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Government Shutdown Threat Looms in Fight to Defund or Repeal ACA

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Government Shutdown Threat Looms in Fight to Defund or Repeal ACA

September 12, 2013

Back in D.C. after the August recess, lawmakers are gearing up for another budget showdown that will focus on the debt ceiling, an effort to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the threat of a government shutdown. In a memorandum addressed to House Republicans dated September 6, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) outlined the legislative goals for the House in the coming months. Cantor slamed the Senate for not passing an appropriations bill and urged the president to sign a continuing resolution (CR) that keeps spending cuts at the levels that have been imposed by the sequester. He noted the debt ceiling will be hit in October, necessitating an increase in order for the government to borrow more money to keep it functioning. Cantor pledged to increase the debt limit, but said it will come in exchange for "fiscal reforms and pro-growth policies which put us on a path to balance in ten years." He praised House efforts to repeal parts of the ACA, and urged them to continue to "systematically derail[] this train wreck and replac[e] it with a patient-centered system". 

On Tuesday, House Republicans released two continuing resolution proposals that would keep the government funded through December 15. The second resolution included language that said no funds may be used to implement the ACA. The resolutions are part of a GOP plan that would force the Senate to vote on whether to fund the ACA. The idea is that, after passing through the House, the Senate would pass the first resolution to keep the government funded. Then they would be forced to take up the second resolution, which would make a technical correction to the main spending resolution, and that contains language that would limit ACA spending. Several Republicans balked at the idea, and on Wednesday Cantor backed off the plan, delaying a vote until he could get additional support for the plan. 

Meanwhile, Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have plans to meet with House leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and John Boehner (R-OH) today to discuss the latest budget crisis and attempt to come to a resolution on how to avoid a government shutdown while appeasing hard-line Republicans who do not want to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner has expressed concern that a government shutdown could backfire and hurt his party in the next election cycle. Talks between lawmakers and the White House on the budget broke down without resolution recently, but the meeting of top legislators could indicate a willingness to find an amenable solution. 

Source: The Hill