House Passes Continuing Resolution That Defunds Obamacare
To the surprise of nobody, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution that defunds the Affordable Care Act and sent it one to the Senate, where it will most assuredly die next week:
The House passed a short-term spending plan Friday morning that would continue funding government operations through mid-December but withhold funding for President Obama’s signature health-care law, firing the opening salvo in what promises to be a contentious 10 days of debate on Capitol Hill over extending government operations by only three months.
The legislation would fund federal agencies at an annualized rate of more than $986 billion but would also leave in place automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, set to take effect in January. It would include language to prohibit any funding going to implementing the health-care law and, additionally, authorize the Treasury to pay some bills and not others in the event that no deal is reached in October on increasing the country’s debt limit.
The strategy of passing a stopgap budgetwith language defunding Obamacare, was adopted in recent days by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and ensured the support of a large number of conservatives who have repeatedly criticized his leadership and voted against previous bills he has advanced.
Acknowledging that the proposal to end the health-care law is at the centerpiece of the budget plan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the law must be ended because it “is turning our full-time economy into a part-time economy.”
But the Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to move quickly next week to strip the health-care provisions from the bill. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that any bill that defunds Obamacare “is dead” and “a waste of time” in the Senate.
Lawmakers voted 230 to 189 to approve the funding measure. Two Democrats, Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.), joined with 228 Republicans to approve the plan; one Republican, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), joined with Democrats.
Rigell’s opposition was explained yesterday in a press release:
Stressing the damage that governing under Continuing Resolutions (CRs) has had on our economy and military, Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-2) today urged House leadership to use the upcoming CR as an opportunity to return the House to regular order. In a letter to House Republican leadership, Rigell asked that language adapted from H. Con. Res. 9, the ‘Govern Before Going Home’ resolution, be added to the CR. This amendment to House Rules would prevent prolonged recesses unless all twelve appropriations bills are passed, eliminating the need for CRs.
“There is universal agreement that funding the federal government with Continuing Resolutions damages the economy and our nation’s military, yet they are now seen as acceptable if not inevitable,” Rigell wrote. ” … The CR is a perfect legislative vehicle to advance our shared goal of returning to regular order.”
“Linking the House calendar to passage of all twelve appropriations bills resonates deeply with our Conference and the American people,” added Rigell.
The legislative language, shown below, stipulates that the House of Representatives is prohibited from adjourning or entering “pro forma” session for more than five days (with exceptions made for national holidays and weekends) unless and until it has passed a budget and all twelve appropriations bills.
The bills fate in the Senate should be decided by the middle of next week. At that point, one wonders what the Republican “Plan B” is.