Republicans have started sending signals that they would be open to a compromise that takes the most controversial items off the table. Democrats have made clear that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) efforts to repeal the health care overhaul law and privatize Medicare are non-starters, and Republicans pushed back Thursday against any proposal to raise taxes, including as part of an automatic debt reduction trigger.
That leaves the prospect of a smaller but still significant package of budget cuts paired with some budget process reforms as the most likely outcome to get a deal to raise the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told lawmakers Monday that the nation is likely to hit the debt ceiling by Aug. 2 unless Congress acts to raise it.
Aides with knowledge of the talks said that the meeting Thursday morning didn’t break much new ground. Republicans had sought an in-depth offer from the White House detailing President Barack Obama’s outline for deficit reduction, which he presented in a speech last month. But they didn’t get one, and certainly not one that could be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, aides said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.