friday evening that he wants the top slot on the Ways and Means Committee, where he is currently the No. 2 Republican.

Reigning Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., must relinquish his title next year due to term limits.

Full story

January 27, 2014

Trey Radel’s Resignation Expected to End Ethics Investigation

radel112013 445x296 Trey Radels Resignation Expected to End Ethics Investigation

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When embattled Florida Rep. Trey Radel ends his tenure in Congress at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the House Ethics Committee is also expected to end its investigation into the Republican freshman’s arrest for cocaine possession.

That’s just the way it goes: The bipartisan panel of House lawmakers is vested with the task of policing its own and when a member leaves office, he or she is no longer a peer to be policed — even if an investigation was already in the works.

But that isn’t stopping one of Washington, D.C.’s loudest critics of the House’s ethics process from preempting the committee’s closure of the case with calls to see the probe all the way through. Full story

January 13, 2014

A Few Highlights — Or Lowlights — From the Omnibus

On Monday evening, appropriators from both chambers unveiled a massive omnibus spending bill to fund the government through the end of September, the culmination of just a few weeks of work and bipartisan negotiations.

The House is expected to pass the 1,582-page package of all 12 appropriations bills this week, if for no other reason than to dispel anxiety over another government shutdown and encourage a return to the age of “regular order.”

But, as with any major piece of legislation, the final product necessitated some compromises, and there are policy riders that are sure to ruffle feathers from members on both sides of the aisle — even if they won’t be enough to sink the whole ship.

Here are a handful of the provisions House lawmakers will have to swallow in the name of passing the spending bill: Full story

January 3, 2014

Cantor Lays Out January Legislative Agenda

GOP leadership conference 13 102913 445x295 Cantor Lays Out January Legislative Agenda

Cantor, center, outlined the House’s January legislative agenda on Friday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House will have a busy January judging by the lengthy legislative agenda Majority Leader Eric Cantor circulated among his colleagues on Friday.

The Virginia Republican’s memo, obtained by 218, lays out the obvious items of business: passing conference reports for the farm bill and for legislation funding the nation’s water programs, plus an appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal 2014.

The GOP-run House will also continue to assail the president’s health care law, starting next week with a measure to address potential security breaches on HealthCare.gov. Cantor released a memo on that specific priority on Thursday.

Cantor also told lawmakers to familiarize themselves with other initiatives that could come to the floor in the weeks ahead, such as a possible Iran sanctions resolution that has been on the back-burner since late last year.

Full story

December 2, 2013

Could the Sympathy Card Help Trey Radel Keep His Job?

radel 098 112013 445x296 Could the Sympathy Card Help Trey Radel Keep His Job?

Radel, center, leaves court last month after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Weeks after news of his cocaine bust broke, Rep. Trey Radel continues to cling to his seat in Congress in what could ultimately become a testament to the changing mores on Capitol Hill.

The Florida Republican, who checked himself into rehab last month, has faced his fair share of calls to resign — notably from home-state Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry.

Some of his congressional colleagues from Florida also wonder why he is sticking around.

“I don’t know the depth of his problem or his situation that well. If it were me, I would probably realize there’s a lot more to life than being a member of Congress and getting my life in order is the priority,” said Florida Republican Rep. Dennis A. Ross. “But I don’t think that anybody can put themselves in his shoes.”

“When you have a member of Congress who might go to rehab because they’re an alcoholic, that’s one thing,” said GOP Rep. Tom Rooney, whose district neighbors Radel’s. “I think that’s admirable. Coming from a family that has alcoholism in it, I’ve seen my share of people that I love go through addiction and rehabilitation. But when you do it as a result of a crime, how is that different?”

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., appear content to let the voters decide whether Radel’s punishment will extend beyond probation and a $250 fine. Neither is calling for his resignation or for any significant punishment, such as removal from committee assignments, nor have they issued general statements of condemnation. Full story

November 21, 2013

Congressional Black Caucus Cheers Senate Rules Change

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was the man who made the call to “go nuclear” and change the chamber’s filibuster rules, but the Congressional Black Caucus gave the chamber a push with a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign.

“We’ve been active in terms of calling our senators,” said Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, in a phone interview with CQ Roll Call on Thursday afternoon. “We have probably spoken with just about every senator in the past few weeks and months about how this needed to change.”

“I was on the phone with senators yesterday,” piped in Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who was also on the call, adding that the lobbying was done quietly and was under the radar.

Norton heads up the CBC’s Judicial Nominations Working Group, and on Wednesday she helped lead a strategy session with members to put pressure on the Senate to free nominations that have been languishing for months.

At that point, they didn’t know how close they were to a resolution.

“We really did not know,” Fudge said. “We got some word yesterday that something was going to happen, but we didn’t get anything definitive.

“There was so much joy in the room,” she added, speaking about a meeting that Reid held with filibuster overhaul activists on Thursday afternoon that included Fudge, Norton and more than a dozen other CBC members.

Senate Republicans, who all opposed the rules change, have said they were voting down nominees that would fill seats that are unnecessary.

Democrats have called the tactic a bald attempt to undermine President Barack Obama’s authority.

The CBC has argued that there has been an underlying issue of race, with two high-profile African-American nominees among those blocked: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Robert L. Wilkins and Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

“Frankly, it was an insult to a colleague not to allow a vote on a sitting member of Congress,” Norton said of Watt, “and it turned out to be an African-American sitting member of Congress, so it really got our attention.”

Fudge said she hadn’t gotten any intelligence from Reid or other members of Senate Democratic leadership as to when votes on Watt, Wilkins and others would come to the floor, but that the hope is for them to advance swiftly, starting when Congress returns from the Thanksgiving break.

CBC Amps Up Pressure on Reid to ‘Go Nuclear’

Senate Democrats are on the brink of going “nuclear” to block GOP filibusters of judicial nominees, and the Congressional Black Caucus stands ready to help.

The CBC, made up entirely of House Democrats, will have that chance on Thursday afternoon, when Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio is expected to join with other supporters of changing filibuster rules to hear from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., “his thinking” on lowering the threshold for confirming judicial nominations — according to a memo obtained by CQ Roll Call.

That meeting comes on the heels of a CBC meeting on Wednesday, where members began to plot out how to confirm a whole roster of nominations to high-level executive and judicial branch posts — especially those who are African-American.

The Senate GOP has been voting down advancing those nominations, arguing that the candidates are ill-qualified or that the positions themselves are not necessary. Democrats counter that the “no” votes are aimed at hampering President Barack Obama’s authority; CBC members say there’s an underlying issue of race.

“There are more than 50 judicial nominations that are being held up by the Senate and certainly a large portion of them are minority people,” said Fudge in a brief interview with CQ Roll Call on Wednesday afternoon. “They’re women, they’re African-Americans, they’re Hispanic, they’re gay, so it kind of runs the gamut. And so we believe that it’s time for us to express our views publicly as to what is going on in the Senate and encourage Senator Reid to take whatever steps are necessary to get these people confirmed.”

The CBC is, in particular, still reeling from the blocked confirmation vote of African-American Judge Robert L. Wilkins to sit on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the filibuster of Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., also a member of the CBC, to serve as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Although Fudge did not get into specifics of the strategy, she suggested that approach will be two-pronged, with the CBC making “public statements” along with exerting pressure on the Senate.

“We want to make sure this stays on the front of everyone’s minds, make sure that until they do something to confirm these people that nobody forgets that these people have been languishing out here, some of them for almost a year or better,” Fudge said. “We’re gonna do everything in our power to let people know how obstructionist [Senate Republicans] are, how much they disrespect the president of the United States and how they don’t even want to comply with the constitution they say they support.”

Fudge also suggested that there would be efforts to get other congressional caucuses involved, such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Asian Pacific American Caucus.

November 6, 2013

A Conversation With Pete Sessions — 7 Outtakes

sessions 312 102913 330x219 A Conversation With Pete Sessions — 7 Outtakes

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, sat down with your 218 hosts last week to talk shutdown policy, electoral politics, Eagle Scouts and bipartisan pie. It was an hour full of colorful anecdotes and noteworthy perspectives laid out against the backdrop of a roaring fire — but not everything could make it into our profile of the Rules Committee chairman.

So the blog is sharing seven outtakes, which we hope give you an even deeper look at the lawmaker.

1) On the reports that he told President Barack Obama, in a closed-door meeting at the White House, “I cannot even stand to look at you”:

“I didn’t ask for an apology,” Sessions said. “I didn’t ask for anything.”

Calling the event “most regrettable” and “untrue,” he paraphrased what he really told the president.

“It’s just real simple. I told the president I believe that leaders, this issue, will require leadership, and that means a person bringing their full attention to the matter. … You lead people away from danger. You lead people away from chaos. You lead people to consensus. You lead people to where they can be successful.”

2) On the differences between being the Rules Committee chairman and the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, a role he held for two terms:

“[As NRCC chairman] you tend to look at everybody’s votes. I look at the demeanor of the floor now. I’d like us to keep this to where we aren’t viewed in a way that’s a fist fight. And I think what we do up here has a direct relationship to the floor. … With every new job comes a new responsibility. And I think my responsibility is to a collegiality on the floor of the House of Representatives. And you will rarely see me lead an attack or an assault. You will see me on the floor trying to work with people, trying to acknowledge ideas.”

3) Sessions thinks how he runs the Rules Committee has a direct correlation to public opinion of the House of Representatives, but he said low approval ratings might have to do with the days of Democratic control.

“That’s why I so desperately wanted to replace the Democrats who wouldn’t allow debate, who would pass bills without reading them, who would not allow the debate nor allow members to come up and give testimony and would announce ahead of time what the outcome would be. So yeah, I hated it, I detested that as a member.”

4) On the question of whether Rules is Session’s committee or leadership’s committee:

“This team here is the speaker’s team, but it’s my team, too, and it’s up to me to get us to understand what we’re doing. There’s nothing worse than doing something where you can’t ask questions or you don’t know what it is, and we’ve got a very smart and savvy group of people. Look, we may be up here to bust a lot of rocks but I want us to understand why we’re up here what we’re doing and what the practical effect is. … No one else has to do this and these men and women are on the firing line. You bet they are.”

5) On his relationship with Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., the Rules Committee ranking member and who was a longtime panel chairwoman:

“I believe that Louise and I sincerely have a good understanding about what her role was and what my role is and I respect the heck out of her. And I know she knows I want to work with her. I’ll even show up down at her office to meet with her … [and] she brought a pie up here to us. Notwithstanding she’s married, I am too, we like each other.”

6) Protesting the rejection of his amendment to the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, Rules Committee Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts demanded the panel take roll call votes on 86 separate amendments he wanted considered on the House floor. Late into the night and halfway through the exercise, Sessions said McGovern’s behavior “makes me wonder if someone has been drinking tonight.”

Sessions immediately remembered the incident:

“I encouraged somebody to be less agitated and more thoughtful. That’s all I was trying to do. At the end of the hour, I figured out he was in it for the long haul. So I kind of, I guess you could say, I cut through the bullshit real fast, didn’t I? I will cut through bullshit real fast. Well, I’ll call bullshit where it exists.”

7) On being an Eagle Scout and being inspired by the resilience and determination of his son who has Down syndrome:

“There are qualities of leadership that were learned there about how you work with people, how you set standards, how you are honest about what you’re doing, and if you’re a leader, you lead. You’ve been given that responsibility, otherwise call yourself just a normal person. If you’re a leader, you have to do things. My scouting background taught me of how important people are. Diversity of views. Having a disabled son. He wanted things just as much as I did.”

He pointed to a picture of his son on his office wall.

“I mean, back there, see, where he’s got that sash on? He wanted that sash because big boys wear it. But he had to earn it. And he wanted that sash more than anything. And he, even as a young man who may not be able to think and do things, he was really focused on that. And really proud of that.”

October 5, 2013

House Democrats Make GOP Leaders an Offer They Can Refuse

On day five of the government shutdown and Congress’s second consecutive Saturday session, House Democrats made more overtures to Republicans in an effort to keep the pressure on them and show the outside world that they are willing to negotiate.

Whether the GOP is prepared to bite, or whether Democrats are making the kind of concessions necessary to satisfy a small group of centrist Republicans who want very specific sweeteners as conditions of voting to reopen the government or raise the debt limit, remain to be seen.

Democrats announced Saturday that, in exchange for Republicans appointing conferees to hash out a long dormant budget resolution, they would forfeit their right to offer a “motion to instruct” the House conferees. That’s a tactic minority lawmakers are allowed to employ if a conference report hasn’t been filed within 20 days of appointing conferees. It’s also one of the few devices available to the minority party to break majority hegemony in the House.

A motion to instruct, while non-binding, would essentially tell conferees to take a certain position in the House-Senate conference negotiations. It’s often designed to put members on record on a politically loaded position.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said last April that he was reluctant to appoint conferees because motions to instruct “become politically motivated bombs to throw up on the House floor.”

“We will give up that right,” said the Budget Committee’s ranking member, Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on Saturday.

A conference on the budget would be a victory for House and Senate Democrats, who have been clamoring for the opportunity to negotiate with Republicans on a comprehensive spending blueprint before passing individual spending bills in their respective chambers.

The timing of finally convening a bicameral budget conference would also be significant given the current Oct. 17 deadline for Congress to agree on legislation to raise the debt limit. It’s becoming likely that the debt limit will be rolled into a package that also contains a government-funding continuing resolution along with some provisions on deficit reduction.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she made Boehner aware on Saturday morning that Democrats were prepared to take the threat of a motion to instruct off the table if Republicans would go forward with appointing budget conferees. She said Boehner “knows it’s a good faith effort on our front.”

But the speaker remained unmoved.

“At this point, it’s Senate Democrats and the President who are blocking progress on reopening the government and providing the American people fairness under ObamaCare,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel in an email to CQ Roll Call.

Doug Heye, a spokesman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was similarly oblique on what Republican leadership thinks of Pelosi’s offer: ”What Washington needs to do is come together and talk so we can re-open our government, and that is exactly the House Republicans’ focus.”

Almost 20 House Republicans have said they would support a “clean” CR, and they have expressed interest in creating a more hospitable environment for spending negotiations between the two parties. On Saturday, Democrats made sure to let those Republicans know they won’t be let off the hook for not engaging in the minority party’s efforts.

“We are holding [them] accountable,” said Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “You cannot act like an independent pit bull at home and act like a tea party lapdog in Washington.”

Earlier this week, Democrats began to circulate for signatures a letter calling on Boehner to bring a “clean,” short-term continuing resolution to the floor. They announced Saturday that they had garnered 200 Democratic signatures (195 excluding five non-voting delegates). No Republicans have signed on so far.

On Friday, Democrats offered a “discharge petition” to force a vote on a clean CR, which Republicans are also generally disinclined to support.

Currently, the only proposal which House Republicans will support on the record is one being spearheaded by leading GOP moderate Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and New Democrat Coalition Chairman Ron Kind of Wisconsin. That proposal calls for a six-month CR at sequester levels and a repeal of the medical device tax that funds parts of the health law. Dent said on Saturday that about 20 of his GOP colleagues were on board.

Democratic leadership isn’t excited about the idea, though, with Pelosi saying last week that she didn’t like a CR that maintained the sequester number for an extended length of time. Van Hollen reiterated that negotiations about issues such as taxes belong in the context of the budget, not a continuing resolution.

A handful of Republicans said Saturday that one impediment to moving this proposal forward lay in pressure from senior Democrats to members of their caucus not to endorse any solution to the fiscal impasse unless it involves a clean spending bill.

A Democratic leadership aide denied that any formal deterrents were taking place on the Dent-Kind initiative, and added that it made sense that it was the only proposal so far that would garner on-the-record support from significant number of Republicans.

“Of course Republicans like it best,” the aide said. “It repeals the medical device tax and it would hold their number longer.”

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