Nation & World News

House GOP Votes To Fund Government, Kill Obamacare

By Scott Neuman on September 21st, 2013

The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government funded but its “continuing resolution” comes with a poison pill to defund the Affordable Care Act that Democrats have vowed is dead on arrival in the Senate.

On a nearly straight party vote, House lawmakers voted 230 to 189 to approve the stopgap funding resolution, which would keep the government operating until Dec. 15. Two Democrats, North Carolina’s Mike McIntyre and Jim Matheson of Utah voted for the measure. A single Republican, Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia, voted against it.

“The American people don’t want the government shut down and they don’t want Obamacare,” Speaker John Boehner said shortly after the vote.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said the president’s signature health care measure “will harm the economy” and that it’s now “the Senate’s responsibility to follow the House lead.”

“Republicans want to play games of brinkmanship on the budget and the debt limit even though the foreseeable consequence will be plummeting stock markets and businesses freezing their hiring,” said Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the appropriations committee.

The stalemate means both sides remain at square one on preventing a government shutdown — due in just 10 days unless the partisan divide can be breached.

As NPR’s Tamara Keith reported on Morning Edition, the most likely scenario now is that “the Senate will take up the spending bill, restore the Obamacare funding and send it back to the House. Tag, you’re it.”

While Boehner insisted on moving ahead with Friday’s vote, some prominent GOP lawmakers in the Senate, such as Arizona Republican John McCain, have warned that forcing a government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act could backfire on his party.

“It is not going to succeed because the American people do not want government shut down,” said McCain. “And they’ll blame Congress. It’s not as if we haven’t seen this movie before.”

Update At 5:30 p.m. ET:

Speaking at a Ford auto plant in Missouri later Friday, President Obama accused Republicans of “trying to mess with me” by voting once again to defund the Affordable Care Act. Friday’s legislative action marked approximately the 40th time the House has cast such a vote since the ACA became law in 2010.

The president, visiting the town of Liberty, blamed “a faction of the far right” for the relentless effort to kill the law.

[An earlier version of this story said only one Democrat had voted for the measure]

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