Share This Page

House GOP won't cave in on Senate bill

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

WASHINGTON — As the nation moves closer to the brink of a government shutdown, House Republicans vowed on Thursday that they won't simply accept the stopgap legislation likely to remain after Senate Democrats strip away a plan to dismantle President Obama's health care law.

A sense of confusion settled over the House, both over how to avoid a shutdown and how to handle even more important legislation to increase the government's borrowing ability to avert a default on national obligations.

Short of votes, House leaders shelved a vote expected this weekend on the debt-limit measure and gave frustrated Republican lawmakers few clues about what they plan to do to avoid a shutdown.

The chaos sets the stage for weekend drama on Capitol Hill. The Senate plans to send the fractious House a straightforward bill on Friday to keep the government operating through Nov. 15 rather than partly closing down at midnight Monday.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and several rank-and-file Republicans said the House simply won't accept a “clean” spending measure, even though that's been the norm in Congress on dozens of occasions since the 1995-96 government closures that bruised Republicans and strengthened the hand of Democratic President Bill Clinton.

“I don't see that happening,” Boehner said. “I have no interest in a government shutdown.” He said he doesn't expect a shutdown on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Democratic-led chamber won't relent.

“The Senate will never pass a bill that guts the Affordable Care Act,” Reid declared.

A partial government shutdown would keep hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job, close national parks and generate damaging headlines for whichever side the public would hold responsible.

Washington must meet two deadlines: The Tuesday start of the new budget year and a mid-October date — now estimated for the 17th — when the government no longer could borrow money to pay its bills on time.

The first deadline requires Congress to pass a spending bill to allow agencies to stay open. The Oct. 17 deadline requires Congress to increase the government's $16.7 trillion borrowing cap to avoid a first-ever default on its payments, which include interest obligations; Social Security benefits; payments to thousands of contractors large and small; and salaries for the military.

The standoff just four days before the end of the fiscal year increased the possibility of a shutdown, with no signs of compromise.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.