Debt ceiling and shutdown-ending deal reached - KMSP-TV

Deal reached to end government shutdown, avoid default

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    Wednesday, October 16 2013 3:59 PM EDT2013-10-16 19:59:57 GMT
    FOX 9's Tom Lyden had a chance to catch up with Sen. Amy Klobuchar between the announcement of a budget deal and Wednesday's evening's anticipated vote.
    FOX 9's Tom Lyden had a chance to catch up with Sen. Amy Klobuchar between the announcement of a budget deal and Wednesday's evening's anticipated vote.

House Speaker John Boehner's options for holding his party together on a budget deal diminished Wednesday after Senate leaders hammered out a plan of their own -- following the collapse of a House proposal the night before.

Boehner had been forced to shelve his chamber's bill amid resistance from conservatives, and just about every Democrat. Conservatives complained it didn't go far enough in eroding ObamaCare. Democrats preemptively rejected the plan, even before they saw it.

But the collapse of the plan on Tuesday evening puts Boehner in a bind.

As Senate negotiators announced a tentative deal early Wednesday afternoon, it left Boehner with a choice: He can try again to put forward a new proposal, or accept some version of what the Senate produces -- and likely pass the measure with some Republicans and a lot of Democrats. With that possibility on the horizon, House Democrats were planning to meet Wednesday afternoon.

The model for this is the vote in January on aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. The House approved it 241-180 -- but with only 49 Republican yeas and a robust 192 Democratic yeas.

The latter move would undoubtedly be risky for Boehner, and could potentially trigger another effort down the road, from the right, to challenge his speakership. Letting a bill pass on the backs of votes from the minority party would violate what is loosely known as the "Hastert Rule" -- named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert, and referring to the principle that the party in control of the House should make sure that party is mostly on board with any bill coming to the floor.

A Boehner spokesman said Wednesday no decision has been made on how to proceed. "No decision has been made about how or when a potential Senate agreement could be voted on in the House," spokesman Michael Steel said.

But would Boehner really be in trouble if he relied on Democrats?

One senior House Republican said it's "highly unlikely" that a new leader would emerge "that can raise money, message" and corral the warring factions of the party.

"Boehner takes the high road," the aide predicted. "He tried to do the right thing. It's not like he hasn't been warning us."

Democrats gladly gloated about the possibility that Boehner might be forced to eat whatever the Senate sends over.

"You have two options. You can get bowled over by the Senate or you can get bowled over by the Senate," one senior House Democratic aide said. "You can only pass something that's partisan for so long before you have to go bipartisan."

Since initially demanding that ObamaCare be defunded as part of any budget deal, Republican leaders have scaled back those demands considerably. The boldest provision in the most recent House bill would have forced top government officials and lawmakers onto ObamaCare, without subsidies.

But the latest version was still too heavy-handed for Democrats, and too weak for conservatives.

FreedomWorks, among the many conservative groups leaning on lawmakers throughout this process, said the bill would do "nothing to shield the rest of America from a law that is being unfairly implemented and is rapidly proving unworkable."

But a decision on the way forward has not been made, and the particulars are still being worked out.

With a deal emerging from the Senate, it's unclear whether the House or Senate would make the first move. Lawmakers are thinking in terms of what, procedurally, would be quickest -- as they try to meet a Thursday deadline to raise the debt ceiling, or at least get close.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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