House Republicans delay vote on spending, Obamacare
By David Lawder And Richard Cowan, ReutersWASHINGTON--A Republican plan aimed at averting a government shutdown in less than three weeks ran into a wall of opposition on Wednesday from conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, and leaders delayed any votes on it until at least next week.
September 13, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The plan, derided as a “trick” by some conservatives, would have let them cast an essentially symbolic vote to defund “Obamacare” health reforms without risking a shutdown, feared by party leaders who remember the political damage they suffered when government offices shut their doors in the mid-1990s.
The move in the House of Representatives is the latest indication that a revolt by conservative Republicans is complicating Congress' efforts to deal with looming fiscal deadlines over government funding and the federal debt limit.
The delay pushes Congress closer to the Sept. 30 deadline for approving new government funding. With conservatives demanding a tougher stance on defunding and delaying President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation, known as “Obamacare,” the chances of a shutdown appear greater.
The conflict is part of what is being called by some analysts a “civil war” within the Republican Party, energized in part by rallies and Tea Party gatherings during the August recess and the organizing efforts of the conservative Heritage Action, a sister to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had previously scheduled a vote this week on a continuing resolution to fund the government for 11 weeks coupled with a measure to defund Obamacare before the law's health insurance exchanges launch on Oct. 1.
Conservatives, led by Representative Tom Graves of Georgia, were crafting an alternative plan that would combine the two elements, making it harder for the Democratic-controlled Senate to ignore Obamacare as it moves to fund the government. The alternative one-year plan would also include a yearlong statutory delay for implementation of the law.
“I will not surrender in the fight to delay Obamacare for all Americans,” said Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who heads a large group of House conservatives called the Republican Study Committee. “We must use every legislative avenue available, through the CR, the debt ceiling, and sequester conversations to free the country from the President's train-wreck of a health care law.”