Republican House jumps off political cliff: votes to fund government but defund Obama Care (UPDATED)
And now the Republican Party’s rebranding is complete. Not rebranding the party as a more inclusive, compassionate party, but a party seemingly controlled by the Tea Party movement and far-right segments of the party that have now ignored warnings from Republican political pros and GOP establishment types: House Republicans have voted to keep the government open and linked that for defunding Obamacare. Get ready for a Republican-engineered government shutdown:
The House approved legislation on Friday to keep the government open past Sept. 30, but also to eliminate funding for “Obamacare.”
The vote marked an opening gambit by the GOP just 10 days before the deadline at which the government will run out of money, causing a myriad of federal services to cease. The provision gutting health care reform was intended to mollify conservatives who have vowed not to fund the government unless the landmark law is eradicated.
But the measure faces almost certain doom in the Senate, where Democrats have said they would vote to restore funding for the Affordable Care Act. And even if they were to fail, President Barack Obama has flatly promised to veto the bill.
The posturing by the Republican-controlled House means Washington now faces a narrow window of opportunity to reach an ever-elusive consensus over how to continue government operations, and avoid a politically-costly shutdown.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks to reporters about the deadline to fund the government and the fight among House Republicans, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013.
If no resolution is reached, a shutdown threatens to harm the economy and place scores of government workers out of work for an undetermined period of time. Wall Street appeared unconcerned by the developments, though, expecting lawmakers to reach an 11th-hour accord as they have in virtually every previous showdown.
Look for the conservative entertainment complex and conservative new and old media pundits to blame the government shut down on Obama. In other words: unless he gives into an action Republicans could not win by creating winning coalitions in Congress or via the Supreme Court, he’s to blame. But the precedent for a President — any kind of President — giving into what Obama correctly calls “extortion” could alter the way political business has been done in the United States for centuries.
Some Republicans were not happy over this vote — such as Rep. Peter King:
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he hopes Friday’s House vote to keep the government running while defunding “Obamacare” will expose Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz as “a fraud” and that “he’ll no longer have any influence in the Republican Party.”
The Tea Party-backed Cruz spent much of the summer drumming up pressure on fellow Republicans to refuse to fund the government unless the Affordable Care Act was also defunded at the same time. The campaign helped Cruz build a national profile among conservative activists who badly want to repeal President Barack Obama’s landmark legislation.
But as the House passed legislation to do just that, some Republicans turned their ire not toward opposed Democrats, but toward the Texas firebrand.
“Today’s vote is definitely a signal that we have to take a more realistic and practical approaches, that we can’t be going off on these false missions that Ted Cruz wants us to go on,” King told reporters before the bill passed by a partisan 230-189 vote.
And at a press conference following the vote, Republicans vocally punted responsibility to follow through on their legislation to the Senate — and implicitly, to Cruz.
“The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after Friday’s House vote.
Ignoring the wishes of the White House and the Senate, the House of Representatives passed a stopgap funding bill Friday that will shut down the government unless Democrats agree to defund President Barack Obama’s marquee health care law.
While the House voted 230 to 189 to pass the measure that Democrats have called unacceptable, Republicans insisted their bill does nothing to shutter the federal government.
That didn’t take long, did it?
And the way 21st century politics operates, if there is a shutdown it will be repeated and written over and over again in conservative media that it’s Obama’s and the Democrats fault. The same line will be used if the U.S. defaults on its debts because for the first time a political party tried to use not paying debts and damaging the American and world economy to get politics it could not get with elections or court rulings.
Ahead of the vote, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., urged his colleagues to support the continuing resolution (CR), which allocates $986 billion to keep the government afloat through December 15.
The CR “is clean, it’s short term, it continues reductions in federal discretionary spending, but most importantly…it will prevent a government shutdown,” Rogers said.
He warned his colleagues in the House and Senate of the “severe” consequences that would result from a shutdown, saying it would shirk one of the most “basic duties” of congressmen and put America’s national security at risk.
Nevertheless, House Republicans’ vote on Friday sets up a high-stakes game of chicken with the Democratic Senate, making the possibility of a government shutdown very real if the two chambers cannot iron out their differences over the next 10 days.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., condemned the resolution and the chamber that passed it in a fiery floor speech before the vote.
“This place is a mess,” she said, her voice snapping like a whip. “Let’s get our house in order. We are legislators. We have come here to do a job for the American people.”
“What is brought to the floor today is without a doubt a measure designed to shut down government,” she said. “Its purpose is clear, and if our colleagues on the Republican side deny that then they have no idea of the gravity of the situation.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said again Thursday that any bill that defunds the health care law is “dead” when it reaches the upper chamber. Next week, the Senate is likely to strip the language pertaining to Obamacare out of the bill and send it back to the House, daring lawmakers in the lower chamber to vote against a funding bill mere days before the law currently funding the government expires.
A passionate contingent of Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have vowed to follow the House’s lead and ensure the president’s health care law is not funded, but the reality that the Senate is controlled by Democrats makes their task all but impossible.
The vote is the first move in an expected series of showdowns on Capitol Hill. Next, the Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to strip the language defunding Obamacare and then send the continuing resolution back to the House. If no deal is reached by September 30, the end of the fiscal year, there would be a government shutdown on October 1.
In addition to the budget showdown, the federal government is expected to reach its debt ceiling by the middle of October. If the debt ceiling is not increased through legislation by then, the federal government will default on its debts. House Republicans have indicated that they are willing to tie defunding Obamacare to any possible increase in the debt ceiling.
Aside from defunding Obamacare, the continuing resolution would otherwise continue to fund the federal government at its current post-sequestration levels. Two conservative Democrats, Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, joined the GOP in passing the resolution, while Scott Rigell (R-VA), an idiosyncratic conservative, joined Democrats in opposing it.
For more blog reaction GO HERE.
They actually did it: The House just passed a resolution that risks a government shutdown to defund Obamacare. #EnoughAlready
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 20, 2013
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) September 20, 2013
You know it's bad when… "O'Reilly Blasts GOP Effort To Defund Obamacare As 'Fanaticism'" (VIDEO) http://t.co/ARJ3g8ovfd
— NowWithAlex (@NowWithAlex) September 20, 2013
— L'Etat C'est Moi (@letat_lechat) September 20, 2013
Again, Karl Rove: "No sentient being believes" House Republicans will succeed in defunding Obamacare.
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) September 20, 2013
It Appears That Senate Republicans Have Already Lost The Obamacare Chess Match http://t.co/ikWVwXzCu2
— Doug Mataconis (@dmataconis) September 20, 2013
A strong move by House Republicans puts the ball in Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee's court. Good Luck! http://t.co/YkF1AQpqkE
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) September 20, 2013