WASHINGTON — House GOP leaders unveiled their own plan today to counter an emerging Senate deal to reopen the government and forestall an economy-rattling default on U.S. obligations.
Top Republicans unveiled a plan that would suspend a new tax on medical devices for two years and take away the federal government’s contributions to lawmakers’ and top administration officials in addition to funding the government through Jan. 15 and letting Treasury borrow normally through Feb. 7.
The move came as a partial shutdown entered its third week and less than two days before the Treasury Department says it will be unable to borrow and will rely on a this cash cushion to pay the country’s bills.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Republicans planned to pass the measure today, but it could prove tricky because Democrats probably won’t support it. The House GOP plan wouldn’t win nearly as many concessions from President Barack Obama as Republicans had sought but it would set up another battle with the White House early next year.
The House move comes after conservative lawmakers rebelled at the outlines of an emerging Senate plan by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Those two hoped to seal an agreement today.
Like the House GOP bill, the emerging Senate measure — though not finalized — would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and letTreasury to borrow normally until early to mid-February, easing dual crises that have sapped confidence in the economy and taken a sledgehammer to the GOP’s poll numbers.
“There are productive negotiations going on with the Republican leader,” Reid said as he opened the Senate today. “I’m confident we’ll be able to reach a comprehensive agreement this week in time to avert a catastrophic default.”