Welcome to Day 11 of the shutdown. Thursday didn't end in a deal on either restarting the government or lifting the debt ceiling, but the day's action left optimistic Beltway watchers believing that both sides are slowly inching toward an agreement that would do both. Those with half-empty glasses, meanwhile, haven't forgotten that there remains a sizeable number of Republicans who have convinced themselves that breaching the debt ceiling isn't that big of a deal, and who likewise appear content to keep large swaths of the government shuttered until they win some type of concession from the White House.
John Dickerson, Dave Weigel, Matt Yglesias, and the rest of Slate will continue to bring you in-depth analysis from Washington. But below you'll find a running list of today's smaller developments, rumors, links, and theories floating around inside the Beltway and out of it.
6:40 p.m.: Not There Yet, via the Washington Post:
President Obama is rejecting a key element of House Republicans’ latest proposal to extend the federal debt ceiling, opposing a linkage between a short-term increase and negotiations on the budget, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.
Briefing reporters after financial markets closed for the week, Carney welcomed a “new willingness” among congressional Republicans to open the government and avoid default, but he said the president would not agree to tie budget negotiations to a six-week debt-limit extension. “It is our view that we cannot have a situation where the debt ceiling is extended as part of a budget negotiation process for only six weeks, which would put us right back in the same position that we’re in now,” Carney said.
4:35 p.m.: Close But No Deal Yet, via National Journal:
As House leadership inched toward brokering a short-term agreement Friday with the White House that would reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, uncertainty abounded on Capitol Hill due to a raft of alternative proposals that are being conflated by aides and lawmakers alike.
Aides to Speaker John Boehner have been working since Thursday night with the White House to iron out the details of a deal that could be presented to House Republicans as soon as Saturday morning at a special conference meeting. Members began speculating Friday afternoon about an agreement being imminent once House leadership announced there would be no further votes on Friday. ...
While both chambers are negotiating with the White House, the House appears to be focused on shorter-term solutions. Leadership is asking the White House to establish guidelines for comprehensive fiscal negotiations in exchange for reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling. Lawmakers expect both bills to include provisions that would allow conservatives to save face after swearing never to support a "clean" bill to resolve either crisis.
4:09 p.m.: The Phone Call, via Politico:
President Barack Obama spoke with House Speaker John Boehner on Friday but did not accept the House Republican plan to open the government, raise the debt ceiling and open budget talks, sources said. "The president and the speaker spoke by telephone a few minutes ago. They agreed that we should all keep talking," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner.
2:31 p.m.: Plenty of Optimism But No Specifics, via Politico:
Senate Republicans met with President Barack Obama for nearly two hours at the White House on Friday and were encouraged about the prospects for a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, but it remains unclear what such an agreement would entail. "We're on our way now to dealing with this issue," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) after the White House meeting. "The actual legislative piece, I don't think anybody actually knows that at present."
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is leading an effort to develop a framework that would reopen the government for six months or a year, repeal or delay the medical device tax and raise the debt ceiling, said there was openness to such a plan. "There is a willingness on the part of the administration to engage and turn negotiations into a long-term plan," Collins said.
2:01 p.m.: More on the House Offer, via The Hill:
The offer, made late Thursday night, would allow the House to vote as early as Friday on a six-week extension of the debt ceiling, a GOP leadership aide said. It would set up immediate negotiations to end the 11-day government shutdown, which would continue into the weekend.
The Republican offer would set up high-level talks on two tracks, the aide said: first, to reopen the government, and second, on a broader budget deal that would fund the government through 2014 and raise the debt ceiling. ... If the president accepts the GOP’s framework, the House could vote Friday on the short-term debt-ceiling hike. The entire House Republican conference also plans to meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
1:15 p.m.: What the White House Is Playing For, via WaPo's The Fix:
The current budget standstill is as much about the GOP insisting on concessions as it is about the White House trying to send a message – a message that it will accept nothing but so-called “clean” bills to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. The theory is that if the administration can hold out longer and win this battle cleanly (so to speak), it would set a precedent for future debates and prevent Republicans from trying to use the debt limit and the budget to make other changes. The stakes in the current debate are only raised because the White House sees it as a precedent-setter. The question is whether conservatives will be duly chastened or emboldened by the final outcome. It’s not clear that the White House is going to get exactly what it wants in this regard, but in the end, it’s still about who gets more.
11:55 a.m.: What the GOP Is Offering, via Associated Press:
Officials say House Republicans are offering to pass legislation to avert a default and end the partial government shutdown as part of a package that includes cuts in benefit programs. Senior aides to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor outlined the proposal at a late-night White House meeting Thursday with senior administration officials.
In addition to ending the shutdown and increasing the debt limit, the proposal includes an easing of the across-the-board spending cuts that began taking effect a year ago, and replacing them with curbs in benefit programs that Obama himself has backed. Among them is a plan to raise the cost of Medicare for better-off beneficiaries.
10:15 a.m.: Senate GOP Looks For a Way Out, via Politico:
After taking a back-seat role in this fall’s fiscal battles, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republican senators are quietly seeing whether they can break the political impasse between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.
Behind the scenes, the Kentucky Republican is gauging support within the Senate GOP Conference to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government in return for a handful of policy proposals. Among the ideas under serious consideration are a repeal of medical device tax in the health care law, a plan to verify that those seeking subsidies under Obamacare prove their income level and a proposal to grant additional flexibility to federal agencies to implement sequestration cuts.
The under-the-radar effort is the latest sign that Republicans in the Senate are actively looking for a new way out of a fiscal crisis that polls show is causing their party more harm in the eyes of voters.
9:45 a.m.: Negotiating About Negotiating, ABC News' Jonathan Karl:
Republicans made it clear Thursday night that they need something in exchange for agreeing to end the shutdown. The president told them that he could, in principle, offer only something that he would normally offer through the course of regular budget negotiations; in other words, nothing on Obamacare, no major spending concessions.
The bottom line: Republicans are working out the terms of their surrender and are attempting to get something for a standoff that has divided the party and cost dearly in the polls. On substance, it is Republicans who are giving in, although the president is now doing something he said he would not do: negotiate while the government is shutdown and there is a threat of default. He’s negotiating, but he’s made it clear he is not going to give much.
9:26 a.m.: Another All-Time Low for the Republicans, via NBC News:
The Republican Party has been badly damaged in the ongoing government shutdown and debt limit standoff, with a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finding that a majority of Americans blame the GOP for the shutdown, and with the party’s popularity declining to its lowest level.
By a 22-point margin (53 percent to 31 percent), the public blames the Republican Party more for the shutdown than President Barack Obama – a wider margin of blame for the GOP than the party received during the poll during the last shutdown in 1995-96. Just 24 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion about the GOP, and only 21 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, which are both at all-time lows in the history of poll. Read the full poll here (.pdf)
9:07 a.m.: How the White House-House GOP Meeting Went, via Politico:
President Barack Obama and House Republicans clashed in a meeting Thursday afternoon over how soon the government can be reopened, even as the GOP offered to lift the debt limit for six weeks, according to sources familiar with the session. House Republicans told Obama at the White House that they could reopen the federal government by early next week if the president and Senate Democrats agree to their debt-ceiling proposal. After the debt ceiling is lifted, a House GOP aide said they would seek some additional concessions in a government funding bill.
Obama repeatedly pressed House Republicans to open the government, asking them “what’s it going to take to” end the shutdown, those sources said. He questioned why the government should remain closed if both sides agreed to engage in good-faith negotiations on the budget, according to a Democratic source briefed on the meeting.
The meeting was described by both sides as cordial but inconclusive. Obama acknowledged to Republicans that notable progress had been made. Sources described the meeting without attribution, because the meeting was private.
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