WASHINGTON -- House Republicans plan to vote Monday evening on yet another attempt to halt parts of Obamacare in exchange for funding the government past midnight, but the latest move worsened divisions within the GOP caucus, with both moderates and conservatives raising objections, creating more uncertainty as the deadline for action neared.
House Republicans decided on the strategy during a closed-door session after the Senate’s rejection of an earlier GOP measure to stop the Affordable Care Act.
The expected vote will come with fewer than four hours remaining for Congress to provide funds for government agencies in the new fiscal year, which begins at midnight.
The Republican plans would delay for one year the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a fine. The measure also would include a proposal that hits lawmakers’ pocketbooks by blocking the federal government from paying the employer’s share of health insurance premiums for members of Congress and some staff.
Some House Republicans portrayed the move as an effort to meet Democrats half-way.
“A one-year delay is a compromise,” said Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.).
Democrats in the Senate, however, already have said they would reject any effort to delay the law.
“We are not going to mess around with Obamacare, no matter what they do,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). “They have got to get a life.”
Even as some conservatives objected that a one-year delay would not completely eliminate Obamacare, some moderates said they would oppose the latest move because they do not want to see the government shut down.
“We have too many people who live in their own echo chamber,” said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who was among those who said they oppose further efforts to tie government funds to the fate of the health law.
“It’s a dead end. We’re going to shut the government down, and when all is said and done we’re going to get blamed for it,” King said.
Earlier Monday, Senate Democrats swatted back both a measure to delay the Affordable Care Act for one year and another to repeal a new tax on makers of medical devices.
The Senate also unanimously agreed to a House-passed bill to ensure military troops are paid in the event of a government shutdown.
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