Fight heads to the Senate...
As promised, House votes to defund Obamacare
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Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner announced that the House of Representatives would soon vote on a continuing resolution to defund Obamacare. Today he kept his promise. The House has passed a stopgap spending bill that will keep the government functioning, while all but halting the disastrously mislabeled “Affordable Care Act.”
The measure passed along party lines, with a vote of 230-189.
After the vote, Boehner that “Our message to the United States Senate is very simple: the American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare.”
Now the bill will head to the Senate where, with near 100% certainty, Democrats will refuse to pass it. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee say they’re up for the fight, but even Rand Paul admits that, realistically, it’s not a battle they can win.
Harry Reid said Thursday that “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.”
Reid will strip - at least - the anti-Obamacare provisions and Democrats will send it back to the House. The House will then have to decide whether to:
- A: Pass the Senate’s revamped version.
- B: Start over by passing something different.
- C: Simply let the Senate’s refusal to fund the government stand.
Option C would lead to a government shutdown on October 1st, when the current money runs out.
Since the GOP doesn’t seem too keen on that fight, Option B is more likely. Depending on which report you read, the next round of House legislation will focus on the debt ceiling. Republicans will either tie the debt ceiling increase to a complete defunding of Obamacare, or they’ll tie it to a full, one-year, delay on Obamacare implementation.
There was a time when it was no big deal that the House and the Senate would pass differing legislation. That was what conference committees and legislative negotiation were for. But Reid says he will never compromise on any of this, so that appears to be out the window.
Regardless of which way this goes, one thing is for certain. Republicans will be faced with at least three days’ worth of furious socialists flooding the weekend news shows with their feigned outrage.
GOP members need to remember just how deeply flawed the President’s “signature law” is, and they need to hold the line. Obamacare is still wildly unpopular. It’s an economic wrecking ball, and not a single state is ready for its intended launch just ten days from now. If they can control their messaging - and keep the Grahams and McCains from mucking things up - this is a fight they can still win. It will take tremendous pressure from the public to get Senate Democrats to cave and pass the spending resolution without ObamaCare funding, but if the GOP can get the public on its side, they can win this fight.
Whether or not they truly want to? That remains to be seen.