WASHINGTON – The House pushed ahead Monday night with yet another bill to fund government that seemed destined to fail, inching the U.S. government closer to a shutdown.
House Speaker John Boehner’s latest proposal to fund the government would chip away at Obamacare by delaying the individual mandate and barring the federal government from contributing to the health insurance of the president, lawmakers and staffers.
It nearly collapsed over a procedural vote after moderate Republicans and far-right members of the GOP both complained about the bill, but Boehner (R-Ohio) was able to keep most of his caucus in line, passing the “rule” to consider the measure 225 to 204. Six Republicans opposed the rule.
It is the second attempt by House Republicans in less than three days to tie funding for the government to Obamacare, even though President Barack Obama and leaders of the Democratic-controlled Senate have said they would reject any riders related to the health care law.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did so again Monday, saying the Senate will take up the House bill and strip the anti-Obamacare riders in less than 30 minutes. The Senate did so earlier in the day to the previous House bill.
Boehner still must pass his underlying bill, and the vote was expected around 9 p.m..
Boehner’s latest gambit ran into opposition from both the right and the left. Moderate Republicans balked, saying they did not want to risk a shutdown. Conservatives complained that his measure didn’t go nearly far enough to destroy Obamacare. Democrats remained nearly united against tinkering with the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans who opposed the rule from the right were Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Steve King (Iowa) and Paul Broun (Ga.). Moderate opponents were Reps. Peter King (N.Y.), and Charlie Dent (Pa.).
Regardless of the success or failure of the latest House plan, Congress could still act in time to keep federal operations running if Boehner brings the Senate bill up for a vote on the House floor. Some of the same Republicans who opposed the latest anti-Obamacare offering would also back the so-called “clean” continuing resolution.