While House Republicans are pitching a plan to allow a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, Republican senators are floating a separate proposal that would deal with the still-unresolved partial government shutdown.
All indications are that the debt-ceiling plan proposed by House Speaker John Boehner would buy time to negotiate a spending bill, but would not by itself end the partial shutdown.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is, on the sidelines, floating a plan that would end the budget impasse. Her proposal consists of three planks:
-- Fund the government.
-- Repeal the unpopular medical device tax, which is contained in ObamaCare.
-- Give agencies the flexibility to deal with sequester cuts imposed earlier this year.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., on Wednesday endorsed that approach. Aides to Collins claim the proposal is picking up support.
"It is past time for us to reopen government. I ask my colleagues to take a close look at the plan we have put forward. It is a reasonable approach," Collins said Wednesday.
President Obama has demanded all along that Republicans not extract concessions pertaining to his signature health care law as part of the budget bill. But Collins' proposal significantly scales back Republicans' original demand -- which was to defund ObamaCare entirely.
The goal of repealing the medical device tax, which some have warned would cripple the industry in the U.S., has bipartisan support. The question is whether Obama, though, would allow the matter to be addressed as part of the budget bill -- something he has, to date, ruled out.
Collins' proposal would call for any revenue lost by canceling the tax to be offset elsewhere.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.