Well, it looks like House Republicans are back to the drawing board over what to do about the debt limit.
House Leadership has pulled the plug on proposals that would tie raising the debt ceiling to approval of the Keystone XL pipeline or eliminating the so-called risk corridors in the Affordable Care Act, because neither plan could reach 218 votes, according to a House aide with knowledge of the talks.
The debt limit has been suspended through Feb. 7, and the Treasury Department estimates it can take enough extraordinary measures to last through the end of the month before risking default.
Republicans may seek other priorities in exchange for raising the debt limit, but no clear strategy has emerged.
A number of Republicans have anticipated that the House will eventually vote on a clean debt-ceiling increase. Even conservatives such as Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho are saying that’s the path forward. “I actually think we should just do a clean debt ceiling,” he told reporters this week. “Give the Democrats their vote. We don’t have to vote for it.”
Another conservative, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, echoed that sentiment: “I think at the end of the day we’re basically going to have something equivalent to a clean debt ceiling increase,” he said Tuesday. “I wish they would do something substantive, but they’re not going to, so let’s just avoid the theater and get on with it.”
The risk corridor provision of the Affordable Care Act would partially reimburse insurance companies for people who wind up costing insurers more than they paid in premiums by over 3 percent. The program is only in place for three years, beginning with this year.
On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office found that the program would save the government about $8 billion.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."