By Jonathan Easley and Elise Viebeck - 01/07/14 06:30 PM EST
Prospects for completing a giant spending bill and avoiding another government shutdown appeared to improve Tuesday, as a top negotiator said a repeat of October’s ObamaCare-driven shutdown could be avoided.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who chairs a subcommittee overseeing health, labor and education spending, told reporters that the $1 trillion omnibus is nearing completion, and that both sides should be able to agree on an ObamaCare compromise.
UI vs. ObamaCare Round I: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) objected to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) attempt to ensure Republicans could offer amendments to a bill that would temporarily extend unemployment insurance.
McConnell wanted to offer at least two amendments that he said would help pay for the three-month extension: delaying ObamaCare's individual insurance mandate for one year and restoring a $6 billion cut in military retiree benefits. The Hill’s Ramsey Cox reports.
UI vs. ObamaCare Round II: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Tuesday he would propose an amendment that would replace a Senate plan to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months with new tax breaks and an ObamaCare exemption aimed at creating an incentive to hire the unemployed.
Thune's proposal is one of what could become several GOP proposals to alter the unemployment bill, which advanced in the Senate earlier today with the help of six Republican votes. That bill would extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months, and many Republicans are likely to propose finding cuts to pay for that $6.4 billion cost. Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill reports.
State by State:
200,000 Alabamians may be eligible for ObamaCare subsidies, The Montgomery Advertiser reports.
Hiccups persist in California health insurance exchange, according to The Los Angeles Times.
More than half of Hawaii’s uninsured may qualify for Medicaid, the Pacific Business News reports.
New Jersey Democrats push for Medicaid expansion, according to The Concord Monitor.
Democrats don’t really want to fix ObamaCare, writes Byron York at The Washington Examiner.
Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic looks at who is to blame if consumers can’t continue seeing their doctors.