Senate nixes House GOP amendments to delay Obamacare, sends back “clean” continuing resolution
Senate Democrats today rejected two amendments passed by House Republicans that would delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act by a year, allow employers to opt out of health coverage requirements they find morally objectionable (such as contraceptions), and repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax in exchange for funding the federal government for another six weeks to give lawmakers more time to pass the fiscal year 2013-14 federal budget.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the House Republicans’ amendments “strikingly irresponsible and stunningly callous”. He accused the Republicans of holding hostage the federal government just to “strip tens of millions of Americans of their health insurance and force tens of millions more to live in fear” by repealing Obamacare.
Unless a continuing resolution is passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President by midnight, the federal government will be forced to shut down beginning on Oct. 1st.
The Senate voted 54 to 46, largely along partisan lines, to “table” – or kill – the two House amendments to H.J. Res. 59, the continuing resolution to fund the federal government past Sept. 30th. The Senate sent back to the House a “clean” CR bill for consideration. Reid pointed out that Democrats agreed to House Republicans’ demand for lower funding level in the clean CR bill.
“The House easily could and clearly should pass a clean continuing resolution today. All Speaker [John] Boehner has to do is let every member of the House of Representatives vote – both Republicans and Democrats,” said Reid. “The Speaker has another opportunity to do the right thing. This afternoon, the Senate voted to strip the hollow, political ransom notes from the House-passed continuing resolution. The Senate sent back to the House of Representatives a clean bill to keep the government functioning. And House Republicans will face the same choice tonight that they did this weekend: pass the Senate’s clean bill to keep the government functioning or force a government shutdown.”
President Barack Obama urged House Republicans to pass the Senate’s “clean” CR to avoid a government shutdown. Obama said it is wrong for Republicans to use the government shutdown as leverage to “refight” political battles with the Affordable Care Act, which House Republicans have voted 41 times to repeal or de-fund.
“Keeping the people’s government open is not a concession to me. Keeping vital services running and hundreds of thousands of Americans on the job is not something you “give” to the other side. It’s our basic responsibility,” said Obama. “You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job; for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway; or just because there’s a law there that you don’t like.”
- Senate.gov: Vote #210 on the Motion to Table (Motion to Table House Amdts. to Senate Amdt. to H.J.Res. 59)
- Senate.gov: Vote #211on the Motion to Table (Motion to Table the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.J. Res. 59 )
- WhatTheFolly.com: Spotlight: Federal Budget 2013-14
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: President Barack Obama’s remarks on the continuing resolution to fund the federal government after Sept. 30, 2013
- Reid.Senate.gov: Reid Remarks on a Republican Government Shutdown
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