House conservatives hold firm as government shutdown looms

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (C) and Senator Mike Lee (2nd R) speak to reporters about their opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, sending the issue back to the House of Representatives, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Credit: Reuters
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (C) and Senator Mike Lee (2nd R) speak to reporters about their opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, sending the issue back to the House of Representatives, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Credit: Reuters

With conservative House Republicans promising not to back down on an emergency spending bill in a push to defund President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, the U.S. government edged closer on Saturday to its first shutdown since 1996.

Although a last-minute temporary solution including a possible 10-day extension of government funding had been raised on Friday, there were no signs Democrats and Republicans could reach a deal before the October 1 deadline.

No negotiations appeared to be underway between the two sides.

The Senate, as expected, passed on Friday a straight-forward emergency-funding measure to keep the government running through November 15, after stripping out Republican language to end funding for the 2010 healthcare law known as Obamacare.

Republicans who control the House of Representatives must now decide how to respond, a move that could come as early as Saturday.

Representative Tom Graves of Georgia announced on Friday that he and 61 of his colleagues would insist on a one-year delay of “Obamacare,” which is set to launch on October 1, as a condition of funding the government and averting a shutdown.

The push to make a stand on the healthcare restructuring, which Republicans view as a massive government intrusion that will cause premiums to skyrocket, has been bolstered by the conservative, anti-Washington Tea Party wing of the party.

Rejection of the funding measure would throw the ball back to the Democratic-controlled Senate, perhaps as late as Sunday or early Monday, with little time remaining to continue the political ping-pong.

All indications are that Republicans will tack on a new measure to that bill, which likely would be rejected by the Senate and make a shutdown all the more likely.

If Congress does not act before midnight on Monday, the government’s legal authority to spend money for routine activities runs out.

Spending for functions considered essential, related to national security or public safety, would continue along with benefit programs such as Medicare health insurance and Social Security retirement benefits for seniors.

But hundreds of thousands of civilian federal employees -from people who process forms and handle regulatory proceedings to workers at national parks and museums in Washington – would be furloughed.

Obama, in his regular Saturday address, accused Republicans of “appeasing an extreme faction of their party” bent on creating “a crisis that will hurt people for the sole purpose of advancing their ideological agenda.”

The Republican response, delivered by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, focused not on a possible shutdown but on the next fight, over raising the government’s borrowing authority, which runs out in mid-October.

Republicans are likely to demand concessions-including the scuttling of “Obamacare” in exchange for raising the debt ceiling as well. While failure to do so could lead to a market-rattling default by the government, McMorris Rodgers defended the Republican tactic.

“By an overwhelming margin, Americans believe any debt ceiling increase should be coupled with solutions that help solve our debt and grow our economy,” she said.

While diehard conservative Republicans in the House remained determined in their pursuit to kill “Obamacare,” other members of the divided Republican caucus were despairing, privately and publicly.

Representative Shelley Moore Capito, a seven-term West Virginia Republican, told Reuters she had “no idea what’s going to happen.”

Capito said, “I gave up trying to make predictions a few years ago” after scores of lawmakers backed by the Tea Party movement helped Republicans win back the House from Obama’s Democrats.

“There’s a lot of exasperation by those of us who want to move the ball forward and in a rational way,” Capito said. “By rational, I mean trying to achieve the achievable.”

“There is a lot of frustration because there is absolutely no way to please certain members. That’s frustrating to all of us become it becomes an internal battle. Some of us feel we are in a circular firing squad,” Capito said.

The last government shutdown ran from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996 and was the product of a budget battle between Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republicans, led by then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…