September 30, 2013

Boehner: "The House has done its work"

A defiant House Speaker John Boehner insisted Monday morning the House "has done its work" on the budget, and urged the Senate to go along.

That's unlikely to happen. The House voted Sunday to delay Obamacare for a year and repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax. The Democratic-led Senate is expected to reject those provisions later Monday.

"The House has done its work," Boehner said Monday in a House floor speech. "We passed a bill on Saturday night (actually early Sunday), sent it to the United States Senate - that would delay ObamaCare for one year, and would eliminate permanently the medical device tax that is costing us tens of thousands of jobs that are being shipped overseas.

“Senate decided not to work yesterday.  Well my goodness, if there’s such an emergency, where are they?  It's time for the Senate to listen to the American people just like the House has listened to the American people and to pass a one-year delay of ObamaCare and a permanent repeal of the medical device tax.”

Republicans would get most blame for shutdown--but Obama would get plenty

Republicans would get more of the blame for a government shutdown, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday.

The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday, found 46 percent would blame Republicans while 36 percent would blame President Barack Obama. Thirteen percent blame both sides. Unless Congress and Obama agree on a spending plan by midnight, parts of the government will begn shutting down.

The House of Representatives, run by Republicans, passed Sunday a plan to keep the government open, but the Democratic-led Senate is expected to reject it later Monday.

Obama gets some of the blame--people were split on whether he's acted like a responsible leader or a "spoiled child" during the budget debate. But 69 percent thought Republicans have acted like spoiled children.

The House budget bill delays implementation of the 2010 health care law--but 60 percent said it was more important to avoid a shutdown than change the health care law at the moment.

September 29, 2013

Next move in budget battle is up to the Senate, and Democrats are pessmistic

     The next move in the budget shutdown crisis is up to the Senate.  It is expected to reject the House’s Sunday action, which will then send the budget—with no delay in health care or any of the other add-ons—back to the House.

        It’s going to be rejected again and we’re going to face the prospect of shutting down, again," Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin, D-Ill., told CBS' "Face the Nation."

    Asked if he thought a shutdown was likely, Durbin said,  “I’m afraid I do,” after watching the House debate and vote early Sunday. The House voted to fund the government through November 15, delay implementing Obamacare for a year and repealing the 2.3 percent medical device tax.

    Here's where things stand at the moment:

Continue reading "Next move in budget battle is up to the Senate, and Democrats are pessmistic" »

September 28, 2013

House votes on Obamacare delay expected around 11 Saturday night

The House Rules Committee formalized the rules for debating the Republican plan on the budget and health care, and final votes are now expected between 11 p.m. and midnight Saturday.

The Republican-dominated panel approved an hour of debate on plans to delay Obamacare for a year and repeal the medical device tax, which helps fund the health care law.

There will be another 40 minutes of debate on allowing military personnel to be paid in the event of a shutdown, and an hour debate on the rules themselves.

Republicans have a 233 to 200 seat House majority, and passage of all the measures is expected.

September 27, 2013

Senate back Monday at 2, House GOP caucuses Saturday at noon

The Senate will return at 2 p.m. Monday, the last day of the fiscal year.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to meet Saturday, but the action will first come when Republicans meet privately starting at noon.

They have the potential for drama, since the Senate Friday approved a stopgap budget plan that includes Obamacare funding. House Republicans are balking at the Obamacare money.

But the Republicans differ on tactics. Some want to try again to push stripping the money, some don't. If the House does pass legislation that needs Senate approval, though, it'll have to wait till Monday to see if the Senate goes along--and the Senate's Democratic leaders have said they will not accept any dilution of Obamacare.

Senate votes start at 12:30, and after that, who knows?

The action in Congress starts at 12:30 Friday, when the Senate is scheduled to begin a series of votes that will stake out its position on keeping the government open--and Obamacare funded.

If the Senate acts as expected, the next move will be up to the Republican-led House of Representatives. Republicans are expected to meet after the Senate vote to plot their next moves.

The first Senate vote Friday will be whether to cut off debate on legislation keeping the government running past Oct. 1. Sixty votes are needed for passage.

If that vote succeeds--as expected--the Senate would then quickly vote to restore Obamacare funding, which was eliminated in the House version of the bill last week--and then pass the entire bill. Those two votes need 51 for passage, and Democrats control 54 of the 100 seats.

After that, who knows? Republicans have vowed they won't accept a budget that funds Obamacare. They're considering several steps, including adding a repeal of a medical device tax that helps fund the law's provisions, and keeping the government open for another week while negotiations continue.

If the two Houses can't agree by Monday night, parts of the government are due to shut down Tuesday.


September 26, 2013

Boehner doesn't expect shutdown, but is wary of Senate action

He expects no shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday. But he's also not inclined to deal with a budget passed by the Senate that includes funding for Obamacare.

Asked if he would accept such legislation, Boehner said, "I do not see that happening."

So would he attach something to it, like defunding Obamacare?

Boehner wouldn't say. "I made it clear now for months and months and months, we have no interest in seeing a government shutdown.  But we've got to address the spending problem that we have in this town. And so there will be options available to us.  There is not going to be any speculation about what we're going to do or not do until the Senate passes their bill," the Ohio Republican said.

He would not get specific. "We're not going to have a discussion about the CR (continuing resolution), to speculate about the CR, until the Senate finishes their bill," he said. That's expected Saturday. 

But Boehner stressed he did not see a shutdown coming. "No, I do not expect that to happen," he said.

Unless Congress agrees on a spending plan by Oct. 1, parts of the government could begin shutting down.

September 25, 2013

Senate will move faster on budget

The Senate will move a bit faster than expected on the fiscal 2014 budget bill.

Lawmakers agreed late Wednesday not to use all the debate time allotted on the motion to formally proceed to the bill. As a result, the Senate agreed by voice vote to consider the measure.

That could mean another long debate. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada quickly moved to cut off a talkathon. A vote on that cutoff, or cloture, is likely Friday. If it gets 60 votes, there could be 30 more hours of debate.

That would set up final vote late Saturday. The bill currently defunds Obamacare, but Democrats are expected to restore the money.

September 24, 2013

Cruz: DC coverage "like reading the Hollywood gossip pages"

The Senate talkathon over defunding Obamacare is on, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and he has some thoughts about himself.

He cited "more than a few attacks from our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle and also from our friends on the Republcian side of the aisle.

"I told my wife I now pick up the newspapers each day to learn just what a scoundrel I am and just what attack will have come," he said, "some on the record and some, the ones that often even better are the anonymous ones."

Don't make this a battle of senator versus senator, Cruz urged. "It's like reading the Hollywood gossip pages. That's how this issue is covered," he said.

September 23, 2013

McConnell won't vote to block funding bill that includes defunding Obamacare

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he won't vote to block the 2014 budget bill, which now includes defunding Obamacare.

The first vote on cutting off debate is likely Wednesday. The bill at that point would include the defunding measure. Those funds, though, are expected to be restored later, and McConnell made it clear he opposes putting the money back in.

Here's a statement from his press office:

"Senator McConnell supports the House Republicans’ bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny. He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans’ bill.

"If and when the Majority Leader goes down that path, Washington Democrats will have to decide—without hiding behind a procedural vote—whether or not to split with their leadership and join Republicans and their constituents in opposing the re-insertion of Obamacare funding into the House-passed bill."


"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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