Early Sunday morning, the House passed a budget plan that delays Obamacare by a year, keeps the government open, and almost definitely will not make it through the Senate. If the House and Senate can’t find a way to fund the government by Monday night, the government will shut down.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., didn’t give much hope for a resolution on Sunday morning.
While McCarthy kept up the idea that the Senate actually could pass the House continuing resolution on Fox News Sunday, he gave host Chris Wallace some answers about what he thinks will happen if the Senate sends the CR back to the House, without an Obamacare delay or a medical device tax repeal. “I think the House will get back together and in enough time send another provision not to shut the government down but to fund it,” McCarthy said, “and it’ll have a few other options in there for the Senate to look at again.”
Those “few other options” suggest that, at least right now, the House GOP leadership is not considering passing a “clean” CR — a plan that funds the government and doesn’t touch Obamacare or anything else. If the Senate knocks down the House CR, McCarthy said, the House will pass a bill on Monday “that will keep the government open, that will reflect the House, that I believe the Senate can accept. That will have fundamental changes into Obamacare that will protect the economy for America.”
Those “fundamental changes” have a few obvious possibilities. The House could pass a CR that includes just a medical device tax repeal, or an individual-mandate delay. Or, as National Review‘s Robert Costa reported on Saturday, it could include a version of the Vitter amendment, which would eliminate health care subsidies for members of Congress, their staff, and members of the executive branch.
Right now, it’s hard to see how a House CR that includes any of these provisions could hold off a government shutdown. The Senate and White House are virtually sure to refuse a CR that includes an individual mandate delay, and a medical device tax repeal — which would cost $29 billion over a decade according to the Congressional Budget Office — could be a tough climb there as well.
It’s not even clear that these “fundamental changes” would be able to get through the House, as powerful conservative groups like Heritage Action are already coming out and saying that they wouldn’t support something like a medical device tax repeal, as it would “do nothing to prevent the law’s entitlements from taking root and continues funding Obamacare in its entirety.”
McCarthy did leave the door open for a possible short-term CR that would prevent the government from shutting down come Oct. 1, if only for a few days. “We will not shut the government down,” McCarthy said. “If we need to negotiate a little longer, we will negotiate.”
We’ll see how that works out, or if that’s, again, something that could even make it through the House. Right now, the odds of a shutdown are looking pretty good.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated when the House votes occured. They happened early Sunday morning.
What We're Following See More »
Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."