Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the House version of the bill that funds the government and defunds Obamacare “dead on arrival” in the Senate, accusing Republicans of trying to hold the country “ransom.”
On Friday, the House passed a bill that funds the government through December 15, while defunding Obamacare. Reid moved to begin consideration of the bill when the Senate returned to session Monday afternoon, but made clear that it would be sent back to the House without that provision.
“Any bill that defunds Obama’s health-care plan is dead on arrival in the Senate,” Reid said on the Senate floor.
“We’re not going to bow to tea party anarchists who deny that Obamacare is the law,” he added.
The government is set to shutdown in seven days if Democrats and Republicans cannot come to an agreement and pass a bill to fund it. Reid, acknowledging that the clock is winding down, said his chamber would “act as quickly as tea party Republicans will allow,” a reference to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who has said he will filibuster the bill that does not defund Obamacare.
Reid described that plan — to insist on defunding Obamacare — as a “Thelma and Louise style” plan meant to “drive this economy off the cliff.”
“Obamacare is the law of the land,” Reid said, “and will remain the law of the land as long as Barack Obama is president of the United States and I am Senate Majority Leader.”