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Cruz, McCain, Cordray to headline Reuters Washington Summit

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women in San Antonio, Texas October 19, 2013. REUTERS/J
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women in San Antonio, Texas October 19, 2013. REUTERS/J

By Gabriel Debenedetti

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A week after Senate leaders brokered a bipartisan spending deal to reopen the government and stave off a potentially disastrous default on American debt, Reuters will host several key players in the budget dispute as part of its annual Washington Summit.

The Summit, to be held Monday through Thursday, will feature roundtable discussions with some of the newsmakers who have dominated the headlines in Washington recently. They include Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the first-term Republican whose fiery defense of the unsuccessful efforts to use a government shutdown to force changes in President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul made Cruz one of the most provocative figures in the nation's capital.

The Summit will touch on the recent debt and spending crisis, the shaky rollout of "Obamacare" and conservative Republicans' attempts to undermine the law, the future of financial regulation and Obama's foreign policy and use of war powers.

Other guests scheduled for the Reuters Washington Summit include longtime Arizona Senator John McCain, a vocal critic of Cruz's tactics and the 2008 Republican nominee for president, as well as Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee and a rising star in the Democratic Party.

The Summit will include discussions about the influence in Congress of compromise-resistant Tea Party Republicans such as Cruz, and whether the recent showdown weakened that movement.

With guest Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Summit will examine how the landscape is changing for business interests that are seeking to influence Congress.

Josten, the Chamber's top lobbyist, helped lead the business group's efforts to encourage lawmakers to end the 16-day government shutdown. The Chamber, traditionally aligned with Republicans, has found itself in a standoff against smaller conservative groups that now have unprecedented influence over the party's right wing.

Another summit guest, Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, will discuss how labor is responding to Obamacare and her union's efforts to promote the law.

Financial regulation and consumer protection remain on the front lines of debate in Washington, and the Reuters Summit will include a discussion with Richard Cordray, the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, has emerged as a central figure in the financial regulation battle that has consumed the worlds of banking and lobbying as the U.S. economy continues to recover from the financial crisis.

Obama's foreign policy and his reluctance to attack Syria without an endorsement from Congress also will be on the summit's agenda.

The summit will feature roundtable discussions with Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, and Elliott Abrams, a longtime diplomat who served in the administrations of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Rhodes' appearance comes as the White House is navigating difficult situations in Syria and Iran, as well as managing the fallout from the revelations of the National Security Administration's surveillance of Americans.

(Editing by David Lindsey and Sandra Maler)

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