The Washington Times - October 16, 2013, 07:30AM

Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday she is still hopeful that a group of 14 senators will strike a bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit and reopen the government this week, although it is unclear if the Republican-led House will follow suit.

Ms. Collins, Maine Republican, said the group is putting the last touches on a deal to extend the nation’s borrowing authority through February, fund the government to mid-January and tweak the health care law by shoring up an income-verification system and delaying the medical device tax for two years, while paying for lost revenue from the repeal.


“I think that’s a good, fair, balanced plan,” Ms. Collins told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding she doesn’t know if House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, will be able to garner the votes for it in the House.

“I don’t envy John Boehner,” she said. “I think he has an extraordinarily difficult task.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said the fractious House Republican caucus has suspended democracy and cued up a potentially disastrous situation if it passes by a Treasury-designated deadline on Thursday to raise the debt limit.

“And they don’t know what they want,” Mr. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, told MSNBC.