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House GOP to seek one-year delay in Obamacare on government shutdown bill
House Republicans said Saturday they will try to pass another stopgap spending bill that delays President Obama's health law for one year, in a final effort to try to put a dent in Obamacare before more of it takes effect next week — but Democrats immediately shot the plan down, saying it virtually guarantees a government shutdown.
Emerging from a closed-door meeting, Republicans said they'll vote late Saturday on the one-year delay, a separate repeal of one of Obamacare's taxes, and on a bill that specifically funds the troops to make sure they aren't held hostage as both sides race toward a shutdown.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the House not to bother, calling it "pointless" and repeating his vow to have his Democratic majority defeat anything the House sends over.
Democrats' refusal to entertain any conditions on a stopgap spending bill is further angering Republicans, who said Mr. Reid will eventually have to engage in talks.
"At some point Harry Reid's going to have to negotiate with us. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe, who knows," said Rep. Richard Hudson, North Carolina Republican.
Rank-and-file Republicans have said for months that they wanted to use the spending bills to try to undo part of the Affordable Care Act, but Democrats and even Republican leaders had tried to talk them out of it.
The issue became a deep split within the GOP, but members emerged from the closed-door meeting Saturday saying they were unified behind this latest move.
The new GOP plan would take the Senate's version of the spending bill, attach a one-year delay of Obamacare and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act's new tax on medical devices, a tax that has earned bipartisan opposition. Separately, Republicans would pass a bill making sure military salaries continue to be paid no matter what happens with a shutdown.
"I think we've got a winning program here," said Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
But Mr. Reid said he is willing to talk — later — about changes to Obamacare, but he said the Senate won't even entertain these latest House bills in the middle of the spending fight. He said the only option to stave off a shutdown is for the House to accept the Senate's latest proposal, which funds all of government, including Obamacare.
"The American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists," he said.
Indeed, Mr. Reid has already sent senators home until Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. Even if Mr. Reid relented and decided to debate the House bills, it would leave just 10 hours to act before the midnight Monday deadline when government funding expires.
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