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Obama says that after impasse ends, Republicans and Democrats can accomplish a lot together

  • Budget-Battle-79

    With reporters in pursuit, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves the Capitol Friday night, Oct. 11, 2013, in Washington. Boehner conferred with top House Republicans before departing. The federal government remains partially shut down and faces a first-ever default between Oct. 17 and the end of the month. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Budget-Battle-80

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, upon his return from a two-hour meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and Republican senators, trying to come up with a bipartisan solution to the budget stalemate. Republicans from the House of Representatives were offering to pass legislation to avert a potentially catastrophic default and end the 11-day partial government shutdown as part of a framework that would include cuts in benefit programs, officials said Friday. But the impasse was not yet over. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Budget-Battle-81

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. passes at left as Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., right, talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, as Republican returned to the Capitol after a two-hour meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama, trying to come up with a bipartisan solution to the budget stalemate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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  • Obama-Budget-Battle-24

    Republican senators, from left, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Enzi of Wyo., Tim Scott of S.C., Ted Cruz of Texas, David Vitter of La,, John McCain of Ariz. walk back to their bus at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, after they met with President Barack Obama regarding the government shutdown and debt ceiling. After weeks of ultimatums, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans are exploring whether they can end a budget standoff that has triggered a partial government shutdown and edged Washington to the verge of a historic, economy-jarring federal default. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Budget-Battle-82

    House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. laughs as he walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. Republicans from the House of Representatives were offering to pass legislation to avert a potentially catastrophic default and end the 11-day partial government shutdown as part of a framework that would include cuts in benefit programs, officials said Friday. But the impasse was not yet over. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Obama-Budget-Battle-Hester-Clark

    President Barack Obama, seated next to Hester Clark, president and chief executive officer of the Hester Group, speaks during a meeting with small business owners to talks about the government shutdown and debt ceiling, Friday in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama-Budget-Battle-Hester-Clark

President Barack Obama, seated next to Hester Clark, president and chief executive officer of the Hester Group, speaks during a meeting with small business owners to talks about the government shutdown and debt ceiling, Friday in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington.

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WASHINGTON — With talks having stalled between the White House and House Republicans, a bipartisan group in the Senate is polishing a measure that would reopen the government and prevent a first-ever default on the country’s bills.

The negotiations in the Senate come as the chamber meets in a rare today session to vote on a Democratic measure to lift the government’s borrowing cap through the end of next year. Republicans are poised to reject it amid talks among the group of rank-and-file senators — talks monitored with the full attention of Senate leaders.

The group’s focus is on a proposal by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and others that would pair a six-month plan to keep the government open with an increase in the government’s borrowing limit through January.

House Republicans, meanwhile, are slated to meet this morning to get an update from their leaders as matters come to a head.

President Barack Obama on Friday privately turned away a House plan to link the reopening of the government — and a companion measure to temporarily increase the government’s borrowing cap — to concessions on the budget.

Publicly, top House Republicans said negotiations were on track. Obama called House Speaker John Boehner at midafternoon Friday, and Michael Steel, a spokesman for the leader of House Republicans, said, “They agreed that we should all keep talking.”

Privately, the channel between the White House and the House wasn’t bearing fruit, said aides on both sides. The aides required anonymity because the talks were private and they weren’t authorized to discuss them by name.

“It wouldn’t be wise, as some suggest, to just kick the debt-ceiling can down the road for a couple months, and flirt with a first-ever intentional default right in the middle of the holiday shopping season,” Obama said in his Saturday radio and Internet address.

On Friday, a daily briefing by White House press secretary Jay Carney was delayed until after the stock market closed, and Carney said Obama “appreciates the constructive nature of the conversation and the proposal that House Republicans put forward.” Yet, the spokesman said, “He has some concerns with it.”

A House GOP aide and a White House official cast developments in a more pessimistic light, both requiring anonymity because of the secret nature of the talks. Among the options to be presented to a House GOP conference was a condition-free debt limit increase for just a few weeks and a continued closure of the government in hopes of concessions from Obama.

In the face of disastrous opinion polls, GOP leaders have signaled that they will make sure the debt limit is increased with minimal damage to the markets. But they’re still seeking concessions as a condition for reopening the government.

Obama met Senate Republicans on Friday and heard a pitch from Collins on raising the debt limit until the end of January, reopening the government, and cutting the health care law at its periphery. It would also strengthen income verification for people receiving subsidies through the health care law and set up a broader set of budget talks.

The Collins plan would delay for two years a medical-device tax that helps finance the health care law, and it would subject millions of individuals eligible for subsidies to purchase health insurance under the program to stronger income verification.

At the Capitol, Collins said Obama said the proposal “was constructive, but I don’t want to give the impression that he endorsed it.”

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