House Passes Spending Bill to Defund Obamacare

Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill to gut President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, while temporarily funding other government programs, ignoring a warning from the White House that the measure would be vetoed.

House Speaker John Boehner called the passage of a Republican spending plan “a victory today for the American people.” Photo: Speaker John Boehner/ Flickr

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican majority whip, declared that the House vote had been “bipartisan”. The House vote late Friday morning was 230-189, with Republican Rep. Scott Rigell (Va.) as the only Republican to vote against the $986 billion, three-month package.

Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Jim Matheson of Utah crossed the aisle and voted for the bill. Matheson and McIntyre both opposed Obamacare’s passage.

Without a stopgap spending bill, the federal government will feel the effects of a shutdown when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The bill extends the current rate of government spending at $986 billion a year.

The measure now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, which is certain to reject the provision that defunds President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement of his first term.

All sides are racing to beat a Sept. 30 deadline, which is when current funding for the federal government runs out. The new measure would fund the government through Dec. 15, essentially at last year’s levels, and would leave the budget sequester cuts in place.

But Republicans on Friday also attached two amendments to the final bill — one to direct how government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury Department bumps up against its borrowing limit in the coming weeks.

And the other one that strips out funding for President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, which would effectively stop its implementation, reports the Washington Times.

The vote in the House came after two weeks of House leadership struggling to find a strategy that avoids a government shutdown but also appeases the ultra-conservative wing of the party who want to use the threat of a shutdown as a last-ditch effort to stop Obamacare, the implementation of whose main provisions starts next month.

As the USA Today says, the effects of a shutdown would not be immediately felt by most Americans. Essential government programs such as air traffic control, Social Security, Medicare and mail delivery would all continue, but national parks and museums would be closed, and agency operations would slow down or stop. The White House and the U.S. Congress would continue to operate as well.

Immediately after the vote concluded, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and much of the Republican conference held a rally at the Capitol to celebrate.

Boehner described the vote as a “victory” for the American people, calling Obamacare a “train wreck” that is “hurting our constituents,” and pushing the Senate to approve the House bill.

“The American people don’t want the government to shut down and they don’t want Obamacare,” he said, “The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”

The administration wasted no time in formally announcing that it would not allow the Republican-controlled House to destroy the Obamacare healthcare law by denying funds.

Obama, reacting to the vote during a speech at a Ford plant in Kansas City, said Republicans in Congress were “holding the whole country hostage”.

“They’re focused on politics, they’re focused on trying to mess with me. They’re not focused on you,” he told the audience.

“They want to threaten default, just to make sure than tens of millions of Americans continue not to have healthcare.”

Three times, Obama used the phrase “deadbeat nation” to condemn Republican brinkmanship on the debt limit.

“We are not a deadbeat nation. We don’t run out on our tab,” Obama said. “We’re the world’s bedrock investment. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable.”

Share this article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.