It looks like the U.S. is headed toward a government shutdown.
House Republicans came out of a rare Saturday session with a plan to pass a bill that includes a one-year delay in the Affordable Care Act. It also will feature a permanent repeal of a new tax on medical devices, something that passed the Senate in a bipartisan but symbolic vote earlier this year.
When asked if that means shutdown, a Senate Democratic leadership aide said, “Yup.” The government runs out of funding after Sept. 30.
The House will vote on the amendments later Saturday. Separately, it will also vote on a bill to ensure that members of the military get paid in the event of a shutdown.
House GOP leadership — Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) — released a statement after the caucus meeting.
“The American people don’t want a government shut down and they don’t want ObamaCare,” the leaders said. “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 Senate passed a so-called “clean” continuing resolution on Friday, which would keep the government funded through Nov. 15. But it also strips out language from the original House-passed bill that defunds Obamacare. House Republican aides had said it’s unlikely that the House will move this bill.
Senate Majority Harry Reid has said that the Senate won’t pass anything that delays or defunds the health-care law — or even anything that “relates to Obamacare.” But House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leadership are looking to satisfy a group of conservatives that have tied their hands.
For the House, the other option would have been to pass an extremely short-term extension that would keep the government funded for another week or two. That was the only option discussed in the House that Senate Democrats didn’t flatly reject.
Because of the legislative ping-pong between the House and Senate and the significant differences, there might not be enough time to avert a shutdown.
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