News

Republicans ignore Obama’s veto threat on spending bill

Republicans ignore Obama’s veto threat on spending bill

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks to reporters about the deadline to fund the government and the fight among House Republicans, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. House Republicans vowed Wednesday to pass legislation that would prevent a partial government shutdown and avoid a default while simultaneously canceling out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, inaugurating a new round of political brinkmanship as critical deadlines approach. Photo: Reuters/AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday plowed ahead with a bill to gut President Barack Obama’s healthcare law while temporarily funding other government programs, ignoring a warning from the White House that the measure would be vetoed.

The bill, which would keep the government running through December 15 and avert shutdowns with the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, faced its first test vote in the House on Thursday with passage of the measure expected on Friday.

“We’ll deliver a big victory in the House tomorrow,” a confident House Speaker John Boehner told reporters.

The administration wasted no time in formally announcing that it would not allow rebellious House Republicans to destroy the “Obamacare” healthcare law by denying funds.

In a terse statement, the White House said the House bill would be vetoed “because it advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class.” The statement went on to say that “millions of hard-working middle class families” would be denied affordable health coverage.

This is the latest round in a series of battles Obama faces with Congress over the next few months in what has become an unending standoff over running Washington’s most basic operations, from the FBI and national parks to education and military programs.

And the December 15 cut-off date for the funding measure guarantees yet another struggle around Christmas time.

Besides the spending bill, Congress and the White House have to either agree in October or early November on a measure to increase U.S. borrowing authority or plunge the nation into a first-ever credit default.

In 2011, as Republicans and Democrats fought over these two same issues, U.S. financial markets swooned because of all the uncertainty created by Washington’s inability to work together.

Between July 7 and August 9 of that year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average blue-chip stocks plummeted 2,150 points, or 16.9 percent.

‘Stealth debt limit’ hike

The Republican bill is expected to attract no Democratic support and even some conservative opposition.

For example, Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky told Reuters that he planned to vote against the measure because “it’s a stealth debt limit increase.”

Massie was referring to a provision of the bill that would instruct the Treasury Department to pay bondholders and Social Security retirement benefits even if Congress fails to increase the government’s $16.7 trillion borrowing cap that will soon be breached.

Assuming the House passes the Republican-backed bill to defund Obamacare and provide temporary government funds, it will be significantly altered by the Democratic Senate next week.

Democrats in that chamber plan to delete the House’s Obamacare provision and send the temporary spending bill back to the House for passage before the September 30 deadline when the current fiscal year ends.

Senate Democrats believe that more than a dozen Republicans in that chamber could back them since they are on record opposing linking Obamacare to keeping the government open. Some of those Republicans have described their House colleagues’ ploy as “foolish,” a “silly effort” and “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

If the Senate kills the Obamacare defunding proposal and sends the House a basic temporary spending bill, Boehner and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will then each face difficult decisions.

Since many House Republicans are expected to vote against final passage of the stripped-down measure, Boehner might have to decide whether to rely on significant Democratic support to win passage, a politically difficult move.

For Pelosi, the question will be whether to throw her weight behind a bill that continues deep, across-the-board spending cuts that Democrats want to end.

Many inside and outside of Congress are guessing that both leaders will hold their noses, keeping in mind that the alternative, an October 1 government shutdown, is not an option.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Tony Stewart returns to NASCAR racing after fatal accident

Fresh
Tony Stewart smiles as he speaks with his crew before the start of the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, February 27, 2012.

Tony Stewart will return to racing this weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time since he struck and killed a young racer at a dirt track earlier this month.

in Sports

Mismatch fears over Paul McGinley dispelled

Fresh
Europe's Paul McGinley of Ireland watches his shot on the third hole during the second day of foursomes competition against Asia at the Royal Trophy golf tournament in Chonburi province, near Bangkok, January 10, 2009.

Four-times European Tour winner Paul McGinley won the Ryder Cup in 2002 but Phillip Price says next month's matches at Gleneagles could end up defining his career.

in Sports

Dream run over for Catherine Bellis as big guns advance

Fresh
Aug 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Catherine Bellis (USA) hits to Zarina Diyas (KAZ) on day four of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic were forced to take a backseat to 15-year-old Catherine Bellis, who hogged the Flushing Meadows limelight once again.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Johnny JamBoogie

Fresh
18-overlay8

If football doesn't workout, "Johnny Football" always has this to fall back on.

in Entertainment

Reese Witherspoon goes ‘Legally Blonde’ for cancer-stricken fan

Fresh
Reese Witherspoon stars in a scene from "Legally Blonde."

Reese Witherspoon played dress-up for a four year old who is obsessed by her alter ego Elle Woods from her 2001 hit "Legally Blonde."