The U.S. Senate Monday rejected another House GOP attempt to damage Obamacare, voting 54-46 to strip the House amendments and return a clean 2014 continuing resolution to the lower chamber. Senate leaders indicated earlier that they would not support the measure, which called for a delay in implementing the nation's universal health care system.
As a result, the ball is now in back in the House Republicans’ court to prevent a U.S. government shutdown at midnight tonight, when current federal funding expires. Either a new stopgap measure or a formal budget is needed to appropriate money for government operations in the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Tuesday. A formal budget has been elusive for months because of disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over spending and taxes. A stalemate on the temporary spending measure -- the continuing resolution -- has come about because the GOP's Tea Party faction in the House is pressuring their leaders to fight the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The exchanges, a critical part of the health care law’s implementation, take effect Tuesday. Republicans are aggressively seeking a delay in Obamacare after the Senate rejected its proposal to defund the law.
Prior to the Senate returning to Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for not having the Senate in session over the weekend to promptly take up the lower chamber’s latest proposal.
“The Senate decided not to work [on Sunday],” Boehner said earlier in the day on the floor. “Well, my goodness. If there’s 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 to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare and a permanent repeal of the medical-device tax.”
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Once the Senate convened, Reid immediately voted on the House's weekend move. But Boehner and his allies look like they have another game plan. The GOP-led House, according to Politico, is now considering bringing a bill to the floor that would delay the individual mandate and cancel health-insurance subsidies for members of Congress, the president and administration appointees.