House Votes To Delay Obamacare For A Year As Government Shutdown Clock Ticks

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Obamacare Tea Party rally Sept 2013
A man holds a sign at a Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., September 2013.

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, accused Senate Democrats of "breathtaking arrogance" for refusing to reconvene immediately.

“They will be deliberately bringing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown for the sake of raising taxes on seniors’ pacemakers and children’s hearing aids and plowing ahead with the train wreck that is the president’s health care law,” the speaker said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he call a vote Monday afternoon, only hours before the midnight deadline to keep the government running.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., fired back: “All the other games and brinksmanship by Speaker Boehner are not aimed at avoiding a shutdown, but are merely a subterfuge to lift the blame from his shoulders, and they will not succeed."

Original story:

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday morning that any government spending bill passed by the House will have "fundamental changes" to the Affordable Care Act.

Pressed by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace about how the House would respond if the Senate rejected the bill passed Saturday night by the House -- which would delay Obamacare for a year and repeal its medical device tax -- McCarthy said the House had "a few other options" about how else to alter the law.

The Senate Democratic leadership has pledged to reject the House bill, likely sending a “clean” spending bill to keep the government running back to the House on Monday with mere hours to go before the shutdown at midnight.

"We will pass a bill that will keep the government open, that will reflect the House's wishes, that will have fundamental changes to Obamacare," McCarthy said. So the House won't pass a clean spending bill? "There will be additions," he said.

Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton urged his successor to stand firm.

"There's nothing to negotiate with. He shouldn't delay the health care bill. It's the law and we're opening the enrollment on Oct. 1. We're ready," Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week.” “They're in better shape now than the country was to implement President Bush's drug program, which everybody's forgotten. Go back and look at the polls, even more unpopular than health care reform is now."

"So I think that's a non-starter," Clinton said.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, the House brought the federal government closer to a shutdown as it voted to delay President Barack Obama’s health care law for a year under an emergency spending bill.

By a mostly partisan vote of 231-192, the Republican-controlled House approved the Obamacare amendment, despite a veto threat from the White House. It also voted 248-174 to repeal a medical device tax that aims to help fund health care under the 2010 law.

And in a sign that lawmakers might be resigned to a government shutdown beginning Tuesday, the House unanimously approved a bill to keep paying U.S. soldiers in the event the government runs out of money to run many programs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reiterated on Saturday that the House bill would be dead on arrival in the Senate, which is not scheduled to meet until Monday afternoon. Obama also threatened to veto any bill that delays his signature first-term achievement.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a leader of the conservative crusade to defund Obamacare, Said,  

“In my view, Harry Reid should call the Senate back in today… There’s no reason the Senate should be home on vacation.”  

There is a slight chance the two sides could reach a funding deal before the government's fiscal year ends at midnight on Monday. Congress could also act at any time to end the impasse if a shutdown did occur.

But the bitterness of the House debate on Saturday night that spilled into early Sunday did not bode well for prospects of a compromise. "You have been hijacked by a group called the Tea Party," Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., said angrily. "The American people deserve to have time to see what this monstrosity will do before it is implemented," said Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas.

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