Democrat-Controlled Senate Rejects Debt Limit Extension

Democrat-Controlled Senate Rejects Debt Limit Extension

(AP) Senate rejects Democratic debt limit extension
Associated Press
The Senate has rejected a Democratic effort to extend the government’s ability to borrow money through next year.

Before the vote, Republican senators said Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have begun negotiations aimed at extending the country’s borrowing limit and ending the 12-day-old government shutdown.

It was a near party-line vote _ 53-45 _ that derailed the Democratic measure. The 53 votes were seven short of the 60 required to overcome Republican objections to considering the measure.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner told fellow Republicans that his talks with President Barack Obama have stalled.

The administration has warned it will deplete its borrowing authority by Oct. 17, risking a damaging federal default, unless Congress acts.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Talks to end the government shutdown and prevent a federal default have begun between Senate leaders, but negotiations between the GOP-run House and President Barack Obama have stalled, lawmakers said Saturday.

The developments marked a shift in focus from the House to the Democratic-controlled Senate as the partial shutdown reached its 12th day and five days were left before the time when administration officials have said the government will deplete its ability to borrow money, risking a first-time federal default that could jolt the world economy.

GOP senators said the talks between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, had started Friday.

Word of those talks came as the Senate prepared to derail a Democratic measure to lift the government’s borrowing cap through the end of next year. Republicans were poised to reject it.

House Republicans said Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had told them at a closed-door meeting Saturday morning that his talks with Obama had grinded to a halt.

Conservatives said Obama was to blame.

A bipartisan group of senators, closely watched by Senate leaders, is polishing a plan aimed at reaching compromise with Obama.

An emerging proposal by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and others would pair a six-month plan to keep the government open with an increase in the government’s borrowing limit through January.

Obama has turned away a House plan to link the reopening of the government _ and a companion measure to temporarily increase the government’s borrowing cap _ to concessions on the budget.

In the face of disastrous opinion polls, GOP leaders have signaled they will make sure the debt limit is increased with minimal damage to the financial markets. But they’re still seeking concessions as a condition for reopening the government.

Obama met Senate Republicans on Friday and heard a pitch from Collins on raising the debt limit until the end of January, reopening the government and cutting the health care law at its periphery.

The plan also would strengthen income verification for people receiving subsidies through the health care law and set up a broader set of budget talks.

The Collins proposal would delay for two years a medical-device tax that helps finance the health care law, and it would subject millions of individuals eligible for subsidies to purchase health insurance under the program to stronger income verification.

Collins said Obama said the proposal “was constructive, but I don’t want to give the impression that he endorsed it.”


Associated Press writers Alan Fram and David Espo contributed to this report.