Senate slated to table House bill
By: Burgess Everett and Manu Raju
September 30, 2013 08:44 AM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will double down on Monday afternoon and again dismiss the House’s attempts to chip away at Obamacare as part of a government funding bill.
The Senate will come in session at 2 p.m. and shortly thereafter vote to table the funding bill passed by the House over the weekend that repeals a 2.3 percent levy on medical devices and delay Obamacare by a year. The Senate will send back a bill funding the government through Nov. 15, leaving the House a handful of hours to respond ahead of a midnight shutdown deadline.
Elimination of the medical device tax has broad bipartisan support in Congress and a nonbinding vote earlier this year on repealing the tax drew the support of 79 senators. But senators will not vote specifically on the tax Monday, because the upper chamber is expected to take a single vote to dismiss all the House’s changes.
Tabling the House’s alterations will be done by a majority vote, so the 54-member Senate Democratic Caucus needs no help from Republicans to toss out the the House’s alterations to the health care bill.
“The Senate will do exactly what we said we would do and reject these measures,” said Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson on Sunday evening. “Republicans will be faced with the same choice they have always faced: put the Senate’s clean funding bill on the floor and let it pass with bipartisan votes, or force a Republican government shutdown.”
The chamber will also likely attempt Monday afternoon to unanimously pass a bill from the House to pay military troops in the event of the shutdown, a measure that garnered unanimous support in the House over the weekend. It shouldn’t be a heavy lift in the Senate either, though any of the 100 senators could object to the military bill and slow its progress.
Leadership has told House members they may on Monday again consider the government funding bill given the certainty of Senate rejection of their Obamacare provisions. On Sunday House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California acknowledged that the lower chamber will respond to the Senate with Obamacare provisions, but declined to name specifics.
“It will have a few other options in there for the Senate to look at again,” McCarthy said. “I think there will be additions that I have found in the Senate, that Senate Democrats say they can support.”
That’s likely wishful thinking: Reid and President Barack Obama have said they will not negotiate on Obamacare as part of the government funding fight.