Friday, September 20, 2013

House Republicans Vote to Defund #ObamaCare

At NYT, "House approves Stopgap Money, Setting Up Fight." (Via Memeorandum.)

And WSJ, "Health Law Thrust Into Fiscal Fights: House GOP Votes to Strip Money for Insurance Overhaul as Oct. 1 Shutdown Deadline Approaches":

House Republicans on Friday thrust President Barack Obama's health law into the middle of two looming fiscal battles, a strategy that roils Congress's efforts to keep the government solvent this fall and avoid a partial government shutdown in less than two weeks.

The House on Friday passed a Republican bill to keep the government funded starting Oct. 1. That measure, however, also eliminates money for the health-care law. It was a triumph for a wing of the Republican Party that has campaigned for months to convince GOP leaders to make a fight over the health law a top priority.

With the government-funding issue unresolved, House Republicans opened another front Friday. Following a closed-door GOP strategy session, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) set a vote for the coming week on legislation that would link a yearlong postponement of the health law's implementation to a yearlong extension of the government's borrowing authority. The law's online insurance marketplaces are set to go live Oct. 1 for policies that will take effect in January.

Neither challenge to the health law is likely to survive the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The simultaneous showdowns and the injection of the health-care issue risk creating a market-rattling impasse reminiscent of the fight over raising the debt limit in 2011 that resulted in the U.S.'s credit rating being downgraded.

The budget that currently allocates funds to the federal government expires Sept. 30. Then, by mid-October, Congress would need to raise the federal debt limit or the government will run out of ways to keep paying its bills.

Mr. Obama called House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) Friday night to say he wouldn't negotiate on the debt limit, according to an aide to Mr. Boehner, reiterating comments the president made earlier in the day in Claycomo, Mo. The speaker replied that "the two chambers of Congress will chart the path ahead," the Boehner aide said.

"We're not some banana republic. This is not some deadbeat nation," Mr. Obama said earlier at the Missouri event. "So what I've said is, I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States."

The House bill would cut off all federal spending for implementing and running the health law, including subsidies to help low-income people pay their premiums and federal funding for states expanding their Medicaid programs.

The conservatives' victory Friday could be short-lived. The Senate in the coming week is expected to restore the health-care money and throw the government-funding bill back to the House. Republican leaders are hoping they will build up enough momentum to pressure Democrats to accept health-law cuts or other budget concessions during the debt-limit fight instead.

"The key thing is we are going to negotiate over the debt limit. The president isn't going to be able to say, 'I'm just simply not going to talk with anybody,' " Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) told reporters Friday.