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Senate hits reject button on House bill

September 30, 2013
  With a midnight deadline looming, the Senate has rejected a bill that would  have kept the government running but delayed Obamacare by a year.

54 Senators voted to table the bill, effectively killing it.  All 46  Republican Senators voted against tabling the bill.

The high stakes game of chicken began earlier this month when the House  passed a spending bill that would fund the entire government, except  Obamacare.

When the Senate rejected that on Friday, the House quickly sent another back  bill, only this time with a provision that would keep military paychecks coming  and another measure that would repeal a medical device tax.

The Senate then rejected that immediately after convening today at 2:00 ET,  just 10 hours before the deadline to keep the government funded.

Back to the House

Attention now turns back to the House, to see if it will offer another bill  to keep the government running before the Senate goes home for the day.

Sources  say House Republicans are now working on a bill that would delay the  individual mandate, the requirement that everyone buy health insurance. The  mandate that requires employers to provide health insurance has already been  delayed by a year. The House bill reportedly would also cancel generous  health-insurance subsidies for members of Congress and staff, the president and  administration appointees.

Democrats are demanding a so-called “clean” continuing resolution, this is, a  spending bill that does not touch Obamacare. But, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told  reporters House Republicans didn’t even discuss passing a clean CR, at their  meeting today.

If a bill to keep the government running is not passed by midnight, all but  “essential services” of the government will be shut down.

Obama’s ‘simple solution’

President Obama said, “I am not at all resigned” to a shutdown, while  speaking to reporters in the Oval Office during a visit by Israeli Prime  Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama said he plans to speak with congressional leaders Monday, Tuesday and  Wednesday, but again insisted he will not negotiate over the spending bill, the  health-care law or his intention to raise the debt ceiling, even with a debt  that has now grown to an astronomical $16.9 trillion.

He claimed to be “eager” to negotiate long-term spending plans once the  government is funded (including Obamacare) and the debt ceiling is raised by the  deadline of Oct. 17.

That wouldn’t leave much for the Republicans to negotiate, with the president  claiming, “There can be no meaningful negotiations under a cloud of  default.”

The president offered a “simple solution,” saying House Republicans should  pass the Senate-approved budget without delaying or defunding Obamacare, which  is exactly what House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to oppose.

Blame game

The blame game is now fully underway, with both Democrats and Republicans  jockeying to win the public relations battle, and knowing exactly who to blame  for the looming government shutdown: each other.

Former President Bill Clinton says the GOP “was just sitting around, begging  for America to fail.”

He defended Obamacare, claiming Republicans “are desperate for this bill to  fail, because if it’s not a failure, their whole — everything they’ve been  telling us since 1980 that government’s bad, is wrong. They so badly want it to  fail.”

When reminded polls show most Americans don’t want Obamacare, Clinton  essentially said they’ll  get used to it.

He told ABC News, “I just think that when all these dire predictions don’t  come out, if they don’t — I believe that pretty soon, within the next several  years, this will be like Medicare and Medicaid. And it’ll be a normal part of  our life. And people will be glad it’s there.”

Who wants a shutdown?

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said it is Democrats and Obama who want a  shutdown because they are putting “politics ahead of the people of the United  States.”

“There is no Republican in there talking about a shutdown. Our first request  was to completely defund Obamacare. I understand why the Democrats rejected  that. Our second request is to do a one-year delay of Obamacare. … I don’t think  there is anything wrong with asking for a delay,” he observed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “After weeks of futile political  games from Republicans, we are still at square one: Republicans must decide  whether to pass the Senate’s clean CR (continuing resolution), or force a  Republican government shutdown.”

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was not willing to concede defeat, scolding a  reporter: “How dare you assume a failure! How dare you!”

“The fact is, this country is based on people saying they won’t do things and  at the end of the day coming together to compromise. We continue to anticipate  that there is an opportunity for sensible compromise,” he added.

NY Times: GOP ‘delirious’

The New York Times sided squarely with Democrats, claiming, “A few hours  before midnight is the worst possible time to reignite the culture wars, but  House members are too delirious with ideology to care.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House has “done its work” by  passing the funding bill Sunday morning.

He then chided the Senate for not also working over the weekend, noting,  “Senate decided not to work yesterday,” and adding, “Well, my goodness. If there  is such an emergency, where are they? It’s time for the Senate to listen to the  American people, just like the House has listened to the American people, and  pass a one-year delay of Obamacare and a permanent repeal of the medical device  tax.”

“This is the old football strategy. When you get to where you want to be in a  football game, you run out the clock. You run out the clock because you think  you like where you are,” said Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., adding, “Sounds like my  way or the highway is the Senate way.”

A conservative political action committee wants lawmakers to oppose all  funding for Obamacare, “no matter what.”

The Senate Conservatives Fund said voters should contact their congressional  representatives to tell them to “oppose all taxpayer money for Obamacare.  Period.”

What does a shutdown look like?

The public would not really see much difference during a government shutdown,  judging by a survey of services compiled by the Wall  Street Journal.

Social Security checks would still be mailed and the military would still be  up and running, although the Pentagon could furlough 400,000 civilian workers  and delay training and contracts.

Also unaffected would be services affecting national security and human  safety, including mail delivery, border security, coastal protection, law  enforcement, counterterrorism efforts, care of prisoners, and Amtrak  service.

The Justice Department would remain almost fully staffed.

The Environmental Protection Agency would furlough all but 1,069 of its  16,200 workers, the National Labor Relations Board would send home 1,600 of its  1,611 employees, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would furlough 652  of its 680 employees.

The IRS would cancel audit appointments, National parks and museums would  close, the Census Bureau would stop collecting data and applications for small  business loans would be suspended.

According to White House numbers, at least 825,000 of the more than two  million federal workers would be furloughed.

The government was last shut down in 1995 and early 1996 and it lasted almost  four weeks.

Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth

Credit To:  Garth Kant / / CNN



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