Politics Now

Government shutdown: Senate again defeats effort to delay Obamacare

WASHINGTON -- Wasting little time, the Senate rejected a new House spending bill that took aim at President Obama’s healthcare law, as Democrats continue to hold firm against Republican demands.

It took just 24 minutes from the time the House gaveled out to recess after passing its bill for the Senate to start voting to reject the latest plan. The vote was again strictly along party lines, with 54 Democrats voting to reject the bill and 46 Republicans supporting it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), shortly before the vote, quoted Albert Einstein in defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and thinking you’re going to get a different result.”

“Einstein was a genius. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that -- the proof is watching the House Republicans, because they’ve lost their minds,” he said.

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The House had voted 228-201 to delay for one year a major element of the law -- the requirement that by 2014 all Americans must carry health insurance or face a fine. The measure also included a provision that would hit lawmakers’ pocketbooks by ending the government’s long-standing payment of a portion of the healthcare premiums for members of Congress, their staffs and some administration officials.

House Speaker John A. Boehner is expected now to quickly assemble his rank-and-file to discuss their next counter-offer. Pressure has been building within the GOP from moderates eager to avoid the shutdown. They want the House to pass a simple extension of government spending through mid-December. But the more powerful conservative flank continues to insist on measures to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

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