In more budget brinkmanship, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to tie a proposed one-year delay of Obamacare to funding for the federal government, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown by Tuesday.
Yet, House Republican leaders, in a closed-door meeting on Saturday, also said they would pass a bill to continue funding the nation’s defense, should the two parties fail to achieve a compromise on continued funding for the federal government. That bill would likely contain enough money to fund the government until mid-December, Republicans said.
This latest goal line stand by House Republicans against the implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has significantly increased the chances of the first government shutdown since the Clinton administration in 1995. For their part, Democrats in the U.S. Senate passed a government funding bill sufficient to run operations through mid-November, while retaining the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
“We had enough of the disunity in our party,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, told House Republicans on Saturday, according to Politico and other news organizations on Capitol Hill. “The headlines are ‘Republicans Fighting Republicans.’ This will unite us. This protects the people who sent us here from Obamacare,” he said in reference to the latest House bill from Republicans.
Republican party leaders said they expect complete unity from the rank-and-file in the House on this bill, in what House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, called the “fastest whip check in history.” Although House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, had reportedly tried to avoid this particular fight by tying defunding efforts to the nation's debt ceiling, other Republicans sought to link the issue to the overall fiscal budget for the coming year.
Democrats in the Senate, however, said they would not accede to any attempts to delay or defund Obamacare, which is set to be fully implemented on Oct. 1. President Barack Obama on Friday referred to House Republican efforts to defund his signature achievement in the White House as a threatened “economic shutdown,” attempting to tie the debate to the economic concerns of the average American voter.
The House will likely vote on the bill on Saturday.