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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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Debt Talks in Senate while House Rebels Lead the Charge

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With the federal government quickly nearing a default, a House Republican leadership effort to end the shutdown and permit the Treasury to start borrowing again to keep up with government debt collapsed Tuesday night, the NY Times reported.

Senator John McCain, (R. AZ) wailed Tuesday: “Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”

House speaker, John A. Boehner (R. OH) and his leadership team failed in repeated, daylong attempts to reach any bill that would reopen the government, and extend the Treasury’s debt limit. The Tea partiers continued to refuse to play nice with others.

On Tuesday afternoon, according to the Times, House Republicans suggested the approved budget would deprive lawmakers and all their staff members of employer assistance to buy their health care. By extending that provision to staff members, Republican leaders hoped to appeal to its far-right flank, but it angered more moderate Republicans and was too little, too late for the Tea folks.

The leadership was forced twice to back away from proposals it had floated, says the Times, the second time turning off the lights and sending everybody home until Wednesday.

“We’re trying to find a way through it,” said Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. But, alas, so far – nothing.

If Reid and McConnell reach a final accord, a final vote could come in the Senate Wednesday. If the Tea partiers in the Senate object, the leadership would have to wait until Friday, then get 60 votes to cut off debate. This could stretch into Saturday, when the bill would go back to the House, where it would pass only if it had “overwhelming Democratic support.”

The Treasury Department said it had all of $35 billion in cash. It will run out of “extraordinary measures” to keep on paying all of the government’s bills on Thursday.

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