House Republicans on Tuesday narrowed their attack on Obamacare to the issue of fairness, insisting that President Obama and his top political appointees all have to buy their insurance through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges as part of a new bill to end the government shutdown and extend the federal debt ceiling.
GOP leaders hope to put the bill on their chamber's floor for a vote later Tuesday, with little time to spare before the Thursday deadline the Treasury Department has set for when it will run out of maneuvering room under the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.
The new bill would give the Treasury borrowing authority through Feb. 7, and would include stopgap funding for basic government operations through Dec. 15.
The key change would be to force Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden and their top political appointees into Obamacare, and to withhold government subsidies from them and from members of Congress and their staffs, who were already forced into Obamacare's exchanges.
Republicans argue that lawmakers should face the same conditions they are foisting on average Americans — including not being able to get help from their employers to pay premiums.
But the new bill doesn't include a repeal of Obamacare's medical device tax nor does it call for stricter verification measures — both options that Republican leaders had floated early in the day.
The new bill would pay all federal employees, including those furloughed for the last two weeks, and would reimburse states such as Arizona, Utah and Colorado who are paying the federal government to keep national parks open inside their borders.
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