When it comes to funding the government, Senate majority leader Harry Reid is making it clear: it’s his way or the government shuts down.
“I want to be very, very clear, again: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” the Nevada Democrat told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
As Congress debates a short-term spending plan that includes a measure defunding President Obama’s health-care law, Republicans have expressed hope that both parties could work out some sort of deal to keep the government funded, while simultaneously making Obamacare “less bad.”
Under current law, the government is funded until Sept. 30, meaning a “continuing resolution” needs to be passed by next week to keep the government funded.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that continues to fund the government and defunds President Obama’s health-care bill.
But the continuing resolution is now in the Senate, where Reid plans to strip the Obamacare defunding measure out of the legislation. The legislation would then head back to the House for passage before the Sept. 30 deadline.
But Reid told reporters on Tuesday that House Republicans will “shut down the government” if they attempt to amend the legislation to add back in any Obamacare related measure. The Democrat said the possibility of Republican changes “should be a concern to everyone.”
Republicans — like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — have argued that Republicans should try to make a deal.
“My hope always was that using the leverage of the Republican House would try to create the situation where Obamacare is less bad,” Paul told The Daily Caller over the weekend. “The more likely scenario is that we push hard for what we believe in — which is defund Obamacare — and that we try to bring the president to the negotiating table.”