House Passes Doomed Anti-Obamacare Bill Hours Before Shutdown

AP
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The Republican-led House passed yet another bill that derails Obamacare in order to avert a government shutdown, just hours before a government shutdown on Monday night.

The final vote was 228-201. Nine Democrats voted yes and 12 Republicans voted no.

The Democratic-led Senate intends to strike down the provisions before midnight and send a “clean” continuing resolution back to the House that maintains the status quo, a Senate Democratic aide said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) quickly took to the Senate floor to say Republicans have lost their minds. “We will not re-litigate the health care debate or negotiate at the point of a gun,” he said, vowing that the upper chamber will immediately vote to reject this bill and “the House will be in the same pickle they’re in right now.”

In that event, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would have to come up with yet another stopgap bill that includes extraneous measures, or cave and accept a clean CR.

“We will be right back at square one yet again,” the Senate Democratic aide said. “House Republicans simply have to choose whether to put the Senate’s clean CR on the floor and let it pass with Democratic and Republican votes, or force a Republican government shutdown.”

The new House GOP bill delays the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate for one year and prohibits members of Congress and staff from receiving health care subsidies under the law.

“I would like to see Obamacare in hell,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) told reporters Monday night.

Republicans fumed that the portion of the law grants “special treatment” to Congress. It has become a rallying cry among conservatives, but the reality is less simple. Members and staff are required to drop their existing government plans and buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, and the health care law provides them subsidies up to a point — as it provides others who buy from the marketplaces. The GOP amendment would essentially strip them of their employer contribution.

“All the president has to do is say yes, and the government is funded tomorrow,” Boehner said on the House floor before the vote.

Many federal services will close and hundreds of thousands of workers will be furloughed if the government shuts down when the new fiscal year begins on Tuesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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