Government Shutdown Looms, As House GOP Leaders Face Rebellion

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Zhang Jun / Xinhua Press / Corbis

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to reporters after a GOP meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 10, 2013.

Facing yet another conservative rebellion, House Republican leaders postponed a vote on the continuing resolution to fund the government Wednesday, setting up a dramatic showdown at the end of September to prevent a government shutdown. A preliminary vote had been expected Thursday.

The Republican leadership hoped to fund the government with a bill that included a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act. But the structure of the plan would have provided a way for the Senate to strip out the defunding language, making it an unpalatable option for the most conservative wing of the party, which loathes the idea of the Democratic-controlled Senate determining the fate of the defund ObamaCare movement. With the House only in its third day after the August recess, the GOP leadership stressed that all it needs is more time.

“It’s a complex piece of legislation. It’s a complex plan. Members and staff have had relatively little time to process it. As they learn about it, think about it, most realize it has the greatest likelihood of leading the best possible result,” said a House GOP leadership aide. “I’m not aware of any plans to make any changes at this time.”

The Tea Party elements of the party say they are not alone in their battle with the leadership, which had hoped to rally the caucus to form a united front this week. “They weren’t close,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky. “I would say there were probably 50 or 80 (House Republicans) at least against it.” Other options include inserting the health care provision in the funding bill directly, which could shutdown the government after certain rejection in the Senate.

“There is division within our conference on the correct and proper strategy to advance a shared goal,” said Rep. Scott Rigell, a Republican from Virginia, who whipped no votes yesterday. He compared the House to a bus. “I don’t exactly have control of the steering wheel and I’m not sure any one individual does, even Speaker Boehner,” he said.

The latest example of GOP intraparty division gave Democrats a chance to take open shots. “The Republicans are in turmoil. They can’t get their act together. The far right is holding everybody hostage. They are threatening to close down the government,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). “[They are] threatening our full faith and credit on debts that we owe. They could drive our whole economy off a cliff because of their intense hatred of Obama and the Affordable Care Act. I think that if they can’t figure out how to be somewhat responsible, since they have the power in the House of Representatives, that they’re looking for a disaster politically in 2014.”

While Republicans likely will control the House after the next election, moderate Republicans did admit that their latest kerfuffle showed a sharp division, a troubling prospect as Congress could face difficult votes this fall on raising the debt ceiling, immigration reform and the farm bill.

“We’re obviously not where we need to be or we would have voted on it,” said Rep. Tom Cole, the deputy majority whip. He said the likely next step would be a Republican conference to discuss alternatives. Wednesday’s developments, he added, “probably increases the chance that we are here the last week of September.”

11 comments
sacredh
sacredh

We managed to avoid sequestration cuts at work because we're considered mission critical this past year. It will have to be approved again if we're to avoid cuts again in the coming fiscal year. The government fiscal year starts October 1st. We're almost evenly divided between conservatives and liberals, but several of the conservatives are going to vote democratic in 2014 because money trumps politics with them. The GOP is imploding and the Tea Party is to blame.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

They reap what they sow. The GOP spent so much time lying about Obamacare that now the rubes don't understand why they don't act like they're in mortal danger.


berryls
berryls

Funny - I don't remember Republicans campaigning on a promise to shut down the government and destroy the US credit rating - but they just keep returning to this point.


The nation grows, sequestration prevents higher spending - yet they demand the funding that will pay the bills shrinks.

localwarrior
localwarrior

The GOP can't beat Obama at the voting booth or in the courts.  Now their plan is to turn the USA into a 3rd world country which defaults on its debts and obligations.  How pathetic.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

So the republican majority in the House again shows that it cannot speak in one voice. 

If only they had a Speaker.  

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

The Tea Party US House of Representatives-the best reason to eliminate all restrictions on abortions. 

As my son just said, it would have been far better if their parents had gone to the movies that night!

fitty_three
fitty_three

According to the GOP, all the hostage takers are in the middle east.

Oops.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

The entire teabagger argument in 15 letters: WHAAA!! WHAAA!!! WHAAA!!

yogi
yogi

 With the House only in its third day after the August recess, the GOP leadership stressed that all it needs is more time.

And one wonders what they have been doing with their time since they were all sworn into office...oh that's right, taking recess and complaining about the President, but yeah, time will solve this.

Tommy34684
Tommy34684

@Paul,nnto They do have a speaker. It just happens to be the worst speaker in the history of the House.