House Republicans offer deal to delay U.S. default

Negotiations between White House, Congress to continue through weekend.

Blog readers can be forgiven any confusion about which self-inflicted federal disaster to read about first, but the news took a bit of a turn yesterday. President Obama has begun talks with House Republicans about their proposal to raise the federal debt limit for six weeks (until late November) in exchange for beginning negotiations on longer-term budget issues. The House majority did not offer a plan to end the federal shutdown or the sequester. The president “didn’t say yes and didn’t say no,” according to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and continues to insist that Republicans reopen federal agencies before negotiations can begin on broader budget issues. So while that still sounds like a continuation of the stalemate, the fact that the two parties are talking about talking has to be seen as a positive step.

While a specific proposal has not been released, CQ News: CQ Morning Report says that Republicans appear to be moving toward a hybrid solution that combines reopening the government with an increase in the debt ceiling that would be tied to broader budget negotiations. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is floating a plan to do both, and that would also repeal or delay the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax, as well as provide agencies two years of additional flexibility to manage sequestration’s automatic spending cuts. President Obama is meeting today with Senate Republicans.

Meanwhile, the Senate may vote as early as Saturday on the terms of debate for a measure that would raise the debt limit. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wanted to have a ”clean” measure ready in the event that other negotiations don’t bear fruit in time to avoid default. As if you could forget, Oct. 17 is the date on which, according to the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. can no longer borrow funds to meet its statutory obligations.

In many ways the interruption of university-based research has been the face of the shutdown. Here’s good article from Politico about the negative consequences of the federal government shutdown on federally funded research at U.S. academic institutions. The article, “As shutdown continues, university research doesn’t,” features graduate student Jeffery Mayse, a behavioral neuroscientist in the lab of psychologist Michaela Gallagher at Johns Hopkins University.

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