September 21, 2013

House Republicans vote to wipe out Obamacare

The bill has little chance of passing the Senate, but if neither side budges, it could lead to a government shutdown and America defaulting on its payments.


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Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., right, stands with Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, left, and fellow Republicans after the Republican-controlled House passed a bill that would prevent a government shutdown while crippling the Affordable Care Act.

The Associated Press

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President Barack Obama speaks at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, Mo., on Friday. "If Congress doesn't pass this debt ceiling in the next few weeks, the United States will default on its obligations. That's never happened in American history. Basically, America becomes a deadbeat," he said.

The Associated Press

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Two Democrats -- Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina -- joined 228 Republicans in approving the bill. One Republican voted against it: Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia, whose Norfolk district has a heavy military presence.

The funding bill now moves to the Senate, where Republicans are relying on Cruz and Lee to continue the fight next week. Cruz infuriated many House Republicans when -- after goading them for weeks to risk a shutdown over the health-care law -- he acknowledged this week that he lacks the procedural tools to prevent Senate Democrats from stripping those provisions out of the bill and sending it back to the House.

Cruz tried to make amends, vowing "to do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare," including staging a filibuster. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., can arrange the debate so that Cruz would be forced to filibuster the entire House bill, including the provisions to defund the health-care law. Those would come out later, just before final passage, when a filibuster was no longer possible and Reid could move to win approval of the funding solely with Democratic votes.

"Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government or force a shutdown," Reid said in a statement. "The Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land for three years. Democrats stand ready to work with reasonable people who want to improve it, but Republican attempts to take an entire law hostage simply to appease the tea party anarchists are outrageous, irresponsible and futile."

Depending on how long Cruz and his allies hold up the bill, Senate Democrats say they may be unable to send it back to the House until Sept. 29, leaving Boehner barely 24 hours to avoid a shutdown. Some House Republicans said that at that point, they would be ready to give in.

If the Senate bill is "clean" and doesn't try to increase spending, "then I would lean yes," said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark.

Others refused to acknowledge the possibility that Cruz and his allies might fail.

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Additional Photos

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Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Republican members of the House of Representatives rally at the Capitol on Friday after passing a bill that would prevent a government shutdown while crippling the Affordable Care Act.

The Associated Press


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