House Democrats appeared to be scaling back their ambitions for ayear-end Defense spending bill, dropping the idea of adding a $70billion infrastructure spending plan and scaling back a plan to add tothe debt limit.Democratic aides said late Monday night that the debt-limit hike waslikely to be closer to $300 billion than the $1.8 trillion to $1.9trillion they envisioned last week, keeping the government operating for only about two more months and requiring a difficult vote in thebeginning of an election year to possibly raise the debt ceiling again.Democrats had come under fire from Republicans for attaching the debt-limit hike to the Defense bill and had yet to resolve internalnegotiations between the House and Senate on pay-as-you-go budget rules and the shape of a fiscal commission tasked with slashing the deficit, which fiscal conservatives were demanding alongside it.The Defense bill appears likely to instead include less controversialitems, like an extension of the estate tax and unemployment benefits.One aide said that with the infrastructure piece coming out of the bill, the House could pass a standalone jobs bill. That would give House Democrats something to talk about when they go home for the year-end break, but that would merely add to the pileup of legislation waiting for action in the Senate.
Visitors get their first look at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which opened to the public on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. The new memorial is located off Independence Ave. SW between the Rayburn House Office Building and HHS. Buy photo here.