Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. Heat is building on balkanized Republicans, who are convening the House this weekend in hopes of preventing a government shutdown but remain under tea party pressure to battle on and use a must-do funding bill to derail all or part of President Barack Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Nearing deadline, GOP seeks health care law delay
First Published Sep 28 2013 10:07 am • Last Updated Sep 28 2013 01:35 pm

Washington • Locked in a struggle with President Barack Obama, House Republicans demanded a one-year delay in the nation’s new health care law and permanent repeal of a tax on medical devices Saturday as the price for preventing a partial government shutdown threatened for early Tuesday.

GOP lawmakers emerging from a closed-door meeting said they would pass legislation by day’s end incorporating their new demands, along with a companion measure specifying that U.S. troops be paid even if a shutdown occurs.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"I think we have a winning program here," said Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, after days of discord that pitted Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his leadership against tea party-backed conservatives.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House. Obama said Friday he would not be party to eviscerating the law he won from Congress in his first term, and spokesman Jay Carney said the administration would "absolutely not" back repealing the medical devices tax.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who heads the Senate Budget Committee, accused the House GOP leadership of "pandering to the tea party minority."

Apart from its impact on the health care law, the legislation that House Republicans decided to back would assure routine funding for government agencies through Dec. 15.

The measure marked something of a reduction in demands by House Republicans, who passed legislation several days ago that would permanently strip the health care law of money while providing funding for the government.

The Senate rejected that measure on a party-line vote of 54-44 Friday, insisting on a straightforward continuation in government funding without health care-related add-ons.

That left the next step up to the House — with time to avert a partial shutdown growing ever shorter.

For a moment at least, the revised House proposal papered over a simmering dispute between the leadership and tea party conservatives who have been more militant about abolishing the health law that all Republicans oppose.


story continues below
story continues below

It was unclear whether members of the rank and file had consulted with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has become the face of the "Defund Obamacare" campaign that tea party organizations are promoting and using as a fundraising tool.

Instead, House Republican moderates and conservatives said it soon would be up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and fellow Democrats to decide whether the government would remain open past the shutdown deadline of midnight Monday.

Asked if the House measure would risk a shutdown, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said, "It depends on how long ... Reid wants to continue to be financially irresponsible and obstructionist."

Said Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa.: "Once this passes the House, the Senate’s going to have to make a decision. Will they move quickly or will they dawdle?"

Left unspoken was how the House would respond if the Senate rejected the measure and insisted once more on a bill with no extraneous items.

There was little doubt that Reid had the votes to block a one-year delay in the health care program widely known as "Obamacare."

It appeared the Republicans’ chances of winning a concession centered on the medical device tax, which was incorporated into the health law to help pay its costs. Some Republicans noted that the Senate has taken a nonbinding 79-20 vote to repeal the levy, and that several members of Obama’s party supported the proposal.

In fact, the total was more than half the Democratic senators, 33 in all. Those in favor included members of the leadership, Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York among them, as well as Murray.

"What will move this is if there are other Democratic senators who put pressure on Reid," said Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C.

The 2.3 percent tax, which took effect in January, is imposed on items such as pacemakers and CT scan machines; eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and other items are exempt. Repealing it would cost the government an estimated $29 billion over the coming decade.

Some Republicans breathed defiance, despite fears inside the party that the GOP would bear the blame for any interruption in government services.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.