Democratic leaders in the Senate are rejecting an offer by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to end the budget impasse, arguing it asks for too much in return for too little, senators and aides tell POLITICO.
The development comes on the same day that the Senate voted 53-45 to block a Democratic bill that would raise the debt ceiling through 2014 without any spending cuts or changes to Obamacare.
The Collins plan, which was drafted with input from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) and other senators, called for a six-month extension of government funding and a debt limit increase through January. But it asked for a delay in Obamacare’s medical device tax for two years and a requirement for income verification for Obamacare subsidies.
While it would give federal agencies more flexibility to work within the constraints of the automatic sequestration cuts, Democrats objected to the level of funding that Collins was seeking, which would lock-in the levels under the sequester at $967 billion next year, far too low for many Democrats,
Moreover, Democrats are calling for a longer-term budget deal that would raise the debt ceiling and extend government funding. And they said that agreeing to a shorter-term budget deal and a lower funding level — with a handful of changes to Obamacare — was asking too much after they have called for a “clean” increase to the $16.7 trillion national debt ceiling and a stop-gap measure to keep the government running.Clearly, Senate Democrats think they have the upper hand in the negotiations. Fair enough. At the same time, it's absurd to think that blame goes in one direction only when both House and Senate Republicans have made proposal after proposal to end the impasse, only to be told "no." Not "here's a counterproposal" or "we're not prepared to negotiate in this area but there may be some room to negotiate over here." Just "no."
I'll have to say that I'm a bit amused by how "Obamacare" - once considered pejorative by Democrats - has been embraced by Democrats and the media.