New Senate GOP plan would raise debt-limit until January 2014
By Alexander Bolton - 10/12/13 10:19 AM ET
A trio of centrist Senate Republicans is pushing a plan to reopen the government for six months, extend the debt ceiling until Jan. 31, 2014 and make reforms to ObamaCare.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is spearheading the proposal along with Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
It would address Tea-Party conservatives concerns over Medicare by delaying the medical device tax for two years and creating an income verification program under the Affordable Care Act to ensure only eligible individuals receive subsidies on the insurance exchanges.
The delay of the Medical Device Tax would be paid for by extending pension smoothing provisions contained in the highway transportation bill, MAP-21, that Congress passed in 2012. Pension smoothing allows the government to spread out pension losses over extended time periods.
Many Republicans, however, called for a full repeal of the tax.
An amendment repealing the device tax passed the Senate earlier this year by a vote of 79 to 20.
The plan would fund the government at an annual rate of $986 billion for six months and extend the debt limit until the end of January.
It would also create a Senate-House conference on the budget and instruct conferees to report their work by Jan. 15, 2014. This element of the proposal, however, is still under discussion.
The Senate will vote Saturday on a clean 14-month extension of the debt limit sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Republicans are expected to block it.