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House To Insist On One Year Delay Of Obamacare, Making Shutdown All But Inevitable

Capitol Building Daytime 1

With the Senate having voted yesterday to pass a “clean” Continuing Resolution that doesn’t include defunding of Obamacare, the ball is now back in the court of the House of Representatives. As I’ve previously noted, the House GOP had originally intended to reply to this development by moving past the Continuing Resolution and attaching a list of demands to a bill to raise the debt ceiling. However, thanks in no small part to Senator Ted Cruz lobbying behind the scenes, it became clear yesterday that the House GOP did not have the votes to pass a “clean” CR even with the addition of the debt ceiling items. So, the House GOP caucus met this morning to determine the next step and, based on this afternoon’s report, it looks like they plan to send a CR back to the Senate with PPACA conditions still attached to it:

House Republicans will vote to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare in exchange for funding the government, a plan that drastically increases the chances of a government shutdown this Tuesday.

The decision was announced by the GOP leadership in a closed meeting Saturday afternoon, according to sources present. Republicans will also pass a bill to fund U.S. troops if the government shuts down, according to GOP lawmakers. The House’s funding measure will keep the government open until mid December.

This puts Senate Democrats and the White House at loggerheads with House Republicans, a standoff that could lead to the first government shutdown since 1995.

Senate Democrats passed a bill to fund the government until Nov. 15, but kept intact Obamacare.

“We’ve had enough of the disunity in our party,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told the meeting of House Republicans Saturday afternoon. “The headlines are Republicans fighting Republicans. This will unite us. This protects the people who sent us here from Obamacare.”

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said it would be the “fastest whip check in history,” as every member raised their hand, saying they would support the bill.

The House is expected to vote Saturday, sources say.

There are also reports that the bill that House Republicans are considering will also include a repeal of the Medical Device Tax, a provision of the PPACA that has actually proven to be universally unpopular across party lines, and which may actually be something that Senate Democrats could support as a standalone idea. The question, of course, is whether they’d support it, or any other conditions related to the PPACA when they’re attached to a Continuing Resolution that the Senate will receive mere days before the government would shut down. Quite honestly, I don’t see this going over any better in the Senate than the previous House CR did, and I don’t see many, if any, Democratic Senators voting for it if it manages to come up for a final vote.

If this really is the approach that the House is taking, though, then it would seem to make a shutdown inevitable, even if it is just a short-term one. After it passed the CR yesterday, the Senate adjourned and is not scheduled to reconvene until Monday morning, less than 24 hours before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Absent unanimous consent, which seems unlikely, there really isn’t any way under the rules of the Senate that would allow the bill to reach even the first procedural vote that the Senate is required to take until nearly mid-week, with a final vote not taking place until the end of the week. Again, these times could be shortened if there was unanimous consent but, even then, it would mean that we’d see a shutdown that lasted at least a couple of days at the shortest.

Now, as I’ve noted in the past, shutdowns lasting only a few days haven’t been all that unusual over the past 30 years, although we have managed to avoid any shutdowns since the disastrous 21 day shutdown that lasted from late December 1995 to mid January 1996. The difference between now and then, though, is that the two sides seems further apart than they have been in the past, about as far apart as Clinton and the Republican Congress was during that last long standoff. That suggests that, if the government does shut down then we’re more likely to see something that lasts for an extended period of time than something that just lasts a couple days.

There is one way to avoid all of this, of course. Both sides could agree to pass a very short-term (one to two weeks) “status quo” CR that keeps spending at current levels and doesn’t touch the PPACA at all. That would give them more time to come up with something acceptable. Of course, with the debt ceiling coming up right around the corner, that may not be as realistic as it might appear.

Reports indicate that the House will likely vote on this new Continuing Resolution sometime today. At that point, we’ll have to wait and see what the Senate does on Monday. Absent some back channel negotiations that we don’t know about, though, it seems unlikely that anything can be done to avoid a shutdown at this point unless one side or the other blinks, and that just doesn’t seem likely.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    So, the results of the election of 2012, which was basically a referendum on the Obama presidency, never actually happened.

    Again, I hope the president tells the GOP to f*** off.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That would give them more time to come up with something acceptable.

    Did you write that with a straight face Doug?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  3. Davebo says:

    It would be like Christmas in late September were it not for the horrible effects it will have on so many Americans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  4. john personna says:

    Would a repeal of the medical devices tax not break on how to make the change revenue neutral?

    That is, by repealing Obamacare too or by taxing something else?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    Would a repeal of the medical devices tax not break on how to make the change revenue neutral?

    That is, by repealing Obamacare too or by taxing something else?

    Hmmm Interesting question. Especially seeing as the CBO has the ACA reducing the deficit…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  6. anjin-san says:

    the deficit…

    Which is pretty much falling like a stone anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  7. David M says:

    Silly commenters, the ACA can’t reduce the deficit. Not only that, but the GOP believes the deficit only matters if it is democratic spending they don’t like. There’s no place here for logic or facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, the GOP’s position is that they want to give everyone the waivers that Obama’s given out to mainly his political cronies. Obama’s position is that only he gets to rewrite the law, not Congress, and he’s willing to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his way.

    Yep, the GOP’s totes the only ones being unreasonable here.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 26

  9. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Obama’s position is that only he gets to rewrite the law, not Congress, and he’s willing to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his way.

    Once this one drips down the wall, refusing to stick……

    What are you going to say then?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: Show me where in the ObamaCare law the president has the authority postpone the mandates like he has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  11. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Show me where in the ObamaCare law the president has the authority postpone the mandates like he has.

    This one will need more spaghetti sauce if you want it to stick.

    So lemme get this straight…..the president is postponing the mandate, and you’re mad about it????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  12. David M says:

    Still don’t understand the end game here.

    1. Shut down the government
    2. ???
    3. No more Obamacare

    WTF does the GOP think that step 2 is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  13. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    President Obama is clearly delivering that message and the Republicans have responded by saying that they will not fund the administration of someone who has zero interest in negotiating and has to have a 100% victory in everything he does.

    Why doesn’t the Obama Administration doesn’t just throw the Republicans a bone such as agreeing to eliminate the tax on medical devices so that the Republicans can claim some amount of victory.

    Right now, it seems that the Obama Administration is insisting on total victory and that is something that the Republicans can give the administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  14. bill says:

    @superdestroyer: true, why should they fund something that not a single republican voted on? especially since everybody and their dog wants an exemption from it….what a mess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  15. James Pearce says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Why doesn’t the Obama Administration doesn’t just throw the Republicans a bone such as agreeing to eliminate the tax on medical devices so that the Republicans can claim some amount of victory.

    Because they are threatening to hold the entire economy hostage to their intractable demands.

    If the GOP wanted to negotiate, they should have done it while Congress was deliberating over the law. They refused then, thinking they could stop the law dead in it’s tracks, and they have failed spectacularly in that endeavor….in Congress, in court, and even now with this shutdown nonsense.

    Unfortunately, they have left themselves no room on this one. Now they want to negotiate? Fine, but they should not expect any “bones.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    President Obama is clearly delivering that message and the Republicans have responded by saying that they will not fund the administration of someone who has zero interest in negotiating and has to have a 100% victory in everything he does.

    Let me get this straight: The federal government has to be funded. The spending limit has to be raised. The GOP knows this. Why on earth would Obama negotiate over that? If in the end, Obama is going to get what the the country needs, with out giving the GOP a Dogdamned thing, why would he? Now, if he was asking for say, Single payer health care, or maybe a Carbon tax, or a Path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, or an End to sequestration, an End to Bush tax cuts above $259K, or a Wall Street tax, or the Speakership for Nancy Pelosi, THEN maybe he would negotiate, engage in some give and take.

    But he is not asking for any of that. He is asking the GOP to do what they have to do anyway, in a reasonable and responsible way, a way that does not damage the full faith and credit of the United States, or harm the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the gov’t on a daily basis.

    But all the GOP can do is hold a gun to their heads and say, “You better do what I say or the Ni**er gets it!!”**

    **(think Blazing Saddles)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  17. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Explain how passing the budget passed by the Republican house other than the nonsense about defunding the ACA is Republican capitulation. THEY wrote and passed every other particular in the budget. It is their budget. Now giving them everything they initially asked for other than defunding Obamacare is capitulation. That is ridiculous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  18. Argon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Yeah, I saw that ‘give them time to come up with something acceptable’ statement too. And I want a unicorn too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  19. rudderpedals says:

    Careful not to be popping the champagne before the House actually passes something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    What should be negotiated is a real budget where Congress passes a series of bills that fund the different departments and agencies of the federal government. However, the Democrats in the Senate have been quiet clear that they will not pass any budget that is passed by the House. That is why the government ends up with the continuing resolution mess every October.

    President Obama will probably be the first president who will go all eight years of a two term administraiton with significant portion of the government funded by CR. The Democrats disinterest in passing real budget and just waiting for the next election is one of the indications that the Democrats know that the U.S. is headed to a one party state. The Democrats are just trying to run out the clock until they regain control of the House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @Grewgills:

    The House is not voting to pass a budget. The House is voting on a continuing resolution because a budget for FY14 has not been passed. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/28/gop-leadership-house-to-vote-on-continuing-resolution-saturday/

    CR’s are suppose to be a continuation of previous spending. How does the federal government fund a massive new program on CR? What the Obama Administration seems to want is a CR resolution that it can use as a budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  22. john personna says:

    @David M:

    WTF does the GOP think that step 2 is?

    If they have any hope at all, it can only be that they are willing to suffer default for longer than the Democrats.

    A pretty horrible position for the business party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  23. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Ah, the CR does not introduce any new programs, no.

    The GOP wishes to use the CR to edit and remove programs, which it might do if it actually had the votes not only for a simple majority in the Senate, but to overrule a Presidential veto.

    The ONLY thing the GOP House majority can do is make the country suffer first shutdown, and then if they are really crazy, default. In the hopes that shutdown/default will make the Democrats save the country for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  24. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: This is like talking to a wall, but it’s worth noting that since both houses of Congress passed their own budgets, the Democrats in both Senate and House were adamant about going to conference where their budgets were to be negotiated, and the republicans in both chambers opposed setting up a conference, hoping to extort concessions in the debt ceiling/CR adventures.
    It is also worth noting that Obama, the great dictator who will not hear of any Republican ideas, had inserted Chained CPI, an idea most democrats abhor in his budget as an enticement for republicans to negotiate with him, a gesture it took them about 0.3 seconds to reject.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  25. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Do you have a reference for when the Senate voted on the FY2014 budget. I did not think that a real FY2014 budget had even been voted out of the Senate. And I mean the real budget and not any form of continuing resolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  26. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    False premise? That there are no multi-year spending laws in effect?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What should be negotiated is a real budget where Congress passes a series of bills that fund the different departments and agencies of the federal government.

    In their court now. They can do their constitutionally delegated duties…. or not. What makes you think they will this time?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  28. anjin-san says:

    @ super

    Democrats know that the U.S. is headed to a one party state.

    If memory serves, you were warned by the folks that run this site to drop this rant or be punted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Senate-Approves-FY-2014-Budget-Proposal.aspx
    This budget was passed after the republicans got a promise of passing a budget in the senate for raising the debt limit in early 2013. After the dems passed their budget, the pressured the republicans to go conference committee, but the GOP declined, because TPers in the House didn’t trust Boehner not to come up with a compromise budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  30. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    I am just not allowed to obsess about it. However, it should be obvious that the Democrats are just playing a delay game (over a decade or more) until the demographic of the electorate are more in their favor. President Obama will be the first president to operate the executive branch under a CR for his entire term. One of the reasons that the Democrats have zero interest in compromise is that they know that every election cycle in the future will provide a more favorable mix in the House and Senate. That is why the leadership of the Democrats in the House and Senate come from such safe distrits that they know they will never face a challenge. Look at how the MSM is finally beginning to realize that there are number of automatic state wins for the Democrats in presidential elections make it virtually impossible for the Republicans to win at the national level. Why should the establishment Democrats do anything for the Republicans when demographic changes to the U.S. are going to make the Republicans relevant. I have not seen anyone else explain why the Obama Administration insist on a total victory in the budget negotiations other than the realization that the Republicans are irrelevant to national politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @superdestroyer: How about the realization that you don’t take a yearly standard line item and hand it to the opposition with a hearty “feel free to use it to extort concessions from me whenever you feel like it”.

    Democrats are bad negotiators but even they aren’t that bad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. superdestroyer says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    The issue is when did the Democrats make any concessions to the Republicans. The Democrats insist on getting a total win with all of the budget that they want without the limitation that the Obama Administration actually has to comply with actually budget bills.

    The two question for the future is what will happen to the federal budget as the U.S. becomes a one party state and what happens to budget priorities as entitlement squeeze out other spending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0