House Republicans passed a $986 billion measure to fund the government through mid-December, but they can expect to get it back soon from the Senate because of the GOP's ongoing fight to dismantle the 2010 healthcare reform law. In a nod to the party's most fervent opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the House measure would strip funding for the law just as the core provisions are about to go live. Democratic leaders in the Senate certainly won't go along, and what happens next could lead to the first government shutdown since 1996.
Late News: House passes spending bill that also strips funding from ACA
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) promised a filibuster if the Senate version doesn't include the defunding language, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he could “state unequivocally” that Republicans have no chance of overriding a veto from President Barack Obama, which the president vowed to deliver. “We will not repeal or defund Obamacare, and to think we can is not rational,” McCain said. And the high-stakes feud over the Affordable Care Act could get even messier. House Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the party intends to add language delaying the law for a year to legislation raising the nation's debt ceiling.
That, according to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), would have grave consequences. “Shutting down the economy unless you defund Obamacare is really the economic equivalent of a nuclear weapon,” Van Hollen told Modern Healthcare. The president, meanwhile, showed no sign of budging on the healthcare law. Speaking last week at a Ford plant in Liberty, Mo., he said defunding it “would rob 25 million Americans of the chance to get healthcare coverage. It would cut basic healthcare services for tens of millions of seniors on Medicare already. That's what House Republicans are fighting for.”
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.