theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Monday, September 30, 2013

Senate rejects ObamaCare delay

Senate rejects ObamaCare delay, bill to avert shutdown returns to House

The Senate voted Monday to reject a Republican-backed bid to delay ObamaCare as part of a crucial government spending package, sending the bill back to the House with just hours left on the clock until the government begins to shut down. 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as expected, moved to kill two House amendments that would have delayed the health care law and repealed its unpopular medical device tax. The Senate voted 54-46, along party lines, to do so. 
House leaders will now have to decide whether to make a counter-offer or accept the Senate bill. Without a resolution, the government is expected to start shutting down after midnight. 
Fox News has learned Republican House leaders are examining several options for what to present as a counterproposal. 
In a rare note of optimism, President Obama said earlier Monday that he's "not at all resigned" to a shutdown. 
But the path forward is not clear. With nothing less than the operation of government on the line, the battle in Congress over ObamaCare was shaping into a test of wills. 
Boehner had pressured Reid to accept his chamber's version. "It's time for the Senate to listen to the American people, just like the House has listened to the American people," House Speaker John Boehner said Monday morning. 
But Reid has outright stated he will not accept any measures that undermine the health care law as part of the budget bill. With the bill back on the House side, Boehner and Reid now face off with their final set of chess moves in a very narrow time frame. Lawmakers have until midnight to strike a deal. 
On Sunday, House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy indicated his caucus might still have a few more plays left. 
"We have other options for the Senate to look at," he told "Fox News Sunday." 
There are a few other ideas floating around the Hill for targeting ObamaCare without going so far as to defund it -- which is what the first version of the House Republicans' bill did. 
But at this stage, a shutdown is highly possible, and congressional leaders are hard at work trying to assign blame. 
Democrats have already labeled this a "Republican government shutdown." But Republicans on Sunday hammered Reid and his colleagues for not coming back to work immediately after the House passed a bill Sunday morning. 
"O Senate, where art thou," said Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, riffing on the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou." 
Blackburn made her comments along with other members of the House Republican Conference at an informal press conference on the steps of Capitol Hill. 
"That the senators are not here ... is all that everyone needs to know," said Arkansas Republican Rep. Tim Griffin. "Democrats want to shut down the government. ... That's a scorched earth policy." 
Griffin and others tried to recast the blame for a possible shutdown on Democrats who have argued Republicans' insistence on tying a spending bill to ObamaCare is intended to force a shutdown. 
"Today we see where the Senate doors are shut," said conference Chairwoman and Washington Rep.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers. "Harry Reid says that a shutdown is inevitable." 

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