House Republican leaders today are offering a revised plan to delay Obamacare that probably will lead to a government shutdown Oct. 1.
Republican leaders are proposing to attach a one-year delay of Obamacare provisions and a repeal of the medical-device tax to a short-term spending bill and send it to the Senate, said Reps. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Devin Nunes of California. The House will vote Saturday, they said.
The Republican plan would delay the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and other parts of Obamacare and ensure that U.S. troops are paid during a shutdown, Nunes said.
“No one that I saw got up to speak against it,” Nunes said as he left the meeting.
The Senate yesterday passed a bill that would fund the government through Nov. 15, omitting Republican language to choke off funds for the 2010 health-care law. The Republican proposal would extend the spending bill's date through Dec. 15, another lawmaker said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said Friday that the Senate would reject any changes and warned that House revisions to the spending bill would lead to a shutdown. He and other Democrats urged House Republicans to pass the Senate bill unchanged.
“I don't see too many people rallying around that right now,” Representative Kristi Noem, a South Dakota Republican, told reporters today, regarding a clean spending bill.
Republicans, torn by internal strategic and policy disputes, are choosing to make their stand against the health law. The first insurance exchanges open Oct. 1 and other portions of the law have already taken effect.
Asked whether he was worried about a shutdown, Representative Steve King of Iowa said, “I'm more worried that if we don't do the right thing it will result in the implementation of Obamacare.”
Budget brinkmanship has become a routine in Washington, particularly since Republicans gained control of the House in the 2010 election. A last-minute deal before midnight Sept. 30 is still possible, even with both sides seemingly dug into opposing positions.
Concerns that the budget impasse will hurt economic growth helped push the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to its first weekly decline since August. The index fell 0.4 percent to 1,691.75 yesterday, and dropped 1.1 percent for the week. The rate on 10- year Treasury notes fell three basis points to 2.62 percent yesterday.
A shutdown could reduce fourth-quarter economic growth by as much as 1.4 percentage points, depending on its duration, according to economists. The biggest effect would come from the output lost from furloughed workers.
At the White House, Obama accused House Republicans of “political grandstanding” that has hurt economic growth. He urged Congress to work together to pass a spending plan and then adopt legislation to increase the nation's borrowing authority.
“Do not shut down the government. Do not shut down the economy,” Obama said yesterday. “Pass a budget on time. Pay our bills on time. Refocus on the everyday concerns of the American people.”
In a government shutdown, essential operations and programs financed with permanent streams of money would continue, meaning that Social Security checks would be delivered and military personnel would still work. National parks, Internal Revenue Service call centers and passport offices are among the federal facilities that could close.