With the Senate in a holding pattern waiting to see what action the House takes, Sen. Susan Collins wants lawmakers to reconsider her compromise proposal.
The Maine Republican voiced frustration Tuesday that Senate leaders still have not finalized a plan after dismissing a bargain she worked out with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and a small group of Democrats and Republicans. That plan would have raised the debt ceiling and funded government for at least six months, while adding flexibility for the administration to deal with the sequester cuts. It also explored an income verification system for individuals who apply for tax incentives through Obamacare.
"I had hoped that the two leaders would have an agreement by now. I thought late yesterday that they were extremely close," Collins said. "But it appears that they don't have an agreement."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., began discussions Saturday and appeared close to a deal that would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. But the two leaders decided Tuesday after speaking briefly on the Senate floor to hold off talks until the House acts.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was working with his caucus Tuesday afternoon on a last-minute deal to reopen government and avoided breaching the debt ceiling, but it included several nonstarters for President Obama and Democrats and may not have passed the House anyway.
Collins said the Senate shouldn't wait for the House.
"The Senate needs to act first," Collins said. "There's more chance of an agreement being reached in the Senate and we need to lead."
With an agreement between Reid and McConnell in doubt and the House flailing, Collins pleaded with Congress to take up her proposal, calling it "the best path forward."
"I would encourage people, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both the Senate and the House to take a look at the proposal that we've been working on," Collins said.