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.
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"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.