U.S. Senate Rejects House Amendments To Spending Bill As Shutdown Looms

Senate rejects House amendments to spending bill as shutdown looms (Washington Post, Sep 30, 2013):

The 54 to 46 party-line vote made good on a vow by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to reject a funding bill approved by the House early Sunday because it would delay Obama’s signature 2010 health-care law for one year and repeal a tax on medical devices.

Immediately after the Senate convened Monday afternoon, Reid moved to table the House amendments. That exercise required a simple majority and was accomplished solely with Democratic votes. The Senate later passed a bill that ensures that members of the armed forces will continue to get paid in the event of a shutdown.

Despite the Senate’s rejection of their amendments, House GOP leaders persisted Monday, advocating another sharp attack against the health-care law that was all but certain to be rejected by Senate Democrats, according to two senior Republican advisers.

The leadership team of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) presented rank-and-file Republicans with an option that would include a one-year delay of the cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act — the so-called individual mandate — while adding a provision that would strip federal subsidies for lawmakers and their staffs, GOP aides said.

Emerging from an afternoon meeting of House Republicans, one of Boehner’s closest friends and allies, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), endorsed the deal and said it was supported by the GOP conference.

House Democrats countered with an offer to reduce their bottom line for the short-term spending bill from $1.028 trillion to the Republicans’ number of $986 billion in a “clean” continuing resolution, an offer that the Democrats described as a significant concession.

In a Capitol Hill news briefing, House Democratic leaders said the proposal was acceptable to Reid, and they challenged Republicans to “take yes for an answer.”

“We have given up our number,” said Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.). “If that’s not compromising, I don’t know what is.”

If Republicans reject the offer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats said, it would mean that the GOP actually wants to shut down the government.

But Boehner said Monday that House Republicans would not accept a “clean” continuing resolution, meaning a bill that does not defund or delay the health-care law, news services reported.

“That’s not going to happen,” Boehner said.

Asked whether he thought the House would pass a “clean” continuing resolution just to keep the government operating, Cole said, “I don’t think so.”

Senate Republicans, exiting their own hour-long huddle in a Capitol suite, voiced increasing frustration with the House GOP’s inability to approve any legislative vehicle that stood a chance of winning approval in the upper chamber.

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