Collins proposes plan to temporarily raise debt ceiling, re-open government

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has proposed a plan to temporarily re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling in exchange for repealing the Affordable Care Act’s Medical Device Tax and keeping in place the sequester cuts.

Collins’s plan would:

1. Re-open the government for 6 months at the $986 billion funding level;

2. Increase the debt limit until Jan. 31, 2014 (about 3 months);

3. Repeal or delay the Affordable Care Act’s 2.3% sales tax on medical devices and equipments for 2 years;

4. Keep sequester cuts in the budget but allow federal agencies some flexibility to decide where to cut; the Appropriations Committee will oversee and can reject the agencies’ decisions;

5. Impose income verification for those receiving tax credits via the Obamacare insurance exchanges;

6. And require the Senate and House to meet in conference to reach a longer term budget agreement by Jan. 15, 2014.

“This would represent a modest proposal that could bring this impasse to an end, allow government to re-open,” said Collins.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed appreciation for Collins’s efforts to find a consensus but said Democrats have problems with her proposal, which is “not going to go any place at this stage.”

“Two good things in it. Number one, it opens the government. Number two, extends the debt ceiling. But other than that, there’s little agreement with us,” said Reid. “They’re not doing us a favor by re-opening the government. They’re not doing us a favor by extending the debt ceiling. That’s part of our jobs…This is not a concession. This is basically doing our jobs. This is what we’re supposed to do – default is 4 days away.”

Reid insisted that Congress should re-open the government and extend the debt limit before negotiations take place on the budget and ways to reduce the national debt.

Collins called Reid’s dismissal of her plan “unfortunate”.

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