Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

House Passes Obamacare Defunding Bill as Shutdown Looms

House Republicans cheer as Boehner arrives in the Rayburn Room for their rally following the House vote on a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans cheer as Boehner arrives in the Rayburn Room for their rally following the House vote on a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:58 a.m. | Bowing to conservatives, a united House Republican majority passed a continuing resolution Friday that would defund Obamacare and lock in sequester spending levels through Dec. 15, setting up a fight with Senate Democrats as a shutdown looms Oct. 1.

“We in Congress were sent to Washington by our constituents to fight for them,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Friday on the floor. “We should pass this continuing resolution so the Senate can finally begin to do the same.”

The CR passed 230-189 with a nearly party-line vote. A single Republican, Scott Rigell of Virginia, voted no. Two Democrats, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Jim Matheson of Utah, voted in favor.

But that was the easy vote for House Republicans.

The real battle will be when the proposal bounces back from the Senate, with the Obamacare defunding language almost certainly stripped and the spending level potentially increased from the $986.3 billion the House passed.

It’s an open question whether House leaders can cobble together a coalition to pass such a bill — or hold a majority of Republicans on board.

Cantor didn’t want to entertain the idea that the Senate won’t simply pass the House’s bill. “Listen, I don’t want to bet against the Senate,” he told reporters, pointing to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and the other Republicans who have been advocating the defunding strategy.

They “want to do everything they can to defund Obamacare. I support that. And I hope they’ll leave no stone unturned to do that,” he said.

Cantor also sought to put pressure on Senate Democrats up for re-election next year, including Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, and Mark Begich of Alaska, asking them to listen to their constituents and vote to roll back the health care law.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ripped the vote.

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown,” the Nevada Democrat said. “I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: The Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare. … Democrats stand ready to work with reasonable people who want to improve it, but Republican attempts to take an entire law hostage simply to appease the tea party anarchists are outrageous, irresponsible and futile.”

Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski says a short-term measure shorn of the Obamacare language will buy time for an effort to reach agreement on a broader spending package. “I want to get to a bottom line, but I can’t do it without a topline,” she said. “Passing a clean continuing resolution in the Senate is a start, but clearly we have a long way to go,” the Maryland Democrat said. That will, of course, toss the issue back into the House with just days before Oct. 1.

Once the Senate acts, House Democrats will also be put on the spot next week.

While the White House has said President Barack Obama would sign a “clean” CR at current spending levels, House Democratic leaders want more spending in return for their votes.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., have signaled that “right now,” as Pelosi put it, “the mood is not favorable to a 986 number.”

“Our whip has been very, very forceful, and I think he speaks for our caucus almost across the board when he says we just cannot have that number,” Pelosi said Thursday.

But Democrats could either have to swallow the current spending levels or risk getting shutdown blame themselves.

On Friday, Democrats trickled into the chamber to voice their opposition to the bill in, mostly, one- or two-minute segments.

“It is a wolf in wolf’s clothing,” Pelosi said, charging that the CR under consideration is designed to shut down the government. “It’s a terrible proposition for our families and our communities and our country.”

Hoyer, while clearly dissatisfied with the sequester, focused his opposition Friday on the defunding of Obamacare.

“That isn’t going to happen. And it is a blatant act of hostage-taking,” Hoyer said.

Either way, this won’t be the last vote the House takes on the CR. And as Congress begins bouncing their proposals back and forth, time also becomes an enemy as lawmakers approach the Sept. 30 deadline.

As lawmakers began the debate on the CR on Friday, Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., reminded lawmakers “in the House and the other body, that a government shutdown is a political game in which everyone loses.”

“A government shutdown, even the illusion of a threat of a shutdown shows to the American people that this Congress does not have their best interests at heart,” Rogers said.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

  • aeroguy48

    If the Federal Government fell in the woods would anybody hear it?


    If Obamacare is so great, then why are so many
    people like all of the major Unions and others
    are asking for waivers ?

    • Bad Bob

      You heard that on Fuex News?

  • fdup2

    Thank you all.

  • colleen10001

    Why doesn’t everyone that is so gung ho on making sure the Affordable HC
    law take complete affect LIVE under that law. (PS Washington
    legislators themselves and others that made deals with Obama will not
    have to use this bill.)

    So why don’t all the people disagreeing with defunding obamacare take
    part and be affected by every little provision in Obamacare, and the
    rest of us receive actual real HC from any doctor that could somehow
    get out of all the hoops and bologne they are now having to put into
    affect in their medical practice.

    This can’t happen-Just a point

  • Al Finkelstein

    Republican are mistaken when they say they are carrying out the will of the people. They forget that a majority of votes cast in the last election were for democrats. Only because of the gerrymandered districts they have managed to create do they have a majority.

    • xbalesx

      Al, the last election was the last election. It has zero bearing on this legislation. The majority of Americans do not want govt run healthcare. Take the 3 best, most agreeable, points out of Obamacare, scrap the rest and implement that. If Obamacare is so great, why is Harry Reid trying to gain exemptions for himself and most other govt employees? Why are the unions now so pissed off and against Obamacare, seeking exemptions? Why can’t a regular american get an exemption? I look forward to your answers & feedback.

      • Bad Bob

        John McCain disagrees with you. And he knows that is one of the reasons he lost.

      • Maliheh Banoo

        President obama was re-elected so that tell me americans want government ran healthcare.

  • cosmos110

    The McCarrin – Ferguson Act is the reason we can’t have reasonable health insurance rates. This act is the reason why we see all the big insurance companies using a different company in each state, ex: Cigna Connecticut, Cigna Oklahoma, Aetna Group of California, Aetna Group of Wisconsin etc….

    This McCarrin — Ferguson Act keeps the small health insurers out of the market because they can’t afford to open a different company in each different state. Imagine the Geico Lizard spending all that advertising money on one state.

    When you have enough money to burn, you can buy the necessary politicians and eliminate the competition as long as you keep’em greased. Ax the McCarrin – Ferguson Act and health Insurance will become affordable again.


  • gueppebarre

    It’s some kind of scam – can’t wait to see if it really gets defunded. Forgive me if I’m less than convinced.

    Put the exchanges back on you and your staffs, Congress, and perhaps your cred factor will slide positive. Right now it’s zero.

    • Bad Bob

      Congress is subject to the law. You are mistaken.

      • gueppebarre

        No, you are wrong, friend. They have accepted a “waiver” from OPM so they could have their health care subsidized to prevent a “brain drain,” – as if that could happen – you need to stay off of Rachel Madcow’s blog…

        • Bad Bob

          Here is an articles about the subject that you might actually believe…

          Even John Fund says Congress is required to participate, if you can wade through all his hate and BS…

          “In 2009, Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) ,,, was able to insert a provision requiring all members of Congress and their staffs to get insurance through the Obamacare health exchanges.”

          • gueppebarre

            Actually your articles thus submitted do not support your point but rather support my contention that they have contravened the ACA law by passing themselves and their staffs a subsidy that the law did not appropriate nor does it appropriate for any other citizen.

            Answer me this question: why is it that persons who oppose the leftist position on anything are automatically characterized as being full of “hate and BS”? You don’t know John Fund, or whatever his name is, from Adam, and thus you are in no position to make any moral judgment on the man – you have no idea whether he hates anything or what he hates. I suppose your diatribe is a juvenile form of argumentation to avoid broaching the real subject – seems quite common these days from the left.

            Whether his article is BS, well, if you have a rebuttal to any of his points you should state them concisely. Calling names and blustering, again, is a juvenile technique that only proves an infantile level of reasoning by the user thereof.

            Not very effective means of convincing thinking people, Bad Boy, but for some it’s all they have.

  • Wuthie

    Obamacare would add nine more years to Medicare solvency and cut the national debt by over $138 billion dollars. Can’t see anything wrong with that.

    More people with insurance would actually lower medical cost because doctors and hospitals wouldn’t have to write off as much for those uninsured. Insurance rate would lower because more people buying insurance creates more competition. Can’t see anything wrong with that.

    Defunding Obamacare doesn’t change the law. You still need to get it.

    • jeanie6

      Prove what you just wrote if you can. Who says so?

      • Wuthie

        Read the CBO report.

        As far as the medical cost that is just plain logic. Hospitals aren’t writing of losses because of the uninsured that can’t pay.

        ACA (Obamacare) is a LAW. Taking money away from it doesn’t change the law.

        I don’t know why I replied to this post because your kind doesn’t really care to find the proof or you would have already read the CBO report and not needed to ask for proof.

        • jeanie6

          So terrribly sorry not to meet your standards, crushed. s/ As for reading the CBO, too lazy. As for taking money from OCare…in a NY minute. As for writing off medical care, most of the 30 million uninsured will still be unable to pay leaving the rest of us subsidizing them as usual…just to the tune of more than is being paid now. As for lowering the deficit, that assumes that medical/hospital costs will go down, they won’t.

          • Wuthie

            Quit being lazy and read the CBO report and you would find out that lowering the the hospital write offs has nothing to do with the lowering of deficit.

            Yes some of the 30 million will need to be subsidized.

            Subsidizing an insurance premium is a lot cheaper than $100,000 heart attack

          • jeanie6

            Susidizing a premium might be a lot lower per individual need, for the collective 30 mil it’s a lot higher. You are assuming those costs for each of the 30 mil. Also, lowering the deficit, you mentioned the lowering or slowing of hosp and med costs. If this occurs, and it won’t with OCare, it would contribute to lowering the deficit. There’s only one good thing, possibly 2, written into OCare. One is the supporting pre-existing conditions and the other is the life time cap removal. If the cowardly left were willing to discuss the bill on the floor it would clear the way for the good to stay and the bad to go. Reid will not let it happen. He’s afraid it will out the mess called OCare.

          • Wuthie

            You have no idea of what you are talking about.

            I guess lowering the national debt isn’t a good thing about ACA

            I guess keeping your children on until they are 26 isn’t a good thing about ACA.

            I guess adding 9 years to the solvency of Medicare isn’t a good thing.

            I guess lowering insurance premiums because of competition isn’t a good thing about ACA.

            I guess having lower income people being able to get Affordable health care isn’t a good thing.

            For one year Republicans were working with Democrats on the health care, and they tried to sabotage it all the while. If you checked facts you would find the individual mandate was a Republican idea. In fact Obamacare is based on Romneycare, and that is working good in Mass.

            Like Glen Beck says, DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK.

  • Dianna DiMare

    Thank you for voting against Obamacare & His socialism…..shutdown the government if need be…..stop the crazy spending.
    Best Regards, Take back our country!!!
    Dianna DImare
    Registered voter

  • Janet Kroenke

    I work but still desperately need the Affordable Health Care the same as millions of others. People who are against health care for those who need it are murderers, plain and simple.

    • jeanie6

      If you can afford OCare, you could afford a low cost plan right now as the present comparable ones are cheaper. So, you must be one of the folks expecting to get it for free? or at our expense? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain?

  • Maliheh Banoo

    ObamaCare defund bill is ‘DOA’ when it reaches the Senate.

  • Maliheh Banoo

    Ted Cruz and house republicans are happy and cheering at the thought of
    taking food from the hungry and healthcare from the sick

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...