Policy: Budgets & Deficits

White House: 'We're far from a deal at this point'

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Politics,White House,Congress,Barack Obama,John Boehner,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Budgets and Deficits,Government Shutdown,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that Washington is “far from a deal” to reopen the federal government and avoid a default on the nation's debt.

“We’re encouraged by the progress in the Senate, but we’re far from a deal at this point,” Carney told reporters.

Carney's comments came after House Republicans said they would push ahead with their own plan to raise the nation's debt limit by an Oct. 17 deadline and reopen the government.

Carney warned that the nation was “very close to a very important deadline and time is of the essence.”

The House GOP plan is similar to a bipartisan Senate proposal being floated that would fund the government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.

But the House Republican measure includes different measures to block key elements of Obamacare. The plan would delay a tax on medical devices and eliminate insurance subsidies for members of Congress but not Congressional staff.

The Senate plan being negotiated by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., does not include that language on medical devices or subsidies but provides an exemption protecting insurance subsidies for unions and would implement an income-test for some Obamacare benefits.

But the House proposal ran into trouble, with reports suggesting that Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, did not have enough votes to move the plan forward.

The White House earlier Tuesday blasted the GOP plan calling it a “partisan” proposal designed to “appease” the Tea Party.

“There’s not a proposal in the House to talk about now,” said Carney, “given on the press conference given by House Republican leaders.”

“They’re now going back trying to add sweeteners for Tea Party members,” he added.

Carney said the Senate had taken a “serious-minded approach” to ending the fiscal stalemate and urged House Republicans to get behind the emerging Senate deal.

“The better course of action is the one being undertaken by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate,” he said.

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