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October 10, 2013 4:04 PM Senate GOPers Add To the Crazy Mix

By Ed Kilgore

Even before we can be sure the House GOP is offering (and will actually themselves vote for) a “clean” short-term debt-limit increase, and also before we figure out how this fits into a planned Senate Democratic effort to pass a “clean” long-term debt-limit increase, Senate Republicans are putting in their own bid, as reported by The Hill’s Alexander Bolton:

Senate Republicans are unhappy with a House GOP plan to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks without funding the federal government. They are coalescing around their own proposal to pair a short-term debt-ceiling increase with a year-long stopgap to fund the government.
Under their plan, government would be funded for a year at the $967 billion level set by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
The package would also include a repeal of ObamaCare’s medical-device tax and language to require income verification of people who apply for healthcare subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, say GOP sources familiar with the talks.
Some Senate Republicans are willing to extend the debt limit for as long as six months, while others say the extension should only last for a few months.
Republican lawmakers say Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who did not support the push to shut down the government in order to win concessions on ObamaCare, is at the center of the talks.

I guess this is a positive development if you are a federal employee or contractor or someone receiving the more vulnerable forms of federal benefits, and figured the Boehner proposal meant you had been sacrificed to the patriotic need to prevent a debt default. It’s quite possible many Democrats would prefer it, particularly those who have always been willing to throw the medical-device tax over the side. But even (or perhaps particularly) if Barack Obama and Harry Reid got on board, Ted Cruz and his legions would go crazy, and it’s unlikely it would survive invocation of the Hastert Rule in the House. So like nearly every other compromise imaginable in today’s Washington, we can forget about it unless Boehner is willing to pass major legislation with Democratic votes over the wishes of his own conference.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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