House GOP has no plan to avoid shutdown
September 27th, 2013
03:13 PM ET
9 years 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

    But they have plans to go see a movie together. "Prisoners", in fact. Like someone said, seems appropriate for them.
    Maybe they can pick up a few more destructive ideas.
    After all, I hear it is about 2 women being held prisoner.................right down their alley.

    September 27, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Hap

    More game playing people by Dems and Reps...Senate amendment is a farce!!! Call your President, Senators, and Representative now!!! The Senate is sending back crap!!! On purpose!!!
    Senate made sure that the budget bill will NOT be passed by the House...why do I say that...look at the amendment that was passed today...what did they add for the cost of Obamacare?
    Straight from the amendment:
    "discretionary category, $967,473,000,000" and
    On page 3, strike lines 14 and 15, insert the following: "amended by striking `$5,000,000' and all that follows through `2011.' and inserting `$1,880,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.' ".
    On page 5, strike lines 13 and 14, and insert the following:
    "(2) in subsection (c), by striking `$5,000,000' and all that follows through `2011.' and inserting `$1,900,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.' "."
    1.9 trillion per year for the next four years added in the amendment – Hello!!!
    Before the defunding:
    2012 DHH was $940.9 billion mandatory and discretionary
    2014 DHH request was $1.0474 trillion mandatory and discretionary
    Now Dem politicians are fiercely saying if the House does not pass this, then they are at fault...the Senate raised their request and they know that the House will not accept. Stupid game players!!! And they play on the people's emotions!

    September 27, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    @ tom I, you are just a fool. Libertarians like Paul are racists.

    September 27, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. rs

    I think the GOP has placed themselves beyond their own "red Line", and can't figure out how to back down from their own threat. They are so-wedded to their self-destriuctive, nihilistic behavior that despite the near universal call to raise the debt ceiling and to avoid the government shutdown, that is all they can seem to do, and the rest of us are just along for the ride.
    Maybe once these fools play their cards out we can do like Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood- outlaw the GOP as a threat to our democracy.

    September 27, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. jefflz

    This is about stopping Obama at any cost to the nation – it has nothing to do with healthcare or public debt. 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.The 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 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. trc1962

    I think the tea party has got the republican party split and not unified. I think none of them should get paid if the government shuts down. America needs help with health insurance. The only people who think they don't have easy access to health insurance. I have lupus and I have battled with coverage that won't exclude any care for lupus-because it is a preexisting condition-so that comes straight out of pocket-unaffordable!! There are so many people like me that it is not funny. I haven't seen republicans come up with a good plan for helping with medical insurance problems. Vote them all out. Eventually republicans must get rid of the tea baggers or they will not be a party anymore.

    September 27, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. freedom


    You're claiming victory on a sinking ship.

    September 27, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. rs


    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.
    Uh, hello? Anyone there? When have you EVER heard the Democrats or the President threaten to shut down the government, or fail to raise the spending limt? Ummm, NEVER! That is the terrorist-bent GOP you are thinking of. And, when they do it, they'll get the blame and the full blow back. You people are simply delusional!

    September 27, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. MaryM

    This isn't about Obama . In fact, I personally know many people who don't care for Obama, but are also sick and tired of the Teapublicans immature tactics. This about expecting our elected officials to represent AMERICANS and Americas best interest,, not a destructive and purely defiant agenda. Please Americans, Vote these Teahadist out of office before they completely destroy this great country

    September 27, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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