Politics
5:43 am
Sun September 29, 2013

House Vote Brings Government To The Verge Of A Shutdown

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 11:22 am

Shortly after midnight Sunday morning, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would keep the government's lights on. It would also delay the Affordable Care Act for a year, making the legislation a non-starter for Senate Democrats and the president.

The ball is back in the Senate's court now, with fewer than 40 hours until a government shutdown begins.

The House bill does three things. First, it's a temporary measure to keep government operations funded through the middle of December.

Second, it delays Obamacare for a year. "It doesn't ask to repeal it," Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said in a speech on the House floor. "It asks to delay it for one year."

Lastly, the House bill repeals a tax on medical devices that is part of the health care law. Woodall says the tax is bad for patients and businesses.

"It is killing jobs," Woodall said of the tax. "It is destroying American leadership in this area."

Before the House even voted, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the House move was pointless, since the Senate will reject both the device tax provision and the Obamacare delay. Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee protested the House plan on the floor.

"Let us be very clear," she said. "Let us not be full of smoke and mirrors. Tonight the Republican majority will vote to shut the government down!"

Those in the Republican majority are hoping to turn that argument on its head.

"We're going to give a stark choice to the president of the United States and the Senate," Rep. John Culberson of Texas said. "Do you want to shut down the government, or do you want to force on to the American people a 2,500 page bill that was forced through here so fast, Speaker Pelosi said we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it."

Asked what happens after the Senate inevitably rejects their version of the bill on Monday, a number of House Republicans said they didn't have the next play planned out. Sunday morning, the House also passed a measure that would insure the troops continue to get paid in the event of a shutdown.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Rachel Martin. Early this morning, the House of Representatives brought the country a giant step closer to a government shutdown. The Republican-controlled House approved a spending bill, but not one Senate Democrats or the president is likely to accept because it includes a one-year delay of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. As one Republican congressman tweeted: The House and Senate are like two locomotives barreling toward one another in slow motion. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The House bill does three things, which Republican Congressman Rob Woodall from Georgia laid out in a speech on the House floor.

REPRESENTATIVE ROB WOODALL: This is a bill to keep the government open.

KEITH: It's a temporary measure to keep government operations funded through the middle of December. In addition, it delays Obamacare for a year.

WOODALL: It doesn't ask to repeal it, Mr. Speaker. It asks to delay it for one year.

KEITH: And it repeals a tax on medical devices that is part of the health care law. Woodall says the tax is bad for patients and businesses.

WOODALL: It is killing jobs. It is destroying American leadership in this area.

KEITH: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement that the House vote was pointless since the Senate will reject both the device tax provision and the Obamacare delay. Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee protested the House plan on the floor.

REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE: Let us be very clear. Let us not be full of smoke and mirrors. Tonight, the Republican majority will vote to shut the government down.

KEITH: Those in the Republican majority are hoping to turn that argument on its head. John Culberson is a Texas Republican.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN CULBERSON: We're going to give a stark choice to the president of the United States and the Senate. Do you want to shut down the government or do you want to force onto the American people a 2,500-page bill that was forced through here so fast Speaker Pelosi said we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it?

KEITH: Asked what happens after the Senate inevitably rejects their version of the bill on Monday, a number of House Republicans said they didn't have the next play planned out. Last night, the House also passed a measure that would ensure the troops continue to get paid in the event of a shutdown. Tamara Keith, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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