House Plans Friday Vote to Defund Obamacare

House Plans Friday Vote to Defund Obamacare

After Tea Party groups and conservative lawmakers pressured House Republican leaders to defund Obamacare, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday set a vote for Friday on a resolution that would fund the government except for Obamacare.

The House Republican leadership also announced that they intend to ask for a one-year delay in Obamacare for an increase in the debt ceiling.

Congress and President Barack Obama must agree to a short-term resolution to fund the government before the current continuing resolution expires on September 30. The country is also set to hit its debt limit in mid-October.

Last week, after the “Exempt America” rally, which the Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica organized, House Republican leaders could not get enough votes on an initial resolution to fund the government that would have had a defunding Obamacare resolution attached to it. Conservatives said they would not vote for such a “gimmick” that made it look like Republicans were trying to defund Obamacare when they were not. 

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have insisted for months that the House should pass a resolution to fund the government except for Obamacare. Cruz and Lee have argued that conservatives would then need to “win the argument” by convincing Americans that President Barack Obama would rather shut down the government than extend Obamacare exemptions given to big businesses, special interests, and Congress to all Americans. 

“Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so,” Cruz said on Wednesday. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”

After Cruz made those remarks, he was blasted by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) and various anonymous GOP leadership aides who did not want to go on the record in criticizing Cruz. Later, Cruz and Lee indicated on Fox News’ Hannity that they would do everything in their power to muster the support to get the House bill to defund Obamacare to pass the Senate, which Democrats control. 

As the Washington Post noted, the House will probably pass the resolution that funds the government and defunds Obamacare on Friday. And “senior aides in both parties” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will have the “procedural flexibility” to strip the defunding Obamacare provisions from the House bill. Once the Senate “is done with the funding bill,” House Republicans will most likely, according to the Post, have just “two or three days” to either approve the Senate’s version of the bill with the support of House Democrats to fund the government or continue to push for defunding Obamacare at the risk of shutting down much of the government.   

The House’s continuing resolution will reportedly fund the government until December 15.