Senate Leaders Close In on Budget Deal

by Andrew Stiles

Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell appear to be close to a deal that would reopen the government and raise the debt limit. Reports indicate that the (not yet finalized) agreement would extent the debt limit until early February, while funding the government through mid January at sequestration levels. The deal would also establish a bicameral conference committee on the budget, which would have to report back to Congress by December 13.

The deal is said to include a requirement that Obamacare enrollees verify their income in order prove their eligibility for health-care subsidies, something that was already mandated by the law as written, until the Obama administration decided to delay those requirements. The so-called reinsurance tax, a measure opposed by unions, may also be delayed as part of the agreement. Accounts vary as to whether a repeal or delay of the medical-device tax is also still on the table. It’s something Republicans have pushed for, but Reid is said to be demanding something in return.

Congressional leaders had planned to meet at the White House this afternoon, but the meeting was postponed in order to give negotiators more time to iron out a deal. Senators plan to convene on Tuesday to discuss the agreement during caucus lunches. 

Meanwhile, the path forward in the House remains very much up in the air. House majority leader Eric Cantor deflected questions about the emerging Senate deal on Monday, telling reporters: “We’ll be meeting with our members in the morning to discuss the way forward.”

The Corner

The one and only.