Just 10 days until a possible US government shutdown, the House of Representatives passed a bill that keeps the government open but defunds the 2010 affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
The House vote was 230-189. The Republican-drafted continuing resolution, or CR, keeps the government open until December 15. The CR would also cut spending on food stamps for the poor by $40 billion over 10 years.
Republicans have a strategy to tie defunding of Obamacare to the government-funding bill.
The Democratic-controlled Senate should now consider the bill or amend it and return it back to the House by the next week.
Some Republicans says Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) might amend the Senate’s version and ship it back to Senate when it receives the bill.
Senate Democrats say the CR is an empty showmanship that plays to the GOP base and is not a serious example of legislating.
“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement.
“I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare.”
Republicans say their polls show that Obamacare is unpopular in the country. But Democrats argue that the law would help American families with the cost, coverage and quality of their healthcare. They also point to nonpartisan estimates that the House bill would end benefits to 4 million needy people in 2014.
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