Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

Senate Debt Limit Framework Emerges (Updated)

Updated 7:27 p.m. | Senate leaders appeared to be closing in on a framework for a deal to avert a default on the nation’s debt on Monday afternoon.

The emerging plan would reopen the government until Jan. 15, 2014, and extend the debt limit into February — but it would not address the medical device tax, which many Republicans and Democrats would like to repeal.

A source familiar with the negotiations explained that Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed to get the repeal of the tax removed from the negotiations. The Nevada Democrat has been a vocal opponent of repealing the excise tax, at one point calling the idea “stupid” at a news conference.

The White House also pushed back against including a medical device tax rollback in the deal.

It appeared likely that the deal would punt the question of turning off automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, to another round of budget talks, with a deadline of Dec. 15. But under one proposal, if the sequester came into effect there would be increased flexibility to deal with it.

Nothing’s finalized and things could change as talks continue, however. Senate Republicans had been expected to meet Monday evening, but that was delayed until late Tuesday morning due to concerns about attendance.

It looks like talks are leading toward including a requirement that the Health and Human Services Department certify that the agency is able to verify the incomes of those receiving subsidies to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

That win for Senate Republicans would be paired with a Democratic victory in delaying a scheduled reinsurance tax under Obamacare that would hit in 2014 and run for three calendar years in order to create a pool of reserve funds for insurance company losses.

Insurers in the exchanges are required to cover higher-risk individuals (such as those with pre-existing conditions). Unions had pushed for that delay.

It amounts to $63 per covered individual.

“The statute requires all health insurance issuers and third-party administrators on behalf of self-insured group health plans to make contributions under this program to support payments to individual market issuers that cover high-cost individuals (payment-eligible issuers),” the Internal Revenue Service said in a fact sheet explaining that tax.

  • breaux

    DEFUND AMERICA

    • DownriverDem

      How old are you?

    • Glenn Bateman

      Why do you TeaPublicans hate America so much?

    • Del

      Defund YOUR FACE.

  • MrSmith

    Wow ABC/Post poll shows Dems losing 1% of independent’s approval every day! Both parties losing 1% of moderates every day!
    Harry’ll take the Collins bill if McConnell will still let him. Don’t Mitch: “It’s a trap!”
    In an ideal world debt bills would have to come from the House the same as spending bills. They’re really the same thing.

    • mjcc1987

      Actually, it’s much better. There really is not debt ceiling and Americans will great us as liberators………………… Do you have the latest unskewed polls showing Romney won?

      • MrSmith

        A liberal democrat is calling an ABC/Washington Post poll ‘skewed’? That says something.
        Take a look, there’s good news for democrats there too.
        http://www.langerresearch.com/uploads/1144a30ShutdownWeek%20II.pdf

        • NCSteve

          I believe MJCC was engaging in a bit of sarcasm about the idea that the numbers in that poll spell anything other than absolute, unmitigated disaster for Republicans.

        • malevolentmuse

          Do we need to hold up a “sarcasm” sign for you?

  • TedCruz2016

    Teabaggers lose again!

    • http://www.ajharaldson.com/ Andy Haraldson

      And democrats who think they’ve won don’t even know what side their on anymore.

      • Commie Dearest

        “…what side they’re on…”

  • gobaers

    $63 per month? Year? Unclear.

    • daenku32

      Google-Fu tell me it’s per Year, or $5.25 per month.

  • Anonymous Coward

    “The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body”? Funniest blog title ever!

  • voreason3

    Are you kidding me? The government will be reopened for 3 months and the debt ceiling raised for four?

    The government will be open just long enough to close again right when the next round of NIH grant deadlines occur (the Oct. deadlines have all been shredded). This nonsense is killing us.

    What in the hell is going on in this ridiculous country?

    • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

      Idiots keep voting for Republicans. Why do you ask?

      • Marc

        No it is the low information voters that keep voting Democrat.

        • Del

          lol, okay.

        • Commie Dearest

          Irony alert!

  • daenku32

    Gets us just so much closer to next Election cycle. The GOP can keep shooting themselves in the foot in quarterly intervals.

  • texasaggie

    I can understand why they would object to removing the medical equipment tax. The companies that make them, like GE, are going to have a windfall from Obamacare, and it wouldn’t hurt them to return a bit to the pot, especially since many of them, especially GE, have worked the system to avoid paying income taxes at the level they should. This means that at least in this area, they have to pay.

    • Commie Dearest

      Agree, but big Pharma should also be paying.

  • neroden

    This would be a completely idiotic cave-in. The debt limit needs to be revoked entirely, or at least raised enough to last until the next election is over (January 20*15*) and the government needs to be reopened equally long.

    Stop giving in to the demands of terrorists, Senator Reid.

  • mac1546

    So we get to repeat this soap opera after the holidays.

  • Marc Cantell

    You can’t allow this to happen, Obama cannot have a blank check. Obama needs to be held accountable, and in reality he needs a kick in the pants for being a total incompetent. The only thing obama has done for america is use our tax paying dollars so he could live a lavish life, he needs to go and we need to make sure that our representatives understand this, and for those that do not its time to remove them as well. We need to be pro America, not pro Party

  • David Phillips

    Awesome! As a federal employee I’ll scramble for four weeks to get things back on course before the holiday lull sets in, then I’ll be back to making contingencies professionally and personally for the next shutdown right after the new year starts. This is no way to treat the beneficiaries of government services or the civil servants who provide them.

  • Paul Burke

    Good for republicans for making Health and Human Services verify incomes – they just created sensible regulation and created new jobs!

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