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

House, in post-midnight Sunday votes, agrees to delay Obamacare

The House of Representatives set up a showdown with the Senate over funding the government, as Republicans pushed through their iniatives in a series of post-midnight votes Sunday.

First, the House passed a repeal of a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, 248 to 174.

Then, it approved a one-year delay in the Affordable Care Act, 231 to 192.

Finally, the House okayed a plan to continue military pay in the event of a shutdown.

The Senate, though, is expected to reject the health care plans. Senators are due to return at 2 p.m. Monday. If Congress does not agree by midnight Monday on a spending plan to keep the government running when fiscal 2014 begins Tuesday, parts of the government will begin shutting down.

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.

House will vote Saturday on plan to delay Obamacare, keep government open

The House of Representatives plans to vote later Saturday on a budget plan that would delay the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, for a year.

It would also repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax, and fund the government through Dec. 15.

The Senate Friday approved a measure that funds the government through Nov. 15 and  keeps the health care law intact.

Since Republicans control the House, passage of the new plan is expected--setting up a showdown with the Senate, which is not scheduled to return until Monday.

Here's House Speaker John Boehner's statement Saturday:

"The American people don’t want a government shut down and they don’t want ObamaCare. That’s why later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s health care law as possible.

“The first amendment delays the president’s health care law by one year. And the second permanently repeals ObamaCare’s medical device tax that is sending jobs overseas.

“Both of these amendments will change the date of the Senate CR to December 15th. We will also vote on a measure that ensures our troops get paid, no matter what.

“We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”


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 54-44 to restore Obamacare funding

The Senate Friday moved an important step closer to passing a budget that would keep the government open past Tuesday while restoring Obamacare funding, as it voted 54 to 44 to restore Obamacare funding to the fiscal 2014 budget.

The House of Representatives had stripped the funds in a vote last week.

Earlier Friday, the Senate voted 79 to 19 to cut off any a debate led by the plan’s opponents.

A final vote on the budget is expected later Friday afternoon.

The votes in the Democratic-controlled Senate set up a showdown with the Republican-led House.  The House last week approved a stopgap budget that defunds the 2010 health care law. Senators from both parties have warned that keeping that provision will lead to a partial government shutdown, since the Senate will never approve it.

The House, though, is remaining resolute. It plans to meet Saturday to consider the Senate action, and so far, has shown little inclination to pass a budget that keeps the Obamacare money intact.

Unless Congress agrees on a budget plan by Monday night, the government will run out of spending authority Tuesday.

The Senate votes followed an often tense week of debate that featured a 21 hour, 19 minute talkathon Tuesday and Wednesday led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Democrats, though, argued that the conservative effort made little sense; Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., urged colleagues Friday to strip the budget bill of "ideological riders."

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

An unusual partisan war on the Senate floor.

The Senate is slated to vote on cutting off debate on budget legislation Friday--and so far, that's what it will do.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to move up the vote to Thursday, but a small group of Republicans said no. That led to a highly unusual partisan clash on the Senate floor, with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., questioning Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Cruz led a 21 hour, 19 minute talkathon Tuesday and Wednesday, but then voted to cut off debate, along with the other 99 senators.

"I don't think we've had a 21-hour filibuster and then the person carrying out the filibuster voted for the issue they were filibustering," Corker said.

Cruz explained that Corker made a "misstatement" suggesting that Cruz and others changed their position. The vote was to cut off debate on the motion to proceed to the bill, a motion Cruz supported.

Corker would not relent. Finally, he charged, "It's my understanding that the reason that we're putting this off is because they would like for people around the country that they have notified to be able to watch."

Final votes are expected Friday.

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.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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