Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

September 20, 2013

House to vote to derail Obamacare, fund government

WASHINGTON — Republicans controlling the House are moving to ship to the Senate a measure that would prevent a government shutdown but cripple the health care law that’s the signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama’s first term.

The top Senate Democrat has pronounced the bill dead and calls the House exercise a “waste of time.” The White House has issued a veto threat.

Even before the House vote expected Friday, lawmakers were looking a couple of moves ahead on the congressional chessboard to a scenario in which the Democratic Senate would remove the “defund Obamacare” provision and kick the funding measure back to the House for a showdown next weekend.

The vote was something House leaders had tried to avoid because it initiates a fight that raises the possibility of a partial shutdown of the government when the fiscal year ends at midnight Sept. 30.

But an earlier plan by GOP leaders like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, designed to send a straightforward bill to keep the government running through Dec. 15 ran into too much opposition from tea party members who demanded a showdown over the Affordable Care Act, the official name of what Republicans branded Obamacare.

Boehner has sought to reassure the public and financial markets that Republicans have no interest in either a partial government shutdown when the budget year ends or a first-ever default on a broader set of U.S. obligations when the government runs out of borrowing ability by mid- to late October.

“Let me be very clear,” Boehner said. “Republicans have no interest in defaulting on our debt — none.”

GOP leaders want to skirt the shutdown confrontation and seek concessions when addressing the need to raise the  debt ceiling next month, but Obama says he won’t be forced into making concessions as he did in the 2011 debt crisis, when he accepted $2.1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years.

Boehner accused Obama of being ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Syria but not to engage with Republicans on increasing the nation’s debt limit.

GOP leaders scheduled a meeting with the rank and file to discuss the debt limit measure. Aides said they plan to propose attaching provisions, including a mandate to permit construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a framework to reform the loophole-cluttered U.S. tax code, limits on medical malpractice lawsuits and higher Medicare premiums for higher-income beneficiaries. Even with the grab bag of GOP chestnuts, some ardent conservatives are likely to balk at voting for any debt limit measure.

Meanwhile, a GOP family feud simmered. Many Republicans in both the House and the Senate see the “defund Obamacare” strategy as futile and faulted architects Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, for whipping up expectations among tea partyers that the fight could be effectively waged.

A key part of the law, the opening of state insurance exchanges, is set to take effect Oct. 1, so the effort to gut the health care law has added urgency among conservative activists.

When Cruz suggested in a statement that the fight could not be won in the Senate, he infuriated House Republicans.

In fact, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would appear to have the upper hand and be able to use his 54-46 majority to strip the Obamacare provision out and punt the bill back to the House. But it’ll take all next week, in all likelihood, to advance the measure through the Senate.

“I just see a big box canyon sitting out there,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., using Western imagery to suggest that the defunding crusade is a dead-end strategy or perhaps even a scenario for a slaughter.

Republicans are worried that they’ll take the blame for any shutdown. The party that picks a fight generally gets the blame if an impasse results.

“I’m one who doesn’t believe that a shutdown does anything except divert attention from a president and his policies, which are rightfully unpopular, to congressional incompetence,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “We’ve seen what happens when Republicans are divided; we basically cede power and influence on the outcome.”

Some Democrats, especially in the House, dislike the underlying stopgap spending bill because its spending rate is consistent with the $986 billion level permitted this year after the imposition of the sequester — the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts mandated by Washington’s longstanding gridlock over the budget.

“Right now, the mood is not favorable to a $986 (billion) number,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.   

But White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama would indeed accept a stopgap spending bill at the GOP-sought level, which increases the likelihood that Democrats would eventually provide votes to help pass the measure over tea party opposition. The White House had previously ducked the question, so the step was seen on Capitol Hill as a signal to Democrats.

“Look,” said Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., “we don’t want a government shutdown and if we have to choose between trying to fix the sequester at a later time, three months, 75 days from now, or a government shutdown, we’ll take the 75 days.”

Republicans cautioned, however, that it is by no means assured that the House leaders like Boehner would simply surrender and schedule a vote if the Senate kicks back the bill.

 

1
Text Only
National and World
  • Poll: Foreign policy no longer Obama strong point

    August 1, 2014

  • US employers add 209K jobs, rate rises to 6.2 pct.

    August 1, 2014

  • Thousands rally for coal

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Thursday.
    The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) members and their families along with other unions such as the Boilermakers Union and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW) marching through the streets.

    August 1, 2014

  • West Africa Ebola outbreak tops 700 deaths

    Security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone’s capital Thursday looking for Ebola patients and others exposed to the disease as the death toll from the worst recorded outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa.
    U.S. health officials urged Americans not to travel to the three countries hit by the medical crisis:  Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comiskey.jpg Sterling not the only bad owner

    As the Donald Sterling era in with the Los Angeles Clippers looks to be winding down, many are calling him the worst owner in sports history. From being cheap with the players to his most recent racist comments, it's hard to argue against.
    Yet, there are a few owners of athletic teams who can give Sterling a run for title of worst in history.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
AP Video
Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Visit Youth at Jail Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire Despite Moratorium, Detroit Water Worries Remain Faith Leaders Arrested at DC Deportation Protest Family Dispute Cripples Northeast Grocery Chain CDC Warns Travelers Amid Ebola Outbreak US Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July's Gains Demoted Worker Shoots CEO, Kills Self Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Raw: 2 Hurt in NY Trench Collapse House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot
Sister Newspapers' News