Shutdown Live-Blog: Boehner's Latest Plan Appears to Crumble

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 15 2013 7:10 PM

Shutdown Live-Blog: Boehner's Latest Plan Appears to Crumble

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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on the 14th day of the partial federal government shutdown October 14, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It's Day 15 of the government shutdown. T-minus-2 days until Oct. 17, which Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has marked as the day the U.S. government will reach its borrowing limit. A bipartisan deal to turn the government's lights back on and to avoid default—at least temporarily—continued to emerge in the Senate this morning, but there's little to suggest that the conservative House Republicans who prompted this showdown are ready to call it quits just yet.

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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 incremental action, rumors, links, and theories floating around inside the Beltway and out of it.

7:10 p.m.: House GOP Says "Game Off," Calls it a Day, via Washington Post:

“We are done for the night,” Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) just told the Washington Post’s Jackie Kucinich.

5:55 p.m.: Boehner's Latest Plan Appears to Crumble:

House GOP leaders have indefinitely delayed a Rules Committee hearing slated for this evening that would have set the stage for John Boehner's latest plan to come up for a full vote later tonight, Politico reports.

Boehner's proposal appears to have failed to appease the most conservative members of his caucus, who likewise shot down a similar plan from the speaker earlier today. National Review's Robert Costa reports that one unnamed Hill staffer who was familiar with the internal GOP whip count on the latest proposal summed things up like so shortly before the announcement: "They know that it is f*****d."

The decision to delay the rules hearing makes a full vote tonight unlikely at best, and is the latest in a string of signs that House Republicans are in disarray as the nation slowly inches closer and closer to the debt ceiling.

5:40 p.m.: The Details of Boehner's New Plan that—Even If It Passes the House—Is DOA In the Senate, via WSJ:

House Republicans on Tuesday afternoon said they were preparing a new proposal they hoped to put to a vote tonight, after running into resistance within their own ranks to a plan that was unveiled earlier in the day. GOP aides said the latest plan would increase the nation's borrowing limit until Feb. 7, 2014, similar to a Senate plan, but would open the government until Dec. 15, one month less than the Senate's would do. Senate leaders took a pause in their talks, waiting to see how the House efforts pan out.
To eliminate wiggle room around the next debt ceiling increase, Treasury Department officials, under the House's proposal, would temporarily not be allowed to take emergency steps to stay under the debt ceiling beyond the February date, aides said. That would mark a step back for House Republicans, who had previously pushed to permanently eliminate that flexibility for the Obama administration.
Democrats quickly rejected details of the latest plan from House Republicans.

4:40 p.m.: House Will Vote Later Tonight, via Boehner spokesman Michael Steel (by way of WaPo):

"The House will vote tonight to reopen the government and avoid default. After listening to members at conference this morning, House Republican leaders will bring a plan to the floor which will end the Obamacare subsidies for elected officials and staff in Washington, D.C., and pressure Senate Democrats to accept more sensible dates for the CR and the debt limit."

4:04 p.m.: For Those Just Joining Us, a Quick Recap, via NYT:

Negotiations to reopen the government and avert a possible default just two days away were temporarily suspended Tuesday, and Senate Republicans emerged from a closed-door lunch saying they had to wait to see if their struggling House counterparts could still come up with their own plan.
House Republican leaders, who had appeared stymied in their efforts earlier in the day, rushed out a new proposal Tuesday afternoon that would reopen the government through Dec. 15, extend the government’s borrowing authority until Feb. 7 and eliminate government contributions to lawmakers, White House officials and their staffs for their purchases of health insurance on the new insurance exchanges. ... Speaker John A. Boehner was hoping to bring a bill to a vote as early as Tuesday evening.
The continuing efforts by the House to reach agreement on a proposal put a halt to talks in the Senate after negotiators had appeared to be closing in on a deal. ... At this point, the arguments have devolved from a major partisan showdown over the fate of Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement to issues reduced in scope: whether White House and Congressional staff members be denied employer contributions to purchase their health care; whether a tax on medical devices, opposed by lawmakers in both parties, should be repealed, delayed for two years, or left alone; and whether a tax on self-insurers — large businesses and unions — that enter the health insurance exchanges should remain in force. But if the issues seem small, the fights — largely now within the Republican Party — seem to be raging unabated.

3:20 p.m.: Boehner Still Hoping to Hold a Vote, via Politco:

House Republican leaders are moving forward with a bill Tuesday to lift the debt ceiling, reopen government and enact a host of other policies.
The bill is expected to be marked up in the House Rules Committee late Tuesday afternoon, and will make its way to the floor Tuesday evening. Republican leadership has not formally whipped the bill, and they are not sure it will pass the House. If it does, Senate Democrats have made clear the measure has no chance on the other side of the Capitol. It’s unclear whether the two chambers will be able to agree on a budget deal before the U.S. exhausts its borrowing authority on Thursday.

2:04 p.m.: The Republican Rank-and-File's Lengthy Wish List For the Next House Bill, via WaPo:

One concern, several said, was that House Republicans were proposing to eliminate employer health-care contributions for White House staff and members of Congress, but not Congressional staffers. Some conservatives believed it would be more fair to apply the measure to Congressional staffers.
Others wanted the bill to include spending cuts or entitlement reforms. Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said some members were seeking to add the “conscience clause” to the proposal — removing a provision under the federal health care law that requires insurance plans cover contraception. And other members objected to accepting the key Jan. 15 and Feb. 7 dates envisioned in Senate negotiations.

12:52 p.m.: House Confusion Is Now Slowing Down the Senate Plan Too, via Politico:

Fast-paced Senate talks to reopen the government and avert a default came to a temporary halt Tuesday as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell waited to see whether House Republicans could pass their latest proposal [which still hasn't been finalized after this morning's setback]. ...
If the House fails to adopt the plan Tuesday evening, then the McConnell-Reid negotiations would resume. House Speaker John Bohener’s failure would strengthen McConnell’s ability to sell the Senate proposal as the last, best possible deal for his party to end the fiscal crisis. But if the House passes its bill, then McConnell is in a far trickier position. He could demand passage of a House GOP bill Reid and the White House strongly oppose — or he could try to cut a bipartisan deal that many House conservatives are already balking at.

11:40 a.m.: So Much for the New House Plan, via NYT:

House Republican leaders struggled on Tuesday to craft a new proposal to re-open the government and alter parts of the president’s health care law after a plan presented behind closed doors to the Republican rank-and-file failed to attract enough support immediately to pass. After more than two hours, Republican leaders walked back from a plan that had emerged this morning. Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters there are “no decisions about what exactly we will do.” ...
The apparent disarray left Mr. Boehner with a crucial decision as time ticked down toward a possible default on government obligations on Thursday. Does he accept whatever bipartisan plan emerges from the Senate, likely on Tuesday, or does he continue to try to get his troops in line behind a counterproposal that still does not exist?

11:15 a.m.: White House Isn't Biting on House Plan, via Washington Post:

It sounds like the White House is not on-board with the House GOP’s proposed changes to the Senate package. In a statement, White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage labels the House’s proposal another “ransom.”
“The president has said repeatedly that members of Congress don’t get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation’s bills. Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place,” Brundage said. “Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been working in a bipartisan, good-faith effort to end the manufactured crises that have already harmed American families and business owners. With only a couple days remaining until the United States exhausts its borrowing authority, it’s time for the House to do the same.”

10:55 a.m.: More on the House Plan, via the New York Times:

Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, said the House proposal would include a two-year delay of a tax on medical devices and would eliminate subsidies for health care coverage for members of Congress and the president, but, notably, not for Congressional staff, as some conservatives have pushed for.
“We think we’ve enhanced it in a number of ways,” Mr. Issa said, referring the Senate plan. He added that he believed House Republicans were solidly behind the new bill, telling reporters that they opened their meeting Tuesday morning by singing “Amazing Grace.”
But it was far from clear whether enough House Republicans, a group that is deeply divided over raising the debt ceiling at all, would get behind the plan.

9:55 a.m.: The House's Counter Offer, via Politico:

House Republicans will move their own debt ceiling and government funding bill, GOP leaders announced in a closed meeting Tuesday. The bill will delay Obamacare's medical device tax for two years, install income verification for Obamacare subsidies and have language to cancel health insurance subsidies for members of Congress and the presidential Cabinet. Government funding will run until January 15 and the debt ceiling will be lifted until February 7.

9:40 a.m.: The House Revolt, via National Review's Robert Costa:

House conservatives are bashing [the emerging Senate deal] behind the scenes, and they’re pushing leadership to reject the compromise. A flurry of phone calls and meetings last night and early this morning led to that consensus among the approximately 50 Republicans who form the House GOP’s right flank. They’re furious with Senate Republicans for working with Democrats to craft what one leading tea-party congressman calls a “mushy piece of s**t.” Another House conservative warns, “If Boehner backs this, as is, he’s in trouble.”
But that’s unlikely to happen. As of 8:30 a.m., House conservatives believe the leadership is well aware of their unhappiness, and they expect Boehner to talk up the House’s next move: another volley to the Senate, which would extend the debt ceiling, reopen the government, and set up a budget conference, plus request conservative demands that go beyond the Senate’s outline.

9:33 a.m.: What's Happening in the Senate, via Washington Post:

The Senate’s Republican caucus is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday to consider an emerging deal to raise the federal debt limit and end the two-week-old government shutdown, just days before the Treasury Department exhausts its ability to borrow.
The agreement — which, if finalized, could be formally presented on the Senate floor as soon as Tuesday afternoon — would extend the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority until Feb. 7, reopen the government and fund federal agencies through mid-January, according to aides and lawmakers familiar with the negotiations.
In the meantime, policymakers would launch a new round of talks over broader budget issues in hopes of developing a plan to replace deep automatic spending cuts known as the sequester before Jan. 15. That is when the next round of sequester cuts is scheduled to slice an additional $20 billion out of agency budgets, primarily from the Pentagon.

9:15 a.m.: This Can't Be a Good Sign For a Still-In-The-Works Senate Deal, via Roll Call:

Sen. Ted Cruz met with roughly 15 to 20 House Republicans for around two hours late Monday night at the Capitol Hill watering hole Tortilla Coast.
The group appeared to be talking strategy about how they should respond to a tentative Senate deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling without addressing Obamacare in a substantive way, according to sources who witnessed the gathering. The Texas Republican senator and many of the House Republicans in attendance had insisted on including amendments aimed at dismantling Obamacare in the continuing resolution that was intended to avert the current shutdown.
Sources said the House Republicans meeting in the basement of Tortilla Coast with Cruz were some of the most conservative in the House: Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Steve Southerland II of Florida, Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Justin Amash of Michigan. The group is a collection of members who have often given leadership headaches in recent years by opposing both compromise measures as well as packages crafted by fellow Republicans. And, it seems, leadership unwittingly became aware of the meetup.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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