Senate, House return as negotiators keep negotiating; no signs of progress

McClatchy Washington BureauOctober 14, 2013 

The Senate's back at 2 p.m. Monday and the House of Representatives will return in a few hours later.

But the real action is behind the scenes, notably the negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. No progress was reported early Monday.

Also being closely watched is a bipartisan group that's been seeking common ground for weeks.  

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has been leading a group that is looking for compromise. One of the Democrats involved is Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and he offered his thoughts Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show.

"There's about 12 of us, six Democrats, six Republicans," he said.

"I don't know why people don't grab something that already has attracted bipartisan (support). That's why Susan's plan that we've worked with together, and all of us working together, is good template. It takes in consideration everybody's needs and concerns, but it also does not harm. It really helps move the ball forward."

He talked about potential differences: "The leaders have to come together, Joe, and basically decide on what dates with the CR and the debt ceiling, what numbers. We're concerned about some of these numbers being so low, because the $967 (billion), it's the law, the same as the affordable health care is the law."

But all this could be resolved at a formal budget conference, Manchin said. "You've got to go to budget. And we couldn't figure out why our colleagues, our friends on the Republican side, have not really been attracted to going to conference. This puts them in conference. They're going to sit down and work out a bigger fix. They need to six down and start working on this. And this will do that. So we have a good template."


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