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On the Hill: Government shutdown continues, debt limit looms, Congress tries to strike a deal

Today marks the 16th day since the continuing resolution expired, partially shutting the government down. The federal government will hit the country’s borrowing limit Oct. 17, which some economists say would trigger a major economic crisis.

Lawmakers are negotiating potential plans to raise the limit and reopen the federal government. The Senate is reportedly close to striking a deal on a plan developed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The plan would fund the government until Jan. 15, 2014, and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014.

House Republicans were also working on a plan that would temporarily fund the government and raise the debt limit, but their plan also included delaying the medical device tax created by the Affordable Care Act for two years; eliminating health insurance subsidies for members of Congress, the president, vice president, and the cabinet; and increasing income verification requirements for health care subsidy eligibility.

Although Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) had support from House centrists, conservative House Republicans thought the bill did not include enough changes to the health care law. The plan ultimately died after a surprise statement made by Heritage Action for America, a powerful conservative group, that Boehner’s plan would “do nothing to stop Obamacare’s massive new entitlements from taking root—radically changing the nature of American health care.” There is no word yet as to what the House will do.

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