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Schumer, McConnell Meet on Debt Ceiling as Some in GOP Dig In

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Schumer, McConnell Meet on Debt Ceiling as Some in GOP Dig In
© Bloomberg. WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 18: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and members of his staff walk to a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s office in the U.S. Capitol on November 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. McConnell and Schumer are meeting to discuss the upcoming debt ceiling following the release of a Treasury Department letter saying the new deadline for default is Dec. 15. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Bloomberg) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell met Thursday to discuss the need to boost the nation’s debt ceiling sometime around mid-December.

The meeting comes two days after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen indicated to lawmakers that they risked a U.S. government default if they failed to lift the legal debt ceiling by Dec. 15, telling them that “there are scenarios in which Treasury would be left with insufficient remaining resources to continue to finance the operations of the U.S. government beyond this date.”

“We had a good discussion about several different issues that are extent here as we move toward the end of the session, and we agreed to keep talking to try to get somewhere,” McConnell said as he left Schumer’s office.

The meeting suggests that Schumer and McConnell are seeking a smoother path to addressing the debt ceiling following a clash last month that had started to rattle financial markets. Congress ultimately approved a short-term debt limit hike.

Republicans have demanded that Democrats use the tedious budget reconciliation process to raise the debt limit without GOP votes, while Schumer continues to insist that any boost in the nation’s limit on borrowing authority be bipartisan. Schumer reiterated that on Tuesday. McConnell, when asked about his position, simply said he’s sure the ceiling will be increased.

“We’ll figure out how to avoid default,” McConnell said. “We always do.”

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Democrats are taking the same position they took last time: The Republicans should give their consent to let a debt limit increase pass with just a simple majority without any filibuster, allowing Democrats in the 50-50 Senate to then clear it quickly on their own.

“As of today, it’s still do the right thing or get out of my way,” Van Hollen said.

‘Good-Faith Efforts’

The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Thune of South Dakota, said on Thursday that the two leaders already have had some informal talks about the next debt-limit hike, and sounded optimistic about their prospects.

“We’ll see how this thing ends up getting landed, but I think there are good-faith efforts being made to try and create a process where Democrats can deliver the votes to raise the debt limit and Republicans have the opportunity to vote against it,” Thune said.

Yet several senior GOP lawmakers on Thursday indicated Republicans aren’t ready to budge from their insistence on Democrats using the reconciliation process.

“We cannot default,” Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power.” “The Democrats control the White House, the House and effectively the Senate,” so “they have the ability to do it on their own,” he said of a debt-ceiling increase. “They should, and they know that.”

October Clash

Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, pointed to an earlier proposal he had in October that would expedite the reconciliation process so that an increase could happen on a more rapid timetable, limiting the time taken away from other Senate work.

“My proposal is that Democrats can pass the debt limit all by themselves and that’s what they should do,” Toomey said. “What they don’t want to do is use the tool that’s readily available to them, because it requires them to disclose the massive amount of debt that they want to inflict upon the American people.”

When the Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling in October, it was marked by brinkmanship that ended when McConnell offered a proposal that had Republicans clear the way for Democrats to extend the ceiling until a Dec. 3 projected deadline. McConnell then faced sharp criticism from fellow Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former President Donald Trump, who argued that the minority leader had capitulated to Democrats.

McConnell produced enough Republican votes to help ensure that the measure moved to final passage — but only after a struggle that transpired even after the debt limit bill was under debate on the Senate floor on Oct. 7. After the vote, he sent a terse letter to President Joe Biden warning that “I will not provide such assistance again if your all-Democrat government drifts into another avoidable crisis.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Shutdown Risk Rises as U.S. Congress Stalls on Stopgap Bill

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Shutdown Risk Rises as U.S. Congress Stalls on Stopgap Bill
© Bloomberg. The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. House Democrats set up a Tuesday vote on a bill that would suspend the U.S. debt ceiling through December 2022 and temporarily fund the government to avert a shutdown at the end of this month. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The risk of a brief U.S. government shutdown over the weekend rose Wednesday with congressional Republicans and Democrats split over a short-term spending bill needed to keep agencies running and some GOP lawmakers threatening a holdup to protest vaccine mandates.

Majority Democrats are looking to extend current agency funding into January or later given the impasse with Senate Republicans on full-year fiscal 2022 spending bills. While party leaders expressed confidence that the differences would get resolved in time, they have yet to schedule any action on a stopgap bill.

Democrats said they have not gotten a proposal from Republicans on how long the stopgap should last and there are growing concerns that a faction of conservatives will attempt to trigger a shutdown to block funding for President Joe Biden’s initiative requiring large private employers to either mandate vaccinations against Covid-19 or provide weekly testing. 

“We need to point out where the logjam is and right now the logjam is in the U.S. Senate,” Representative Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said. He called any attempt to defund the government over vaccine mandates is “nonsensical.”

“I can’t imagine we would walk back the safety precautions,” he said. 

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro said she is working to resolve the impasse through bipartisan talks and expressed hope it would get done. 

“Negotiations are underway. There is no interest in shutting the government down. We are not shutting the government down,” he said. She acknowledged that time is running short, however. 

“Nobody knows that better than I do,” DeLauro said.

Senate Roadblock

Meeting the end-of-week deadline will require cooperation from all Senate Republicans. Although there is likely enough support from GOP senators to pass a stopgap, any one senator can demand extra procedural steps in the Senate that can drag on for nearly a week.

That could come from an effort by a group of GOP senators to link support for the stopgap measure to halting funding for the Biden administration’s workplace rule on vaccinations and testing.

Kansas Senator Roger Marshall led a Nov. 3 letter signed by 10 other Senate Republicans pledging to oppose all efforts to implement the vaccine mandate, including by objecting to government funding bills. Marshall’s office pointed to that release when asked Wednesday about whether the senator would hold up the funding bill. 

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he was confident a break in government funding could be avoided. 

“We won’t shut down,” McConnell said. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and McConnell were “having good conversations” about the stopgap but warned that the group of conservatives may hold things up. 

“I hope that a small group of Republicans don’t choose obstruction and try to shut down the government,” Schumer said. “It’s always easy to say you want to shut down the government over something I care about, this one cares about, that one. If everyone did that we’d have chaos. We need to come together and keep the government open.”

Unity Test

Some House Republicans, led by the Freedom Caucus, also support the effort to shut down the government to prevent enforcement of the federal vaccine or test requirement for private employers. The group argues the policy infringes on individual liberties. 

“We therefore write to request that you use all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage of the CR unless it prohibits funding – in all respects – for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof,” the Freedom Caucus wrote to McConnell on Wednesday. 

For some House conservatives, it’s a test to see if the conference can unite in opposition to Biden.

“You’re not going to be able to stop them from doing everything,” Ohio Republican Representative Warren Davidson said. “They have the majority. But can you pick an issue and unite Republicans and make a difference, even from the minority?”

The Freedom Caucus group wouldn’t be able to delay action in the House and other Republicans aren’t inclined to oppose a stopgap funding measure.

“Probably because they think, somehow, creating chaos — which they are masters of — will hurt president Biden,” New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic caucus chair, said. “It’s not going to work. We’re prepared to act.”

If the stopgap doesn’t turn out to have any objectionable policy provisions, Representative Mark Amodei, a Nevada Republican who is a member of the Appropriations Committee, said the GOP conference should support it.

Previous shutdowns have proven unsuccessful, Amodei said.

“The threat of shutting down, in my experience, has never worked to get the side that shut it down what it wanted,” Amodei said. “We shut it down over health care for a long time and when we opened it up, nothing had changed.”

A new stopgap measure is necessary because Congress has failed to pass any of the 12 annual appropriations bills needed to fund ordinary government operations for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Democrats and Republicans have yet to begin serious talks to resolve their differences on the bills, with Republicans demanding Democrats reject an array of policy provisions such as government funding for abortions before talks on funding levels begin. 

The stopgap measure puts agencies on autopilot, freezing in place program funding levels and forbidding new contracts, with few exceptions. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Ex-Trump chief of staff Meadows cooperating with Jan. 6 panel – for now

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Former Trump chief of staff Meadows agrees to cooperate with Jan. 6 panel
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly U.S. Capitol riot said on Tuesday that Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has provided it with records and agreed to appear “soon” for a deposition.

“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition,” Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee, said in a statement.

Noting that the panel expects all witnesses to provide all the information requested and that it is lawfully entitled to received, Thompson added: “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”

Trump has urged associates not to cooperate with the committee, calling the Democratic-led investigation politically motivated and arguing that his communications are protected by executive privilege, although many legal experts say that principle does not apply to former presidents.

On Jan. 6, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying his 2020 presidential election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Shortly before the riot, Trump gave a speech to his supporters repeating his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud and urging them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to “stop the steal.”

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Politics

Former Trump chief of staff Meadows agrees to cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

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on

Former Trump chief of staff Meadows agrees to cooperate with Jan. 6 panel
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly U.S. Capitol riot said on Tuesday that Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has provided it with records and agreed to appear “soon” for a deposition.

“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition,” Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee, said in a statement.

Noting that the panel expects all witnesses to provide all the information requested and that it is lawfully entitled to received, Thompson added: “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”

Trump has urged associates not to cooperate with the committee, calling the Democratic-led investigation politically motivated and arguing that his communications are protected by executive privilege, although many legal experts say that principle does not apply to former presidents.

On Jan. 6, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying his 2020 presidential election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Shortly before the riot, Trump gave a speech to his supporters repeating his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud and urging them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to “stop the steal.”

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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