U.S. Senate leaders say they have reached an 11th-hour compromise to reopen the federal government and avoid a debt default.
Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss says the last few weeks of budget fights in Washington haven’t done anyone any good.
He told NPR’s Morning Edition Wednesday (hear the whole interview here) he and others have been talking to House leaders and rank-and-file members “trying to encourage them to continue to dialog, continue to work on it, because this doesn’t do anybody any good, these types of confrontations.”
The state’s senior sentor said time is of the essence to end the shutdown and deal with the debt ceiling, especially for Georgia’s seniors and military.
“Just around the corner, i.e., the end of the month and the first of next month, we’re looking at veterans’ benefits and Social Security checks and what-not being impacted by the shutdown,” Chambliss said. “That means we’re going to have a sure-enough serious impact on people’s lives.”
Chambliss said passing this Senate’s deal through Congress should be easier because it’s a short-term measure – it would extend the debt limit until February and authorize government spending through mid-January.
Chambliss said he and others warned the Republicans who wanted to de-fund the federal health reform in exchange for a budget deal.
“Those of us who’ve been around a while kept saying, ‘Guys, that’s not going to happen. It can’t happen,’” he said. “I think they’ve come to the realization now that it’s not going to happen. I think in all good conscience, they’re trying to figure out what it is they would like to have now to see the government reopened and the debt ceiling raised. But they’re probably looking at the next round rather than this round.”
The current Senate proposal would require stricter income verification for people getting federal subsidies under Obamacare. Chambliss said that is a key to getting the new deal done.