Shutdown looms after House approves another delay in Obamacare
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House Republicans decided they would not attempt to pass any more bills late Monday to fund the government, setting in motion the first shutdown of federal agencies since 1996, according to two senior GOP advisers.
The shutdown will begin early Tuesday, following a bitter day on Capitol Hill in which the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected two separate House Republican proposals to fund the government with riders attached that would have impaled President Obama’s health-care law.
Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) intends to instead ask for a House-Senate conference to hash out the differences in the two chambers’ proposals — a process that would take many days and leave hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed awaiting the results of the negotiations.
“We are not going to do anything other than wait for them to pass” a simple bill to keep agencies open, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said. “Otherwise, the government will shut down.”
Boehner replied that the House would not accept a “clean” funding bill, one without provisions to defund or delay parts of the health-care law. “That’s not going to happen,” he said.
Without an agreement, about 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed Tuesday. National parks, museums and most federal offices will close, while tens of thousands of air-traffic controllers, prison guards and border-patrol agents will be required to serve without pay.
In a last-minute ray of hope for active-duty military members, Congress on Monday approved and sent to the White House an agreement to keep issuing their paychecks. But Obama warned that the broader economy, which is finally starting to recover from the shocks of the past six years, would take an unnecessary hit if congressional gridlock shuttered “America’s largest employer.”
“Keeping the people’s government open is not a concession to me. Keeping vital services running and hundreds of thousands of Americans on the job is not something you ‘give’ to the other side. It’s our basic responsibility,” Obama said in a statement at the White House.
“Time is running out. My hope and expectation is that in the eleventh hour, once again, that Congress will choose to do the right thing and that the House of Representatives, in particular, will choose the right thing.”