Shutdown showdown over ObamaCare
By Lynn Sweet Washington Bureau Chief September 20, 2013 7:54PM
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to workers at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, MO., Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. Obama traveled to the Kansas City area to visit the Ford automotive plant to highlight the progress in the economy since the 2008 financial crisis. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Updated: October 22, 2013 6:16AM
WASHINGTON — For the 42nd time, Republicans pushed a measure through the House to defang ObamaCare, raising the stakes Friday by bundling it in a resolution to prevent a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
While the Tea Party-fueled legislation has no chance of becoming a law, the Friday vote sets the stage for yet another round of bruising brinksmanship in the coming days — and the potential of large non-essential parts of the federal government closing down on Oct. 1.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took the unusual step Friday night of sending a note to House Democrats to “keep their powder dry with respect to our next steps.”
That’s an appeal to progressives to not try to jam into a resolution — assuming another version reaches the House floor — restoration of funding cuts made earlier this year as part of the “sequester.” That move would destroy any chance of a deal with the GOP.
Earlier on Friday, while Tea Party lawmakers celebrated on Capitol Hill — for a victory destined to be short-lived — President Barack Obama, touring a Ford plant in Liberty, Mo., jabbed at them. “They’re not focused on you. They’re focused on politics. They’re focused on trying to mess with me,” he said.
Obama added: “Unfortunately, there is a faction on the far right of the Republican Party right now — it’s not everybody, but it’s a pretty big faction — who convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown and potentially threaten to not raise the debt ceiling if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.”
After the vote, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave the Tea Party bill he embraced a hearty sendoff: “Our message to the United States Senate is real simple. The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want ObamaCare.”
The funding resolution, with a provision to defund ObamaCare and keep the federal government open through Dec. 15, passed the GOP-controlled House on a 230-189 roll call, almost entirely along party lines.
It lands in the Democratic-run Senate on Monday, with its fate already known: Senate Democrats will not pass a budget resolution containing language to kill President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
“In the United States Senate, we will not repeal or defund ObamaCare. We will not and to think we can is not rational,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told MSNBC.
All Illinois House Republicans voted for the resolution: Peter Roskam, Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger and Aaron Schock.
All Illinois House Democrats were no votes: Robin Kelly, Dan Lipinski, Mike Quigley, Danny Davis, Tammy Duckworth, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider, Bill Foster, Bill Enyard and Cheri Bustos. Democratic Reps. Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez did not vote. Gutierrez was absent because his wife was undergoing surgery in Chicago.
There were two Democrats, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), who voted with 228 Republicans to approve the resolution. Only one Republican, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), sided with 188 Democrats.
Making everything more difficult is a looming battle over extending the debt limit — with the U.S. expected to hit the ceiling sometime in mid-October. The anti-ObamaCare GOP faction will be linking support for the debt measure to defunding — or at the least delaying — ObamaCare.