Finally, key people in Washington are talking about ending the impasse

McClatchy Washington BureauOctober 10, 2013 

Key people in Washington are talking about the debt limit and the budget, and in this gridlocked city, that's news.

But is today the day that the impasse over the debt limit and the budget finally shows a crack?

No one is saying they're cautiously optimistic, but people are talking. First thing to watch Thursday is the House Republican Caucus, which meets in the morning.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., Wednesday floated a plan that would raise the debt limit for a few weeks, in exchange for budget cuts and other measures.

Here's Congressional Quarterly's explanation: "As a condition for approving the increase, both chambers would have to agree to overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs during those six weeks and pass the changes, along with a long-term debt limit increase, when the six-week period expires.

"The plan also would include a bill to require the Treasury to pay interest on debt first when the debt limit is hit. Finally, it would have some enforcing trigger, although the specifics were not announced."

In early afternoon, President Barack Obama meets with Senate Democrats. Democrats control 54 of the Senate's 100 seats.

But the most closely watched meeting of the day is scheduled for late afternoon, when the president is to meet with 17 House Republican leaders. While no serious breakthrough is expected, it's the first time the White House and key House Republicans have met for any length of time since the shutdown began last week.


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