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
National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

National

Missouri man charged with sexually torturing five women

A Missouri man has been charged with raping and torturing five women in a St. Louis-area apartment over several years, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Report: NYPD disbands controversial Muslim surveillance program

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the police unit behind NYPD's Muslim surveillance program was disbanded.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.