WASHINGTON — With one vote on Friday, the Republican-led House launched the latest spending battle in Congress — one that could bring a government shutdown in less than two weeks.
By a 230-189 vote almost strictly on party lines, the House passed a short-term government spending plan that would eliminate all funding for Obamacare.
The measure now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, which is certain to reject the provision that defunds President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement of his first term.
In legislative jargon, the House passed a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year that begins October 1.
The controversy involves the provision demanded by the GOP’s conservative wing and agreed to by House Speaker John Boehner that eliminates all funding for the 2010 health care reforms popularly known as Obamacare.
The two-stage process includes a possible government shutdown at the end of the current fiscal year on September 30 if there is no compromise on a spending resolution, followed by a potentially even more rancorous debate over raising the debt ceiling.
Conservatives tie Obamacare to budget talks
Tea party conservatives who have pledged to fight implementation of Obamacare consider the current budget debate their last major chance to undermine it, because the brunt of the new system takes effect with the start of fiscal year 2014 on October 1.
They demand a halt to funding for the signature program from President Barack Obama’s first term, and they seem indifferent about forcing a government shutdown if that doesn’t happen.
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