The Senate voted 54-46 on Monday to table the House bill that links keeping the government running to delaying Obamacare for one year. If lawmakers don’t cobble together a short-term resolution before midnight, the federal government will shut down for the first time since 1996.
By Dan Friedman AND Adam Edelman / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013, 12:31 PM
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013, 4:58 PM
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Congress remained gridlocked Monday over legislation to continue funding the federal government. If both chambers fail to pass a resolution before midnight, the federal government will shut down.
Editorial: Take it from the top
Government shutdown closer as House Republicans pass bill delaying key parts of Obamacare
Senate approves bill averting government shutdown, kills effort by conservatives to defund Obamacare
The 5 Moments of Congressional Recess That Matter So Far
With no negotiations or compromise in sight, the countdown to the first shutdown of the federal government in 17 years has begun.
Just hours after the Senate defeated a House bill that would have delayed "Obamacare" for a year as a condition for keeping the government running, Republican leaders came back with yet another proposal that Senate Democrats have promised to reject.
House Speaker John Boehner announced on Monday afternoon two new provisions the GOP wants attached to the stopgap funding bill - a one-year delay to the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and a measure that denies members of Congress health care benefits worth more than coverage available to the most basic plans available under the new law.
The new demands, the GOP’s third attempt in the past week to slip Obamacare-related amendments into the continuing resolution, appeared likely to fail as swiftly as the party’s prior attempt did.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has vowed that the upper chamber will reject any resolution to keep the government funded that includes changes to the President’s signature health care law.
“We’re not going to negotiate on this. We have done everything we can to be fair and reasonable,” Reid said Monday, shortly after the Senate voted on straight party lines to remove the House-passed amendments delaying Obamacare and repealing a medical device tax from a bill extending government funding.
That vote, shortly after 2 p.m., sent the “clean” bill, along with the onus for averting a shutdown, back to House Republicans, who have repeatedly pushed to link the bill with delaying the President's signature health care law.
"The fact that nobody knows what the rules are, employers are scared to death to hire new employees, cutting the hours many of their current employees, and for what reason?" House Majority Leader John Boehner said Monday. "This law is not ready for prime time."
Democrats, however, remained hopeful that the GOP's bravado would fade as the day wore on.
"Do we have to sacrifice the economy and help for millions of middle-class people?" New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"It's real people with real lives at stake, and just to sacrifice them to the right-wing gods, for the sake of a day or two of showing 'Oh yes, we're serious,' is a very cynical operation," he added.
As lawmakers squabbled, President Obama urged them instead to “act responsibly and do what’s right for the American people.”
Even some Republicans began criticizing their party's leadership as a shutdown became more likely.
"I disagree with the strategy of linking Obamacare with the continuing functioning of government — a strategy that cannot possibly work," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Monday.
Americans, for the most part, appeared to agree.
A CNN poll released Monday morning showed that 46% of U.S. residents would blame Republicans for a federal government shutdown, whereas only 36% would blame Obama.
Another 13% said they would blame both Republicans and Obama, the poll showed.
If lawmakers do fail to achieve a resolution by midnight, large sections of the government would close, hundreds of thousands of workers would be furloughed without pay, and millions more would be asked to work for no pay, which would create new risks for the fragile economy.
U.S. markets appeared to react accordingly Monday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 150 points in the first minutes of trading.
The benchmark index ultimately closed down 128 points, or 0.8%.
With News Wire Services
ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) arrives at the Capitol Monday. The Senate voted Monday to defeat a House bill that links keeping the government funded to delaying 'Obamacare' for one year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), seen arriving with his security detail at the Capitol on Monday, remained adamant that "Obamacare" be delayed. "This law is not ready for prime time," he said.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/federal-government-appears-headed-shutdown-divided-lawmakers-reach-last-minute-deal-article-1.1471738#ixzz2gPdP8WOa