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POLITICS: PennAve

Senate reaches bipartisan deal on spending and debt that leaves Obamacare intact

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Obamacare,Harry Reid,John Boehner,Mitch McConnell,Health Care,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Budgets and Deficits,Government Shutdown

On Day 16 of the government shutdown, just hours ahead of a deadline to raise the nation's borrowing limit, Senate leaders have devised a compromise plan aimed at resolving both issues.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will shortly unveil a deal that heavily favors the Democrats but gives the GOP just enough to win the bipartisan support leaders need to pass it.

The latest play would fund the partially shuttered federal government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, a Senate aide said.

Aides said the House would act on the measure first, but a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told the Washington Examiner no decisions have been made about which chamber will take the lead.

In a nod to fiscally conservative Republicans, the bill permits Congress to vote on whether to "disapprove" raising the debt ceiling.

The compromise plan leaves Obamacare virtually untouched despite weeks of fighting by conservatives to defund or delay the new health care law. The measure would not delay the 2.3-percent medical device tax or strike the Vitter amendment, health care subsidies paid to Congress and its staff, though both were part of earlier proposals.

The one Obamacare provision the bill does include would require that the government verify the incomes of those seeking health insurance subsidies. The provision represents a small gain for the GOP lawmakers who had hoped the debt ceiling talks would yield at the very least a delay in the entire law.

The bill includes one other small victory for the GOP: It does not include a provision that would have allowed union workers to escape paying a $63 health insurance tax mandated under Obamacare.

The proposal would provide back pay for the furloughed federal workers.

Senators were expected to meet privately Wednesday to discuss the new plan before the chamber gavels into session at noon.

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Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner