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Friday, December 3, 2021
HomePolicyHouse Votes To Replace And Defund Obamacare But Avoid Government Shutdown

House Votes To Replace And Defund Obamacare But Avoid Government Shutdown

The House voted Friday to keep the government open through mid-December but only if Congress strips funding from ObamaCare. The vote was 230 to 189, and largely expected. A test vote on Thursday cleared the measure by 230 – 192, with a few more House members voting “yes” in the real vote.

The Senate, which is in recess until Tuesday, is expected to take up the vote next week. However, it is unlikely it will pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate unless the American people keep the pressure on (Don’t Fund It – Sign Petition And See Where Your Senator Stands Here).

The House measure would replace ObamaCare with a plan that expands tax breaks for Americans who buy their own insurance, setting the stage for a showdown with Senate Democrats that could push the government toward a partial shutdown at the end of the month. Americans 2 – 1 oppose raising the debt ceiling in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, and 51% support a partial shutdown in order to defund Obamacare in the latest Rasmussen poll.

More than 140 congressional Republicans signed on to the bill to keep the government running at existing funding levels and delay the health care law. Democrats have vowed to oppose that bill, using scare tactics and warning Republicans about a government shutdown, with funding set to expire by Oct. 1.

Under the proposal, Americans who purchase coverage through state-run exchanges can claim a $7,500 deduction against their income and payroll taxes, regardless of the cost of the insurance. Families could deduct $20,000. The plan also increases government funding for high-risk pools.

One day after conceding that the Democratic-controlled Senate probably would prevail in stripping the health law provision, which RINOs like Karl Rove jumped all over, Sen. Ted Cruz still vowed to do “everything and anything possible to defund ObamaCare.” That includes a possible filibuster of legislation to prevent a partial government shutdown, the Texas Republican said.

Cruz, one of the most vocal supporters of the “de-fund ObamaCare” push, startled his House colleagues when he released a written statement Wednesday afternoon that appeared to acknowledge the bill will probably fail in the Senate.

“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. At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people,” he said.

House Republican aides said rank-and-file lawmakers on the House floor at the time vented their anger at what appeared to be a pre-emptive surrender. Speaker Boehner said yesterday, “I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle.”

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., tweeted that Lee and Cruz “refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender.”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., tweeted, “Senate R’s already declare defeat… before the battle even begins. So much for standing up for the American people.”

Internal divisions have split Republicans this year as they struggle to produce alternatives to the Obama plan, pitting conservatives against the Rove establishment. Legislation backed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to increase funding for high-risk pools was pulled without a vote after some conservatives objected to improving ObamaCare at a time when they want to repeal it. And that is certainly true.

Obama and Democrats frequently criticize Republicans for focusing so much attention on repeal efforts without coming up with an alternative, but the House bill produced just that.

The legislation includes a number of proposals that Republicans long have backed to expand access and hold down the cost of health care, including features that permit companies to sell policies across state lines and that let small businesses join together to seek better rates from insurers.

In addition, awards for pain and suffering, emotional distress and similar noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases would be capped at $250,000, unless a state had a higher cap. No overall cost estimates for the bill were available from the CBO or other impartial bureaus.

Current funding for the government is set to expire at the end of the month, and lawmakers must approve the stopgap bill in order to keep Washington open.

The GOP measure would fund the government through Dec. 15, at current funding levels. Republicans also plan to push a measure dealing with the debt ceiling, with a mid-October deadline looming for when the government can no longer honor its obligations.

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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