Washington, DC, United States (4E) – House Republicans are mustering votes Tuesday for a measure that runs counter to a Senate plan to reopen the government and raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.
he House plan follows the Senate version’s funding of government agencies until Jan. 15 and raising of the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, but delays tax on medical devices for two years and scraps Obamacare subsidies from lawmakers, the president, vice president and Cabinet officials. It needs at least 217 of the 232 Republicans in the House if all Democrats will oppose it.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday there was no decision on the plan yet after a conference with fellow Republicans. Reports said there is a split in the Republican ranks. Centrist GOP Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.) said the Speaker’s plan did not have the vote to pass based on the meeting, according to The Hill.
Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio) said they are discussing how to make the plan better to improve its chance in the floor voting planned later on Tuesday.
The House plan does not sit well with the White House, which prefer the Senate plan, and earned criticism from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid described Boehner’s maneuvering as “insulting” and “blindsided” the Senate, which is close to a potential deal that came out of Reid’s negotiation Monday with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“I am very disappointed in John Boehner, who once again tried to preserve his role at the expense of the country,” Reid said, according to Washington Times.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) defended the House plan saying President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their Cabinet officials have to participate in the health exchanges under the Obamacare, without government subsidies, the same as many other Americans.
Assuming that the House plan pass, the Senate is likely to strip the healthcare provisions and send it back to the lower chamber, which will then be under time pressure again to pass a bill as Thursday is the last day of the government’s current borrowing authority. The scenario is similar to what happened last month that led to the government shutdown starting Oct. 1.
The Treasury warned that the U.S. risk default if the debt ceiling is not raised by Thursday as the available cash would not be enough to pay for all the government’s bills.