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Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, put some hope into a bipartisan accord to negotiate over federal spending and the debt, with the ambition of reaching an agreement in December.
He warned that rejecting even a small deal could be financially catastrophic.
"Sometimes you have to deal with what can be done right now to change the dynamic of what we have," he said, resigned to a compromise with little impact on the health law. "If you actually default, anyone who has money in a retirement fund is screwed. At some time, you have to move this entire issue forward so you actually get people to come and talk again."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who bucked the Cruz-Lee tactic, nonetheless blamed the devolving negotiations on Senate Democrats trying to use the shutdown to pummel his party. He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "wants to embarrass Republicans if he can. I think they think they can win abject control of the Senate by embarrassing Republicans."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday he was "encouraged" by the talks between Reid and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., but that "we’re far from a deal at this point."
Part of what encourages the Oval Office, and frustrates conservatives like Lee, is that the GOP has dropped its effort to dismantle the health law.
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