House GOP Divided Over Plans For Obamacare Defunding Vote

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 11:03 AM

By Melanie Batley

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House Republican leaders have developed a proposal that would force the Senate to vote on defunding Obamacare before passing a resolution to keep the government funded, but conservatives are already balking at the idea.

The plan is for the House to vote on a continuing resolution that keeps federal spending at sequester levels while preventing a government shut-down at least until December, reports The Hill.

A separate but concurrent measure would require the Senate to vote on defunding the president's signature healthcare program before it could vote on the spending bill.

The approach ultimately means that even if the Democratic-controlled Senate votes against defunding Obamacare, the resolution to keep the government open would go straight to the president's desk rather than being returned to the House for further debate.

"We need to give the Senate the opportunity to join us in the fight against Obamacare," Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said in a private meeting, The Hill reports. "We need to preserve the sequester and ensure we aren't sent back a [continuing resolution] with higher spending levels, leaving us with little leverage in the debt limit debate."

Conservative lawmakers and lobby groups, however, are set against the plan, believing it's a cop-out not to make a defunding proposal a central part of the overall spending resolution. It is uncertain, then, whether the GOP leadership will succeed in getting enough support to pass it.

"I'm listening, but I'm skeptical because people back home want us to stop Obamacare," Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman told The Hill. "We've got to make sure that anything moving forward, we have to be committed to stopping it by Oct. 1. This to me doesn't look like it's going to get that job done."

Some members who currently oppose the idea, however, have indicated they may be willing to back the approach in exchange for a commitment from party leaders to demand a one-year delay in the implementation of Obamacare during the negotiations over whether to raise the debt ceiling, The Hill reports.

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