Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

Most think it's a long shot that Senate Democrats will vote to defund Obamacare, even after the House approved a defund measure Friday, but at least one congressional Republican is expecting some divine intervention.

"I think there are senators who are going to find Jesus and do the right thing," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told CNN's Jake Tapper on Friday. Jordan quickly clarified, at Tapper's urging, that his metaphor was about the bill's passage and not about finding religion.

The House government spending bill passed 230-189. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that the defund bill is dead on arrival in that chamber, and no Senate Democrats have publicly supported it. A Senate vote is expected sometime next week. 

After telling TPM this week that forcing a showdown over defunding Obamacare was futile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted Friday that he supported the House-passed bill stripping funding from the health care reform law.

That endorsement would appear to clash with Graham's comments earlier in the week.

"I just think we know how this movie ends," Graham told TPM Tuesday. "I don't see us being able, in the Senate, to successfully carry the day. There are only 45 of us here. I don't see the president, at the end of the day, agreeing to defund Obamacare. I just don't see him agreeing to defund his signature issue. They had a campaign on it. I don't think he's going to say, 'well, now, everything I said all those years -- forget it, I'm willing to let it go.' I just don't see that being a good tactical choice."

UPDATE: 3:55 p.m. EDT

A Senate GOP aide, who declined to speak publicly on his or his boss's behalf, explained the apparent contradiction to TPM.

"You don't get the situation we now find ourselves in. Senator Cruz and Senate Conservatives Fund now want to filibuster the House-passed bill," the aide told TPM. "You can't pass defund Obamacare legislation by filibustering defund Obamacare legislation."

"I think every GOP member supports defunding Obamacare," the aide said. "The question is on the procedure of how you're going to do it."

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), the lone House Republican to vote against a government spending bill that would defund Obamacare, explained that he opposed the bill because it kept sequestration in place.

“This CR fails to address the sequester that is negatively impacting those who wear our nation’s uniform and is the result of Congress’ inability to pass the 12 appropriations bills necessary to properly fund the government on time," Rigell, who represents a district that President Obama carried in 2012, said in a statement. "What is needed is a comprehensive solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges, including a replacement for sequestration."

Rigell's office added, though, that he "appreciated leadership’s effort to defund the health care law as part of the appropriations process and agrees it should be defunded."

The House bill passed Friday 230-189.

After House Republicans voted Friday to fund the government but defund Obamacare, they called on Senate Republicans to take up the fight in their chamber.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who has described shutting down the government over Obamacare as a "suicidal political tactic," told TPM that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other vocal proponents of the defund Obamacare push have now "got the fight they asked for."

"Our senators have been asking us to get this, several of them, so we're going to see what they can do. They've got it now," Cole said. "They've got the fight they asked for. We've shown that we can deliver and hopefully they'll do the same."

House GOP leaders urged Senate Republicans to stand firm, even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that the House bill is "dead" in that chamber.

"You know many Senate Republicans have promised to leave no stone unturned following this bill, and all of us here support that effort," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said at a rally following the Friday vote.

The day before, Speaker John Boehner had placed the onus on Cruz and other Senate Republicans.  

"The fight here has been won. The fight over there is just beginning," Boehner told reporters Thursday. "I expect my Senate colleagues to do everything they can to stop this law. It's time for them to pick up the mantle and get the job done."

House Republican leadership targeted red-state Senate Democrats at a Friday rally following their vote to defund Obamacare.

"I want to know where Senator [Mark] Pryor stands," Majority Leader Eric Cantor said after the House passed a government funding bill that stripped funding for the health care law. He then listed Mary Landrieu (LA), Mark Begich (AK) and Kay Hagan (NC) as other Senate Democrats in red states up for reelection in 2014 who should take a hard look at defunding the law.

The House passed the government spending bill stripping funding from the law largely along party lines in a 230-189 vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said the legislation is "dead" in his chamber.

Cantor's targets -- including Pryor, Landrieu, Begich and Hagan -- have already signaled they wouldn't support such a measure.

The vast majority of young uninsured U.S. adults think it's important for them to have health insurance, according to a new report released Friday.

Only 22 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 said they didn't need health insurance, the analysis funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found. But 35 percent said that health insurance is not worth the cost, suggesting the expense is one of the main reasons that young people go uninsured.

The White House is focusing much of its Obamacare outreach on young uninsured adults, who need to sign up for coverage for the law's finances to work. The administration has set a goal of enrolling 2.7 million young, healthy adults in 2014.

The analysis is based on 2008-2010 federal surveys. Its conclusions are primarily drawn from the responses of 18,000 uninsured Americans, ages 18 to 64. A full methodology is available in the report.

Just to be clear: Obamacare implementation will likely continue even if the government shuts down this fall as Congress fights over the law's funding.

That was the conclusion of a Congressional Research Service report sent to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) back in July.

"It appears that substantial ACA implementation might continue during a lapse in annual appropriations that resulted in a temporary government shutdown," the CRS wrote.

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After GOP leadership capitulated to conservative demands, the House narrowly passed legislation Thursday to cut food stamp spending by nearly $40 billion over 10 years.

The bill passed 217 to 210. Fifteen Republicans joined 195 Democrats in voting against the bill. Six members did not vote; 217 votes were the threshold for passing the measure.

The bill will now likely be merged with the rest of the farm bill passed by the House in July in conference with the Senate. The Senate-passed farm bill cut food stamp spending by a far smaller amount, $4 billion over 10 years, so the program's funding could be a sticking point between the two chambers.

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In a day marked by the clash between House Republicans and Sen. Ted Cruz over defunding Obamacare, Rep. Pete King (R-NY) had another message for the Texas senator: Mind your own business.

"We as House Republicans should stop letting Ted Cruz set our agenda for us," King said on CNN. "He should stay in the Senate, keep quiet. If he can deliver on this, fine. If he can't, he should keep quiet from now on and we shouldn't listen to him."

King's remarks reflected a widely held sentiment among House Republicans about how Cruz and others have pressured the lower chamber to pass a government spending bill that defunds Obamacare. King told CNN that that strategy was still destined to fail.

"I would just say if anything good comes from all of this, when Ted Cruz and Rand Paul or Mike Lee fail in the Senate next week, maybe finally we Republicans will have ended their influence," King said.

Elsewhere, a House GOP aide told National Review Online that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "is more well-liked" than Cruz.

The House approved Thursday a procedural vote for the government spending bill that would defund Obamacare.

The resolution, approved 228 to 189, suspends the House's rules for the spending bill and sets one hour of debate on the floor. House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Thursday that the bill would be brought up for a vote Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the House bill was "dead" in that chamber, and the White House has pledged to veto it.