The U.S. House passed a short-term spending plan to continue funding government operations through mid-December but withhold funding for Obamacare.
In the never-ending battle over President Obama’s signature health-care law, the GOP fired the opening salvo in what promises to be a contentious 10 days.
If the measure, which would extend government operations by only three months, or an alternative bill is not passed, the government will shut down.
The legislation would fund federal agencies at an annual rate of over $986 billion but would also leave in place automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.
Those are set to take place in January.
The bill includes language to prohibit any funding going to implementing the health-care law, leading House GOP leaders to declare victory Friday.
“The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH).
Also acknowledging that the proposal to end the health-care law is at the centerpiece of the budget plan was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
Whether it happens is another story. The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to move quickly next week to strip the health-care provisions from the bill.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said upon passage of the measure that any bill that defunds Obamacare “is dead” and “a waste of time” in the Senate.
Still, House lawmakers voted by a 230-189 margin to approve the funding measure. Two Democrats voted for it. One Republican voted against it.
“This place is a mess. We’re not here to expand government, but we’re not here to eliminate government,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said.
“If the idea is to limit government, let’s work together to do that. But what is brought to the floor today is without a doubt a measure designed to shut down government.”
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it has no chance of being passed in its current form. Whether the sides can come to a deal in ANY form is the open question.
Obamacare: Save it or sink it?