WASHINGTON — The White House and senior Republican lawmakers acknowledge they remain far apart on a “grand bargain” fiscal deal to address the defense sequester cuts. But a recurring Washington issue could further complicate striking such a deal: a pending partisan fight over the nation’s borrowing limit.
Some on Capitol Hill expect both chambers will enter contentious talks about whether to raise — or perhaps again temporarily suspend — the nation’s borrowing limit in late summer.
Some analysts say the nation will hit its borrowing limit in August or September.
That would force lawmakers to battle over the debt limit before its annual August recess, set to run from Aug. 3 until after the Labor Day holiday in early September.
That timing could coincide with talks between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans about the kind of grand bargain needed to lessen or replace the last nine years of the national defense and domestic sequestration cuts.
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, one of more than a dozen Senate Republicans Obama has been courting in pursuit of a grand bargain, told Defense News in late March that whatever solution the two sides come up with needs to be in place by the time Congress leaves for its August recess.
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After weeks of stalemate with Republican leadership over a deal to replace the wide-ranging, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration, President Obama has been consulting with a new set of Republican lawmakers — the so-called “common sense caucus” — about the nation’s fiscal issues and the possibility for a deal to resolve them.
Included among the small group of Republican senators the president has consulted on the matter are Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., CBS News has confirmed through multiple sources. A White House official also reached out to Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a Republican Senate aide said.
“It was constructive,” Corker told CBS News, of his conversation with the president.
Continue reading ““Obama calling GOP senators to talk sequester fix””