The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has finally approved new measures, imposing a year delay on main components of the president’s health program and repealing a tax on medical devices as the price for avoiding a partial government shutdown at 12:01 am Tuesday.
“The House has again passed a plan that reflects the American people’s desire to keep the government running and stop the president’s health care law,” House Speaker John Boehner said.
“Now that the House has again acted, it’s up to the Senate to pass this bill without delay to stop a government shutdown,” the Speaker added.
Now the legislation is headed to the Senate which will meet only on Monday. Senate Democrats have already urged to reject the proposed measure, and the White House issued a statement vowing a veto in any event.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described the Republican position on Obamacare as “pointless” and added that the Democratic-led Senate would reject the GOP alternatives.
A separate statement released by the White House, claims voting for the GOP measure “is voting for a shutdown.”
“Republicans have tried and failed to defund or delay the health care law more than 40 times, and they know this demand is reckless and irresponsible,” said the statement from White House spokesman Jay Carney.
The statement also read that the U.S. president would not negotiate on his health program or spending issues “under threats of a government shutdown that will hurt our economy.”
Republican Rep. Michael Grimm said Saturday that a “slight” shutdown might become the result of the lack of time to pass a short-term spending plan for the new fiscal year that starts Tuesday.
“I’m hoping no, but just look at the timing,” Grimm said, laying out a scenario in which the political wrangling leads to last-minute deliberations on Monday and beyond.
The predicted shutdown caused by GOP strategies irked the longest serving member of Congress, Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, who issued a statement saying that “this once-deliberative body has been taken over by knaves and know-nothings, content with putting partisan politics ahead of the American people.”
“I’ve said before that I believe that this current Congress would be incapable of passing the Ten Commandments or even the Lord’s Prayer, and today’s actions have only further galvanized that belief,” the Democrat added.
Meanwhile, the U.S. president responded to the GOP tactics, saying Friday that new exchanges for private health insurance under the reforms will open next week as scheduled — even if there is a government shutdown, reports CNN.
“The House Republicans are so concerned with appeasing the tea party that they have threatened a government shutdown or worse unless I gut or repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said, adding: “That’s not going to happen.”
While polls show that Americans are fed up with political showdowns and stand against a shutdown, House conservatives seemed to be quite jubilant about the fight.
“This is a win-win all the way around,” said Republican Arizona Representative Matt Salmon, who described the mood of Republicans before the vote as “ecstatic.”