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.”

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 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 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 20, 2013

Obama to Boehner: no negotiation on debt limit hike

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said President Barack Obama called the Ohio Republican Friday afternoon and said don't expect negotiations with the White House over raising the nation's debt limit.

"The president called the speaker this evening to tell him he wouldn't negotiate with him on the debt limit," said Brendan Buck,  the Boehner spokesman. "Given the long history of using debt limit increases to achieve bipartisan deficit reduction and economic reforms, the speaker was disappointed but told the president that the two chambers of Congress will chart the path ahead. It was a brief call."

September 19, 2013

Pelosi says she respects Boehner--and hopes that doesn't hurt him

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says she respects House Speaker John Boehner--and maybe, she laughed, that won't help him.

"So I wish the speaker well.  I respect the speaker.  I wish him well.  And I hope it doesn't hurt him too much that I said I respected him," the California Democrat told her weekly news conference.

Asked if Boehner is in control of his Republican caucus, Pelosi said, "Maybe he's in full control of his caucus.  I don't know if he's a reflection of his caucus or they're a reflection of him.  But let's just say I wish the speaker well.  He's speaker of the House.  We have a responsibility."

Pelosi preceded Boehner as speaker. 

She explained Thursday how "the debt that has been incurred that we have to raise the limit to was incurred by the Congress of the United States. So we have a responsibility to lift the debt ceiling.  And that's not for new spending.  That's for spending that has already occurred. 

"So I think that it is not just up to the speaker, but the outside has to weigh in and say, we understand the consequences of not lifting the debt ceiling; even if you don't, let us 'splain that to you. That means, in our house, increased car payment, credit card payment, student loans, mortgage payments, small-business loans across the board...."

So, she said, let's have a national discussion "because I'm not sure people know, again, the pyrotechnics that are going on the -- by the tea party in the Republican caucus and what that means directly to them." 


Reid: "Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead, dead, dead"

Forget any chance that defunding of Obamacare will go anywhere in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

"So in case there's any shred of doubt in the minds of our House counterparts, I want to be absolutely crystal clear.  Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead, dead.  It's a waste of time, as I said before.  In fact, I told the speaker that last week," the Nevada Democrat told a news conference.   

"I'm disappointed that he's decided, from what I've heard, that he's going to move forward with full knowledge that it's a futile effort.  They're simply postponing the inevitable choice they must face:  Pass a clean bill to fund the government or shut it down."

Democrats reiterated that theme throughout the day. "I do think there's a widespread view among the Republican mainstream that this is a dumb strategy.  Many of them, you know, have voiced that to me.  But we'll have to wait and see what happens," said Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The House of Representatives plans to vote Friday on a stopgap budget that would defund the 2010 health care law.

Boehner predicts "big victory" Friday on defunding Obamacare--but can't say what comes next

House Speaker John Boehner Thursday predicted the House of Representatives would pass legislation defunding Obamacare--but couldn't say what might happen next.

"Tomorrow, we'll pass a plan to protect the American people from the president's health care law while keeping the rest of government up and running," he told a Capitol news conference.

"When it comes to the health care law, the debate in the House has been settled.  I think our position is very clear:  The law is a train wreck, and it's going to raise costs.  It's destroying American jobs, and it must go."

As a result, the Ohio Republican said, "We'll deliver a big victory in the House tomorrow, then this fight will move over to the Senate where it belongs.  I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle."

But the Senate is widely expected to reject the House plan, which would also keep the government running after the start of the new fiscal year Oct. 1. Democrats hold 54 of the Senate's 100 seats.

So what would happen next, Boehner was asked.

" I'm not going to get into the ifs, ands and buts and all that nonsense," he said.

Reporters kept pressing.

"I'm not going to speculate on what the Senate will or will not do," he insisted.


September 18, 2013

Pelosi: "Boehner surrendered the gavel" to the Tea Party

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is deeply unhappy with Republicans' plan to vote later this week on a proposal to defund Obamacare while keeping the government running past Oct. 1.

"Today, Speaker Boehner surrendered the gavel to the Tea Party’s desperate attempts to put insurance companies back in charge of the Americans’ health care.  After failing to offer a single jobs bill in this Congress, House Republicans will force their 42nd attempt to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act; now, they’re prepared to shut down the government to do so," the Califoironia Democrat said.

Pelosi saw harsh consequences.

"Instead of moving forward on a bipartisan budget solution, Republicans are doubling down on the devastating sequester cuts that will cost one million jobs by the end of 2014 and continue to gut critical investments in education, infrastructure, and innovation – key pillars of a thriving economy and a strong middle class," she maintained.

Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner plan separate press conferences Thursday to address the concerns.


House will vote on defunding Obamacare, keeping government running till 12/15

The House of Representatives plans to vote this week on keeping the government funded after the start of the next fiscal year October 1--and defunding the 2010 health care law.

After a meeting of House Republicans, who have a 233 to 200 majority, Speaker John Boehner todl reporters, We're going to continue do everything we can to repeal the president's failed health-care law.  This week the House will pass a   CR that locks the sequester savings in and defunds Obamacare."

The CR is a continuing resolution, a device that allows the government to continue running based on previous spending levels. The Boehner plan would keep the government running until Dec. 15 and extend the country's ability to borrow.

The effort is likely to pass the House but face huge problems in the Senate, where Democrats control 54 of the 100 seats.

If the two chambers cannot agree, and no funding legislation is passed by Sept. 30, most government services could shut down.

Boehner insisted he does not want a shutdown. "That's not the goal here," he said.

But he also said the battle should now shift to the Senate--despite some misgivings among many Republicans, they agreed on a strategy to force a showdown.

Senate leaders have said they'll wait and see what the House sends them before taking any action.



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

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