House sends Senate spending bill without Obamacare funding

Sept. 29, 2013 at 1:28 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- With a government shutdown looming, the Republican-controlled U.S. House early Sunday sent the Senate a stopgap spending bill that would defund Obamacare.

Leaders of the Democrat-controlled Senate have said any spending measure that doesn't include money to implement the Affordable Care Act won't be acceptable so the legislation needed to provide money to keep the federal government running beyond Monday remains in limbo.

"We can't control the Senate," Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said. "We can only control ourselves, and we're gonna do what's right and we're gonna let the Senate take care of itself."

Roll Call reported the House voted 231-192 shortly after midnight to insert an amendment that would delay implementation of the healthcare law for one year. The Washington publication said Democrats Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina voted with the Republicans, while GOP Reps. Richard Hanna and Chris Gibson, both of New York, voted against the measure.

The Republicans also pushed through an amendment to repeal a 2.3 percent tax on medical device makers on a 248-174 vote.

The House also included language that would allow employers and insurers to eliminate coverage for contraception if they have moral or religious objections.

The House version would change the continuing resolution's expiration date from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.

Roll Call noted that since the measures are technically amendments to a Senate amendment to the continuing resolution the House passed previously, the Senate could vote down the legislation with a simple majority and send the resolution back to the House yet again.

The House took action to make sure military personnel get paid should there be a shutdown. That measure passed 423-0.

The debate prior to the votes was heated at times, with voices rising on both sides of the aisle.

"Your hate for this president is coming before the love of this country," Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., said, claiming Republicans intended to shut down the government "because you have been hijacked by a small group of extreme folks who simply hate this president."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., did an impression of President Barack Obama, ridiculing the Democratic president for refusing to negotiate on the debt limit.

"There will be no negotiations," Rohrabacher said, imitating Obama's deep baritone voice.

"If this government shuts down, it's because you haven't accepted the compromise that Republicans have reached out to you and offered."

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