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: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.>>
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    >>
  • Man hospitalized after downtown dispute

    Man hospitalized after downtown dispute

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:09:05 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One man is in critical condition after a fight in downtown Spokane early Sunday morning, according to Spokane Police. Patrol officers found the man unresponsive at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Sprague and Stevens. Witnesses told police the injured man had walked out in front of a taxi and started a fight.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One man is in critical condition after a fight in downtown Spokane early Sunday morning, according to Spokane Police. Patrol officers found the man unresponsive at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Sprague and Stevens. Witnesses told police the injured man had walked out in front of a taxi and started a fight.>>
  • 'Best Pig Out Yet'

    'Best Pig Out Yet'

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:08:40 GMT

     

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Pig Out In The Park brings in thousands to delve into their favorite fair-like foods and put diets on the back burner. But this year is a little bit different, because organizers are calling it the largest pig out yet.

    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Will traffic deaths rise as states legalize pot?

    Will traffic deaths rise as states legalize pot?

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:42 AM EDT2014-09-01 13:42:58 GMT
    WASHINGTON (AP) - Safety advocates worry that more drivers high on pot will lead to a big increase in traffic deaths as states liberalize their marijuana laws. Researchers who have studied the issue are divided. Marijuana can slow decision-making, decrease peripheral vision and impede multitasking - all those are important driving skills.>>
    WASHINGTON (AP) - Safety advocates worry that more drivers high on pot will lead to a big increase in traffic deaths as states liberalize their marijuana laws. Researchers who have studied the issue are divided. Marijuana can slow decision-making, decrease peripheral vision and impede multitasking - all those are important driving skills.>>
  • Spokane Police to be equipped with body cameras Monday

    Spokane Police to be equipped with body cameras Monday

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:10 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:10:27 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department will equip some officers with body cameras Monday, after Police Chief Frank Straub fast tracked pilot program. The Spokesman-Review reports 17 officers will receive the cameras designed to promote accountability and transparency within the police force. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department will equip some officers with body cameras Monday, after Police Chief Frank Straub fast tracked pilot program. The Spokesman-Review reports 17 officers will receive the cameras designed to promote accountability and transparency within the police force. >>
  • Man hospitalized after downtown dispute

    Man hospitalized after downtown dispute

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:09:05 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One man is in critical condition after a fight in downtown Spokane early Sunday morning, according to Spokane Police. Patrol officers found the man unresponsive at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Sprague and Stevens. Witnesses told police the injured man had walked out in front of a taxi and started a fight.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One man is in critical condition after a fight in downtown Spokane early Sunday morning, according to Spokane Police. Patrol officers found the man unresponsive at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Sprague and Stevens. Witnesses told police the injured man had walked out in front of a taxi and started a fight.>>