Can the Senate end the debt-limit standoff?

Over the weekend, House Republicans and President Obama hit a stalemate in fiscal negotiations, and the Senate moved on to work out their own plan. On Saturday, after meeting with the President, House Speaker John Boehner told his party that talks with the White House had broken down. So, Senate leaders immediately started their own negotiations to deal with the government shutdown, and the debt ceiling. But, now there are new disagreements in the upper chamber about what should be offered in exchange for such legislation.

What started out as a fight over Obamacare, has morphed into a debate about the sequester, tax revenues, and cuts to Social Security and Medicare. On CBS's “Face the Nation,” democratic Senator Chuck Schumer explained the proposal, saying, “The plan would be, open up the government immediately for a period of time before the sequester hits, and then have serious discussions where we might be able to undo the sequester.”

However, President Obama already rejected a similar plan offered by House Republicans. That plan would have opened the government, raised the debt ceiling, and replaced the next round of sequester cuts with cuts to Social Security and Medicare. And, it appears unlikely that Senate Republicans will accept a plan that repeals the sequester without equal cuts to another program. Republican Senator Bob Corker said, “I just can't imagine how that has any possibility of becoming law.”

But, at least Senate leaders are still talking, and still working with the White House to find a way to avoid default. As the debate continues, the debt ceiling deadline grows closer, and Americans – and the World – want our lawmakers to end this fight.

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