House Defunds Obamacare, Keeps Govt Open
Friday, 20 Sep 2013 11:27 AM
The U.S. House voted to finance the federal government through mid-December and choke off funding for President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, setting up a showdown with the Senate and the White House.
The Republican-controlled House today passed, 230-189, a stopgap measure to fund government operations after current authority expires Sept. 30. The bill preserves across-the-board spending cuts at an annual rate of $986.3 billion and permanently defunds the Affordable Care Act.
“The fight to delay Obamacare doesn’t end next week. It keeps going on until we get it,” Representative Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and his party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, told reporters today in Washington.
The spending measure now will be sent to the Senate where it will pass without defunding the healthcare law, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said yesterday. Obama administration officials said the president would veto the House bill if sent to him by Congress.
If the Obama administration and lawmakers can’t agree on the stopgap funding, most, though not all, operations would come to a halt in less than two weeks. Republicans are using the stopgap spending bill as a vehicle to try to choke off funds for the health program the party has opposed since 2009.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican and chief Senate opponent of the health law, said he’s willing to do “everything necessary and anything possible,” including holding a filibuster, to block action on the spending measure as a way to end funding for the health-care law.
The Senate is expected to start considering the legislation on Sept. 23 with goal of finishing by Sept. 26.
Democratic leaders are considering a procedural tactic that would put Cruz and his allies in an awkward spot and upend their efforts.
Under Senate rules, they could have a simple majority vote that would strip the health-care defunding language once they end debate on the House measure.
House Republicans haven’t decided how to proceed once the Senate passes the measure after stripping out the health language.
If Boehner allows the Senate bill to proceed, he would need enough Democratic votes join Republicans to pass it and avoid a government shutdown.
House Republican leaders also could decide to continue revising the measure and send the amended version back to the Senate for a vote, complicating the process and raising the risk of a shutdown as time runs out.
The House spending measure also includes a provision directing the Treasury on how to prioritize payments if the debt ceiling is breached.
House Republicans said today they’d start working next week on legislation to raise the nation’s debt limit and attach a one-year delay in the health law, cuts to entitlement programs and approval for the Keystone XL pipeline.
“The next 10 days are very important for our country,” said Representative Tim Graves, a Georgia Republican, who has pushed for defunding the health-care law.
Ryan of Wisconsin said the measures Republicans will attach would reduce the U.S. budget deficit in the long term.
Rubio: Only Obama Wants to Shut Down Government
Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 01:51 PM
By Jim Meyers and John Bachman
Republicans should do “anything and everything” to prevent the “disaster” of Obamacare, Sen. Marco Rubio tells Newsmax. But he insists it can be done without shutting down the government.
The Florida Republican asserts that President Barack Obama actually wants a government shutdown to achieve a “political win,” and the administration is going to fight to the bitter end to defend its healthcare reforms.
Elected in 2010, Rubio is considered a rising star in the Republican Party. He delivered the GOP’s response to Obama’s State of the Union address in February and has been mentioned as a presidential candidate in 2016.
His committee assignments include the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
In an exclusive interview Wednesday with Newsmax TV, Rubio discusses efforts to stop Obamacare and the possibility of a government shutdown.
“Every single member of the Republican conference agrees that Obamacare should be stopped, but the disagreement is about the tactic,” he says. “I’m not in favor of shutting down the government. The president appears now politically to be in favor of shutting down the government.
“I’m in favor of funding the government at the levels that were agreed to last year in the Budget Control Act and not spending a single penny more of hardworking taxpayer dollars on a disaster, which is Obamacare.
“Actually, the administration has admitted it’s a disaster because they’ve had to delay major portions of it. Labor unions that strongly supported Obamacare are now asking to be exempted from it.
“So we should be doing anything and everything we can to prevent this law from going into effect, because once it starts to hurt people, it’s going to hurt our economy in ways that are very difficult to undo later.”
The House will pass a plan to delay and defund Obamacare but to keep the government open, Speaker John Boehner says.
“That’s very positive news,” says Rubio. “It’s now going to call attention to the fact that we can keep the government open, we can fund the government, but we don’t have to shut down the government, and we don’t have to fund Obamacare.
“It’s the president who’s threatening to shut down the government because he is saying, and it’s the position his allies in the Senate so far have taken, that unless they fund Obamacare, they won’t fund the government.
“The president’s basically looking for a political win, and I guess his political people have told him that this is a political win: shut down the government and blame the Republicans. The problem is that’s not the Republican position.”
Rubio predicted that the House will pass a short-term budget to keep the government running.
“If in fact the government shuts down, it will be unfortunately because the president and his allies believe that Obamacare is so important to them that they are willing to shut down the government over it.
“That’s shortsighted, primarily because they are going to fight to the end to defend a disaster, something that even their own allies and labor unions are asking to be let out from.”