House will vote on continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — The House will vote on a continuing resolution that will keep spending at sequester levels and defund Obamacare.

Leadership announced the plan to the Republican conference at a meeting Wednesday morning.

“This week the House will pass a CR that locks sequester savings in and defunds Obamacare,” Speaker of the House John Boehner told reporters at a press conference after the meeting. The CR will fund the government until the end of the year.

House leaders had initially proposed a legislative procedure by which the House would have voted on the same thing, except the CR portion and the health-care portion would have been separated.

House leaders felt that, given that the Senate will almost definitely vote against the Obamacare portion, separating the two parts made it more likely that a CR would be passed with spending at sequester levels. (REVEALED: The GOP’s new plan to repeal, replace Obama)

That plan met with huge pushback from the more conservative faction of the party who saw it as a “trick,” and leadership backed off.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said he had never seen the conference so “united” as they headed toward this vote.

It is all but inevitable that the necessary votes will not be found in the Democratic Senate to defund Obamacare, but Boehner declined to say what would happen if and when the Senate sends the bill back to the House, looking very different than when it left.

“The fight over here has been won. … It’s time for the Senate to have this fight,” Boehner said, declining to “speculate” on what the Senate might do.

What will not happen, Boehner said, is a government shutdown, which is what would happen if the Senate and the House could not come to an agreement and pass a CR to fund the government past Sept. 30.

“There should be no conversation about shutting the government down,” Boehner said. “That’s not the goal. … There is no interest in our part in shutting down the government.”

Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana said that if Senate Republicans like Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who have been clamoring to defund Obamacare using the CR, are unable to rally the necessary votes to do so, then the back up plan is to pass a clean CR and trade a debt ceiling raise for a one year delay of Obamacare.

“We’d much rather defund it,” Fleming said, “but if we can’t, then we want to delay it.” Fleming said, however, he himself was not sure if he could vote for the CR without the defund component.

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