Democrats already are panning it as a “super committee” redux, but House Republicans are set to act Tuesday on a bill to establish a new panel of House and Senate members to work out compromises on reopening government and hiking the debt-ceiling.
The move is the latest House GOP effort to illustrate they are willing to sit down and negotiate, even as Speaker John Boehner’s office said Tuesday that he’d received a call from President Obama refusing to do so.
“The president called the speaker again today to reiterate that he won’t negotiate on a government funding bill or debt limit increase,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
Obama and Democrats have continued to urge Boehner, R-Ohio, to simply put “clean” bills to restart government funding and allow the nation to keep borrowing on the floor for an up-or down vote, without the policy concessions demanded by Republicans.
As a result, House Republicans have launched their new bicameral committee idea, which one senior Democratic House staffer facetiously referred to as “the Cruz committee,” a reference to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.
According to a draft of the new bill, the GOP’s “Bicameral Working Group on Deficit Reduction and Economic Growth” would be charged with recommending to the full House and Senate: overall levels of discretionary spending for the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30, 2014; changes in the statutory limit on the public debt; and reforms to direct spending programs.
The committee’s roster would be comprised of 10 House members, including six Republicans and four to be chosen by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Boehner would designate a House co-chair. Of the 10 Senate members, six would be Democrats and four will be chosen by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. A Senate co-chair will be selected by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
The group would first meet no later than the day after its members are appointed. It could not make any recommendation to the full House and Senate unless it receives the support of a majority of the members appointed by both the Speaker and the majority leader of the Senate. It would then have to report those recommendations within three days.
Senate Democrats sounds ambivalent to the idea, and instead reinforce their position when asked whether they’d support such a group. “I think our view is that we will look at any process that will get is to a budget,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. “But we won’t do it as long as government is closed or there’s a threat that we’re not paying our bills.”
Senate Republicans did not embrace the idea. Sen Roger Wicker, R-Miss., pointed out that the super committee included a trigger that led to sequestration cuts. Withholding ultimate judgment, Wicker said he’d wait to see what the legislation was before announcing his position.
The bill to establish the committee could be acted on as early as Tuesday. It is expected to be combined under one rule with a separate bill that would allow essential federal personnel to be paid during the shutdown.
“The way to resolve this is to sit down and have a conversation to resolve our differences,” Boehner said on Tuesday, a point he has made several times.
But House Democrats reacted swiftly to pan the idea of the new committee ““ noting that the 2011 deficit-reduction “super committee” was not able to reach any agreement, and that sequestration was the result.
House Democratic Conference Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., at a news conference Tuesday with other Democrats, continued to demand that Boehner simply put a “clean” spending bill on the House floor to end the shutdown and for lawmakers to do their jobs through normal legislative process.
Becerra himself was a member of the 2011 super committee. As he put it, “There was nothing super about it.”
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The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.