The U.S. Senate approved a measure Friday to fund the government until mid-November but stripped House language that would defund Obamacare, putting the ball back in the House’s court, where GOP lawmakers insist they will not rubber stamp spending without some concessions on Obamacare.
The Senate vote to restore Obamacare funding comes as no surprise, and Republicans will talk through a number of options in a Saturday conference. One option that’s not on the table is backing down and passing what Democrats are calling a “clean” continuing resolution.
“I don’t think there are 218 votes in the House of Representatives to pass a continuing resolution of any duration that doesn’t have some fundamental reforms to Obamacare,” said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which is comprised by House conservatives. “I just don’t think that those votes are there.”
But just where the GOP lands isn’t clear.
“The question is, what can we unify around and where we can get the overwhelming majority of our conference on board? Those are the discussions that are occurring literally as we speak,” Price told WND. “They center around whether or not to send back a delay of Obamacare, whether or not we ought to be addressing the Office of Personnel Management decision (to grant members of Congress and staffers special exemptions), whether it ought to be something more scaled back like a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board or the medical device tax. Those kinds of things are what we’re talking about right now.”
House Republicans will determine their next move Saturday, and the new resolution will be approved Sunday at the latest.
Different members have different wishlists concerning what to attach to the new continuing resolution.
Price said it’s vital to get as many members on board for whatever the new strategy will be, but he believes an admission by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., that he would support a one-year delay of the individual mandate is a major breakthrough.
“I was really heartened by the fact that Sen. Manchin is beginning to break with his obstructionist leadership in the United States Senate with Harry Reid at the helm and say that he could support an individual mandate delay,” Price said. “I think that’s the first indication we have that there may be some negotiating room on the other side.”
The congressman is also firing back at the administration and most Democrats for declaring there will be no negotiations on the continuing resolution or debt-ceiling increase.
“If Harry Reid and the president want to shut down the government, then they will do it,” he said. “As the speaker has said, this is a negotiating process. This is a compromise process. For Sen. Reid, the obstructionist leader of the United States Senate, to simply say, ‘No, it’s my way or the highway’ and have the president continue to echo that, that’s not the way the process works.”