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. Anonymous

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

    I'm in (again).

    September 27, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @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.

    Silly Hector. Studies indicate that spending increases when a Republican is in the White House. Clinton left with a surplus, Bush ran us into a tidal wave of debt. We are still trying to work our way out of that mess, without any help from the GOP TRAITORS in Congress. Just Sayin!

    September 27, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. rs

    How about jail? Might that inspire a few of these anti-Americanists to come up with a plan.

    September 27, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. jefflz

    The Republican Party has become a captive of the Tea Party. This means that the two-party system that is the foundation of our democracy has been co-opted by a cabal of secret wealthy donors including the Koch brothers who provide the financial engine that keeps the Tea Party running at the national level. Add in the giant propaganda machine known as Fox News that uses the Tea Party agenda to write its scripts and you can understand why we are facing the crisis we now confront. They system is broken. The only agenda that the Republicans now back is destroying Obama, destroying Medicare, Social Security and eliminating taxes at the very highest levels for the benefit of their masters.

    September 27, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. rs

    freedom

    Do Obama and Reid have a plan to prevent the shut-down? That's the real question.
    ____________________________________
    Obama and Ried aren't threatening the American economy or 800,000 federal employees with a shutdown- that would be the GOP.

    September 27, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. freedom

    @Data

    Just like I said...immature....closed-minded.....dirty

    the fight's not over.

    September 27, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Their intention the entire time was to shutdown the government. Anything to make this President look bad, they're all for it. No if's, and's or but's about it. Look at how cowardly Boehner is. He has no control over his caucus. None! Republicans are worried about a coup in Egypt, when there's a coup happening within their party.

    September 27, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. asugirl13

    I am so unbelievably angry. The majority of the Republicans in Congress are acting like spoiled brats. This will not hurt them a bit. They will continue to get paid. My spouse is a federal employee that will be furloughed starting Tuesday with no pay until they still acting like misbehaving children and fund the national government. They are completely irresponsible.

    September 27, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    @tom l.,

    "That's the beauty of being a libertarian; you are aware that neither party cares about you."

    I challenge your premise. I am not a registered Democrat, but I almost always vote Democratic. I would imagine that you almost always vote for a Republican, despite being a Libertarian. I suspect the thing we have in common is that we'll vote traditional party lines in a race that's polling within 10 percentage points. If our guy or gal is way ahead or way behind, then we feel we can indulge our political sweettooths and vote Green or Libertarian.

    Am I wrong? Be honest now!

    September 27, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    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.
    =============

    If neither party cares about you, voting Libertarian on a Republican ticket will have accomplished what? A disruptive government not able to function or accomplish one single goal such as we've all witnessed time and again since Teapers joined the crowd? If anything, you ought to concern yourself as to why it is you are being lied to by the very people you supposedly support.

    September 27, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. darknesscrown

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

    - Yes, they do. It's called passing and signing funding for the government to continue to function...in layman's terms. Watching the House GOP completely melt under the heat of responsibility is quite enjoyable to me though. It shows just how unfit to hold the office they all hold they are.

    September 27, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Ken Margo

    Folks stop with the nonsense. "THE DEBT CEILING HAS TO BE RAISED" Why should Obama negotiate on something he knows boehner HAS to raise to keep the economy from crumbling and to pay the bills. If you think the govt shouldn't pay its bills, then set an example and stop paying YOUR mortgage, stop making YOUR car payments. Get back to us and let us know how that works out for ya! As far as the govt shutdown is concerned. If you don't think the govt should have any money. Set another example by Quitting your job and burning your savings. Get back to us and let us know how that is workin' for ya.

    September 27, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. blf83

    When you are only against something, you do not focus on that which is needed. In this case, compromise is needed, but when the Tea Partiers are calling the shots and refuse any degree of compromise, they are not working for the better of our republic. And, GOP, you are known by the friends you keep. We will remember.

    September 27, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Data Driven

    @freedom,

    "immature....closed-minded.....dirty"

    Ha ha! You're right! But so am I about politics! :-)

    September 27, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    The teatards have NO plan for anything except obstruction of government and our laws and to shove their right wing binge thumping ideas down our throats. The only good thing they do right while pushing away the mostly sane population of the US.

    September 27, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. justanaverageguy

    My guess is that Obama somehow manages to cave on the debt ceiling. He doesn't have a crystal ball that can predict whether irrational republicans will back down over the debt ceiling. Given this, unless he plans to cave he would have to be ready with plan B, namely the use of the 14 th amendment.
    He says he has no intention to do that. Another possibility is to get republicans to concede on the debt ceiling, then give them significant concessions elsewhere, say with replacing the sequester. I do not trust one word leaving the mouth of the president, and, I think he will end up cutting Social Security, with cover, before all is said and done.

    September 27, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. vincent

    GOP has no Plan! Its the War in Iraq all over again.

    September 27, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. motorfirebox

    The GOP doesn't know what it's doing? How is that news, they haven't known what they're doing since before the 2008 elections.

    September 27, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Logic and deception

    Whatthe GOP is really afraid if is that Obabacare just might work and they have nothing to counter it. But be warned, if the GOP cannot come to a truce, they will pay for it dearly during the next election as the american public is getting tired of their antics without substance.

    September 27, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Jeff Wang

    'This brinkmanship is getting old.'

    No kidding.

    With a shutdown this close, this sort of back-and-forth is not worth it. I applaud the House Republicans for their fervour, but given that there is a Democratic majority in the Senate AND the Senate Republicans have already shown their unwillingness to go with as far a right-leaning plan as defunding Obamacare, did they really expect it to go through? They've made their point – they don't like it. We get it. But in a situation like this, when the choice is between party loyalty and national government functionality, it's quite clear which is more important by far. I'm personally against Obamacare but this is ridiculous. The House has three days to either come up with a sufficiently moderate plan that the Senate won't instantly object to, or else back down altogether. The time is long past for proudly standing your ground.

    September 27, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. MaryM

    Here we go again. We are in for another GOP recession by threats. Another wall street drop, . Another credit rating downgrade for the US, artificially created by the TPers new GOP house members.

    September 27, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. just saying

    obama wants the governmnet shut down... more golf time for him.

    September 27, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. MaryM

    Bye Bye GOP. You allowed these extremist TPers to ruin your once great Republican party.

    September 27, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Donna

    Obama has every intention of driving this country off the cliff. That has been his plan all along. This is his golden opportunity to do it and then try to blam eothers for it. Just like everything else he does.

    September 27, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. atepper001

    I would love to leave work for the day at 11am. meanwhile, their bosses, the American people, are telling them to get something done and they haven't in how many years now?

    September 27, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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