Risking government shutdown, House GOP still seeks Obamacare delay

The House Republican Conference convened on Capitol Hill Saturday to devise a path forward on the budget debate, just one day after the Senate sent them a spending bill that many Republicans view as unacceptable, and just over two days before much of the government will shut down if Congress fails to reach an agreement.

On Friday, the Senate passed a spending bill, called a “continuing resolution,” that would keep the government afloat through mid-November and preserve funding for Obamacare, which is scheduled to be almost fully implemented Tuesday.

On Saturday, after the conference meeting, House GOP leaders scheduled a series of votes that would enable their members to volley an amended bill back to the Senate. That bill would fund the government through Dec. 15, but it would also delay Obamacare’s requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance by one year and repeal a tax on medical device manufacturers that helps fund the law.

In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, along with the rest of the House Republican leadership, described the path forward. “Later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s health care law as possible,” he said. “We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”

Even if they are able to muscle it through the lower chamber, it is unlikely that House Republicans’ latest proposal will pass muster with Senate Democrats and President Obama, who have insisted on a spending bill that keeps the government open without delaying or defunding the healthcare reform law.

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