House GOP has no plan to avoid shutdown
September 27th, 2013
03:13 PM ET
7 months ago

House GOP has no plan to avoid shutdown

Washington (CNN) – After the Senate passed a short-term bill to keep federal agencies funded through mid-November, it sent the measure to the House of Representatives, just three days before a possible government shutdown.

But the House was done for the day. And House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team appear to have no plan to avoid the shutdown.

"I think our members still want to fight. What that means, I don't know. I don't know that they know," one senior House GOP leadership aide told CNN.

House Republican leaders huddled Thursday morning, but they won't meet to discuss the next steps with their members until Saturday afternoon. The House had only one series of votes on Friday morning and members trickled out of the Capitol around 11 a.m. and left for the day, more than an hour before the Senate began voting on the spending bill.

In past down-to- the wire showdowns over government funding there were quiet backroom discussions among party leaders and top aides in the House and Senate to come up with some sort of face-saving compromise. But this time there were no signs those talks were happening.

The one thing Boehner made clear on Thursday was that the House will not accept the Senate version of the spending bill that stripped out the provision that defunds Obamacare. He indicated the House will add something to the bill and send it back to the Senate, but refused to tip his hand on what exactly that will be.

There is no shortage of opinions, but no signs of any consensus on what the House GOP should do next and just how far it should play out the clock before the midnight deadline on Monday night.

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole suggested the House focus on adding one provision to the spending bill that has had some bipartisan support in the Senate - a repeal of the tax on medical device manufacturers that helps fund part of Obamacare.

"Let's send something they might not like but are willing to swallow. I think something like that makes a lot of sense and puts us in the posture of being reasonable," Cole told reporters.

But on Friday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “"We are going to accept nothing that relates to Obamacare."

North Carolina GOP Rep. Richard Hudson said he didn't want a shutdown, saying, "This brinkmanship is getting old." But then he told reporters he thought House Republicans should go the "Godfather route" and "make them an offer they can’t refuse" - offering Democrats a one-year delay in the forced spending cuts in the sequester for a one-year delay of Obamacare.

Hudson told reporters he was more worried about the impact of Obamacare going into effect for his constituents than any fallout from a possible government shutdown.

"I don’t see a long-term economic impact. I think the impact of all the jobs we're going to lose because of Obamacare is much worse," Hudson said.

Cole disagreed and said a shutdown would affect millions of Americans and result in job loss. He took a jab at fellow Republicans who downplayed the fallout for their party, saying "Politically, anybody who thinks it's not high-risk is not playing with a full deck. It's an extraordinary high risk for not much gain."

Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton said the House should keep pressing for changes to Obamacare. He wasn’t settled on a specific proposal and ran through a list that included a one-year delay of the new health care law, a one-year delay of the requirement that individuals enroll in health care coverage, a repeal of government health care support for members of Congress and their aides, and eliminating the medical device tax.

Reid has insisted the Senate won't take up anything but a "clean' CR that continues funding for government agencies.

But Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp said Reid was "bluffing" and argued that House Republicans should continue pressing for a one-year delay of Obamacare.

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said he still wants to look at options for how the House should respond to the Senate, but signaled he thinks it would be better to shift the fight over Obamacare to the upcoming debate on the debt ceiling.

"I think a government shutdown is counterproductive to our message in 2014 because we transfer the public's attention perhaps away from Obamacare and instead put it on the pain that will be inflicted that is still to be determined on the effects of a government shutdown," Womack said.

If Reid holds firm and refuses to take up what the House sends over or if Senate Democrats reject it, there is a possibility that the House could pass a one-week extension of the current funding levels to avoid a shutdown on Monday night and try to work something out with the Senate, multiple members told CNN.

But even if Boehner manages to maneuver around a shutdown, he has a much bigger problem looming in mid-October, when the Treasury Department's borrowing authority expires. The House GOP leadership's plan for how to address the debt ceiling hit a brick wall on Thursday when a bloc of conservatives disagreed with the proposal. It’s been shelved for the time being.

President Barack Obama continues to say he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling. But House Republicans don't believe he'll stick to that posture and they still plan to attach a whole host of conditions to a debt bill that would trigger another high stakes standoff.

But Cole conceded that the potential public perception that Republicans are responsible for forcing both a shutdown and a default on the nation's credit limit would be "very dangerous."

Outside the House chamber the Oklahoma Republican told reporters, "Those two things are about the only two things that could jeopardize the House majority" in the next election.

– CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report


Filed under: Congress • Debt
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    They have no plan for ANYTHING! Just a lot of empty drums making a lot of noise. VOTE THEM ALL OUT IN 2014!

    September 27, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    "The House had only one series of votes on Friday morning and members trickled out of the Capitol around 11 a.m. and left for the day, more than an hour before the Senate began voting on the spending bill."

    Republicans: real, hard-working Americans. Trickling out of the office at 11:00 am.

    September 27, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. freedom

    Do Obama and Reid have a plan to prevent the shut-down? That's the real question.

    September 27, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. don in albuquerque

    Did you really expect them to have a cognizant plan for anything??

    September 27, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    The House had only one series of votes on Friday morning and members trickled out of the Capitol around 11 a.m. and left for the day, more than an hour before the Senate began voting on the spending bill.
    -------------------–
    Boehner punched them out for the day at 11 a.m.? Mr. Speaker doesn't seeem to notice that he's crossing the line.

    September 27, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Bill

    The GOP is on a path to self-destruction and irrelevance. And they did it to themselves. A latter-day Whig Party.

    September 27, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. MaryM

    Will Americans Please vote these TPers in the house out of office before they completely destroy our great country

    September 27, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Tony

    The impact of a government default is much worse than either a government shutdown or Obamacare. If there is a default, the next Congress should consider impeachment for members of Congress who think ruining the nation's credit and crashing the economy are more acceptable than giving people access to health care.

    September 27, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    @freedom,

    "Do Obama and Reid have a plan to prevent the shut-down? That's the real question."

    No it isn't. It's the House GOP who is trying to nullify the law of the land (Obamacare) and refusing to pay the bills we have already incurred (the debt ceiling). The time for negotiations is during the appropriations process. The time for overturning a law you don't like is on Election Day. Your side failed.

    September 27, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Doug in NYC

    So the Republicants left for vacation again and got nothing done! Why are they paid $175K? They should be paid minimum wage and by the hour!

    September 27, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Wake up People!

    Thank you Lord for putting President Obama in office. His being elected has caused the GOP to lose their collective minds. They have been throwing a 5 year temper tantrum and finally people other than us blacks can see what's really behind it.

    To my nonbeliever buddies, I'm not trying to push my religion off on you. It's just the way I was raised.

    September 27, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Stuffit

    Gee if the government shuts down who will spy on us, lie to us, steal our hard earned money and give it to the dope addicts and welfare frauds and treat us with contempt and disdain.

    September 27, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    If Obama promises to jump off of a high bridge, holding an anvil, would the Repubs. pass a clean CR ?

    September 27, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Data Driven

    @Tony,

    "If there is a default, the next Congress should consider impeachment for members of Congress who think ruining the nation's credit and crashing the economy are more acceptable than giving people access to health care."

    That's an interesting idea. Probably tough, though. Wikipedia says that only one U.S. Senator since 1789 has been impeached. There have been 19 total Federal impeachments; most were Federal judges. Two were Presidents.

    I'm afraid we're going to have to vote them out. Get active next year; tell friends; join phone banks; MAKE TIME.

    Get them out.

    September 27, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Tom

    A lot of this is posturing and brinksmanship but it sure feels like we're witnessing the implosion of the Republican party. The Republicans have painted themselves into a very ugly corner. The chances that Obama and Senate Democrats are going to give in on the ACA seems virtually nil. That leaves the Republicans with two bad options - back down and lose all credibility or shut down the government and face the wrath of voters in 2014 and 2016.

    September 27, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Hector Slagg

    But. We have come so far. The Democrat's had the Congress for 40 years and the Liberal's put Big Social Spending Programs in place so this wouldn't happen. Why after 80 plus of Liberal Politics are we still no better off than the 1930's.

    September 27, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. the hippies were right

    Freedom, how did you learn to type words with rocks for a brain? This is about the debt ceiling. If your idiots don't like it then win a few elections and change it! If you can't see who is responsible for the threats then you are hopeless!

    September 27, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. freedom

    @Data

    The American people have failed themselves by voting this fraud into office at all. Your immature argument of "you lost" will not stop the fight for what is right. How shallow can you democrats be? I never knew how closed-minded, manipulative, and dirty your party was, but it is revealed more and more every day.

    September 27, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Name

    Defund the GOP!!!!# Vote, Vote in ....2014....voting does matter!!

    September 27, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Pander Bear

    The GOP does not care about anything but power. They serve no one but themselves.

    September 27, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    How cute of them. They walk out, feigning indifference to the problem that has ping-ponged its' way back towards them. They feign indifference because they don't have an answer. It's like this. Instead of taking some sort of action, they House leadership has just punted with a giant, "No Comment."

    September 27, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. rc

    We all should burn our voter registration cards and register as Independents. Neither the Dems nor the Reps care about us. It is all about them staying in office.

    September 27, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. tom l

    The chicken or the egg. Repubs say they will fund everything but the ACA so they are not really shutting down the govt. The dems say that they need everything funding including the ACA. It all depends on what side you are on. This is exactly why I don't like either party. It's all optics and politics. It's not about governing. It's about elections. It's about polls. And both sides are terribly guilty of that.

    September 27, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Data Driven

    @freedom,

    "Your immature argument of "you lost" will not stop the fight for what is right"

    Oh, excellent! Immature or not, winners in elections make public policy. Obama won. Twice. Dems held onto the Senate in 2010 and 2012. Liberals won, conservatives lost. That means: Obamacare is the law until conservatives win the Senate and the Presidency, and then MAYBE they can overturn it. If they dare. I expect it'll be quite popular by then.

    Smack it up, flip it, rub it down, oh noooo - conservatives don't get to nullify elections just coz ya don't like the results.

    September 27, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. tom l

    @rc
    "We all should burn our voter registration cards and register as Independents. Neither the Dems nor the Reps care about us. It is all about them staying in office"

    Very true. Very, very true. That's the beauty of being a libertarian; you are aware that neither party cares about you.

    September 27, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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