Countdown to Shutdown

washingtonOn Saturday, the House passed another Continuing Resolution to temporarily fund the government, this time with a one-year delay of ObamaCare and a repeal of the medical-device tax — the one that Harry Reid called a “stupid tax” but promised to save. The House also passed a separate CR (continuing resolution) to fund the Defense Department in the event of a shutdown.

Reid, of course, had no intention of going along with anything the House proposes regarding ObamaCare when the Senate resumed its session at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon and voted to strip language from a House funding bill that delayed ObamaCare by a year. Democrats also eliminated language allowing employers to opt out of providing  insurance coverage of contraception if doing so violates their moral or  religious principles.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) needed only a simple majority vote to  cut the House language delaying ObamaCare and repealing the medical device  tax because of the earlier vote on cloture. Today’s vote was strictly on party lines.

Congress has until midnight tonight, and as long as Reid continues to insist “the American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists,” there’s little room for debate.

The clock has run down on the ability of House conservatives to return a CR in time for Senate debate and action. It is possible, however, that there could be a bridge agreement on a one week CR extension, ostensibly to allow time for debate and action prior to shuttering the government. If there is a CR extension, we hope Republicans will amend it to remove any insurance subsidies for the Legislative Branch, and require that all senior employees of the Executive Branch subscribe to ObamaCare. Then, a week later, they should tie the “delay” measure to legislation on the debt ceiling.

The problem is that Democrats refuse to allow Republicans any influence over ObamaCare. But the president himself has already unilaterally delayed and continues to delay key parts of the law. He delayed the employer mandate until 2015, though the individual mandate stands. He delayed income verification for those seeking insurance subsidies. And just last week, the administration delayed online enrollment in federally run small-business exchanges. There are cracks in the Democrats’ line, however, as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) broke ranks in order to support a year delay of the law, so it will be interesting to see if Reid can keep other Red State Democrats like Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor in line.

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