House GOP has U. S. near par­tial shut­down

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - NEWS CANADA/ WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — House Repub­li­cans on Satur­day pushed the gov­ern­ment to the brink of a par­tial shut­down in two days, de­mand­ing a one- year de­lay in im­ple­ment­ing ma­jor parts of U. S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health- care law in de­fi­ance of the White House and Demo­cratic- con­trolled Se­nate.

The White House quickly is­sued a veto threat and Se­nate Democrats vowed to re­ject the mea­sure even be­fore the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives be­gan de­bat­ing the Repub­li­can plan.

“Any mem­ber of the Repub­li­can party who votes for this bill is vot­ing for a shut­down,” pres­i­den­tial press sec­re­tary Jay Car­ney said in a state­ment.

Un­de­terred, House Repub­li­cans pressed ahead with their lat­est at­tempt to squeeze a con­ces­sion from the White House in ex­change for pro­vid­ing the funds the gov­ern­ment needs to open for busi­ness nor­mally on Tues­day. The House Repub­li­can plan also would re­peal a tax on med­i­cal de­vices that helps pay for the health­care law.

Deal­ing with the pos­si­bil­ity the Se­nate would re­ject the bill, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives also planned to pass a com­pan­ion mea­sure di­rect­ing that U. S. mil­i­tary troops be paid on time de­spite any par­tial shut­down.

“I think we have a win­ning pro­gram here,” said Repub­li­can Rep. Hal Rogers, chair­man of the House ap­pro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tee, af­ter days of dis­cord that pit­ted Speaker John Boehner and his lead­er­ship against the party’s ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive Tea Party wing.

Fail­ure to pass a short- term mea­sure to keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning would mean the first par­tial clos­ing in al­most 20 years. A sin­gle, agreed- upon ver­sion must be ap­proved by both houses of Congress and signed by Obama by Tues­day.

Such par­a­lyz­ing fis­cal fights have dom­i­nated Wash­ing­ton in re­cent years, un­der­scor­ing the deep di­vide be­tween the Repub­li­cans and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and its Demo­cratic al­lies. The two sides have man­aged in the past to come up with last- minute com­pro­mises to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down.

Apart from its im­pact on the health­care law, the leg­is­la­tion House Repub­li­cans de­cided to back would as­sure rou­tine fund­ing for gov­ern­ment agen­cies through Dec. 15.

The mea­sure marked some­thing of a re­duc­tion in de­mands by House Repub­li­cans, who passed leg­is­la­tion sev­eral days ago that would per­ma­nently strip the health- care law of money while pro­vid­ing fund­ing for the gov­ern­ment.

It also con­tained sig­nif­i­cant con­ces­sions from a party that long has crit­i­cized the health- care law for im­pos­ing nu­mer­ous gov­ern­ment man­dates on in­dus­try, in some cases far ex­ceed­ing what Repub­li­cans were will­ing to sup­port in the past.

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

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