After House Talks Break Down, All Eyes On Senate To End Shutdown - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

After House Talks Break Down, All Eyes On Senate To End Shutdown

Posted: Updated:

NBCNEWS.COM - With the government shutdown dragging on and a deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling just five days away, hope for a compromise to break political gridlock in Washington shifted to the Senate Saturday after talks between the White House and House Republicans collapsed.  

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell say they are working to broker a deal, although both sides warn that those conversations are only in the preliminary stages. 

Senate Democratic leaders met with President Barack Obama at the White House Saturday afternoon to discuss a way forward. The Senate will be in session on Sunday. Reid said during a press conference that he and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., opened formal talks with an "extremely cordial" but "preliminary" meeting with McConnell and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Saturday morning. "I hope that our talking is some solace to the American people and the world," Reid said.

"This hasn't happened until now." But the Nevada senator reiterated that Democrats will not view ending the shutdown or raising the debt ceiling  as concessions in the negotiations.  "They're not doing us a favor by reopening the government," Reid said of Republicans. "They're not doing us a favor by extending the debt ceiling. That's part of our jobs." Lawmakers said the talks were cause for some optimism.

"The only thing that's happening right now is Senator Reid and Senator McConnell are talking and I view that as progress," Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters earlier at the Capitol. "I hope that continues towards a bipartisan resolution." Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, said there is "reason to believe that ultimately, we'll work it out."

A loose working group of moderate Republicans -- led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine -- had been working on a proposal that would reopen the government until March and lift the debt ceiling through January. But Senate Democratic leaders rejected that idea. The Collins proposal, Reid said, "is not going to go anyplace at this stage." 

Aides said Democrats disagreed with the length of a proposed government funding measure in the Collins proposal. Her plan would have only funded the government until March 31st, 2014. Senate Democrats wanted that time period to be longer. Democratic leaders also wanted a longer debt limit increase than Collins had proposed, and they had reservations about the amount of spending in the Maine Republican's plan. 

Earlier Saturday, the Senate -- as expected -- failed to advance a measure that would have raised the debt ceiling until after the 2014 midterm elections.  In a statement, the White House called the blockage of the "clean" debt bill "unfortunate."  "Congress must do its job and raise the debt limit to pay the bills we have incurred and avoid default," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. 

That vote came after House GOP leaders announced that conversations with the White House to forge a path forward had all but collapsed. In a Saturday morning meeting, House Speaker John Boehner told GOP lawmakers in the House that Obama had yet to respond to House proposals to end the fiscal impasse. 

The message of that meeting, sources in the room said, was a "let's stick together" pep rally, with leaders saying Senate Republicans must "hold strong" and fight against any plan that fails to hew to GOP goals.  Boehner informed the conference that they're waiting to see what Senate Republicans offer to the White House, but that if the House GOP stays strong and united, they can reject any proposal that they think does not go far enough.

After a series of unrelated measures considered Saturday before noon, the House adjourned, with no votes currently scheduled until 6:30 p.m. on Monday. House Democrats kept up attempts to bring up a "clean" continuing resolution that would restore funding for the government, marching into the House chamber and making repeated procedural requests for a vote.

But without support from moderate House Republicans, those efforts were only for show. One sticking point in the negotiations so far has been the length of the debt ceiling extension.  House Republicans had put forward a six-week delay, which Democrats argue would set up another fiscal crisis right before the crucial holiday shopping season. 

Democrats said Saturday that the length of the government funding and the debt ceiling are up for debate in the negotiations.  "We are negotiating that. I'm not locked in stone," Reid said.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:26:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:17 AM EDT2014-07-29 05:17:55 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained.
    >>
  • Lady Star has been found thanks to your help & the power of social media!

    Lady Star has been found thanks to your help & the power of social media!

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:59:04 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A good ending to a story only brought about because of you and the power of social media. You may remember the story of the beautiful German Shepherd, Lady Star who went missing after a car crash on June 24th. She was the dog of Asha Bartholomew and her husband, a former WWII vet who passed away a year ago.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A good ending to a story only brought about because of you and the power of social media. You may remember the story of the beautiful German Shepherd, Lady Star who went missing after a car crash on June 24th. She was the dog of Asha Bartholomew and her husband, a former WWII vet who passed away a year ago.
    >>
  • Scientists hoping to restore salmon in Ellensburg

    Scientists hoping to restore salmon in Ellensburg

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:56:35 GMT
    ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) - The settlers who founded Ellensburg in the 1870s were likely drawn by the plentiful water in creeks crisscrossing the valley, but as the city expanded, it grew right over those streams. Look at a Google map of downtown Ellensburg and you'll see Wilson Creek wind across Main Street.>>
    ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) - The settlers who founded Ellensburg in the 1870s were likely drawn by the plentiful water in creeks crisscrossing the valley, but as the city expanded, it grew right over those streams. Look at a Google map of downtown Ellensburg and you'll see Wilson Creek wind across Main Street.
    >>