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POLITICS: PennAve

House Republicans, House GOP seeks 1-year Obamacare delay, medical device tax repeal to avert government shutdown Tuesday

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UPDATE: 12:30 a.m. — In defiance of a White House threat to veto, the House of Representatives brought the country one step closer to a government shutdown very early Sunday by passing a spending bill that would delay the president's signature health care law.

In a rare early Sunday morning vote, the House approved two amendments to their government spending bill, which would avert a shutdown Tuesday and fund the government through Dec. 15. One provision would delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year. It passed 231 to 192. The other would repeal a medical device tax included in the health care law. It passed 248-174.

Two New York Republicans, Reps. Chris Gibson and Richard Hanna, voted against the one-year delay of Obamacare, and two Democrats voted for it.

The House also unanimously passed a bill that would provide funding for military personnel — though not civilian Pentagon employees — in the event of a government shutdown.

"The House has again passed a plan that reflects the American people’s desire to keep the government running and stop the president’s health care law," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "Now that the House has again acted, it’s up to the Senate to pass this bill without delay to stop a government shutdown."

Top Senate Democrats have insisted that any government spending proposal which changes the Affordable Care Act would be a non-starter in the Senate.

UPDATE: 6:24 p.m. — The White House announced this evening that it would veto any bill that includes a Republican proposal to delay Obamacare implementation and repeal a medical device tax. "By including extraneous measures that have no place in a government funding bill and that the president and Senate already made clear are unacceptable, House Republicans are pushing the government toward shutdown," read a statement from the Office of Management and Budget.

ORIGINAL STORY: Republicans on Saturday unveiled a new proposal to fund the government that would also delay the implementation of Obamacare by a year and repeal a medical device tax that the new the health care law includes, Republican sources said.

The bill, which appears headed toward a late-night vote by the full House, would fund the government through Dec. 15, avoiding a potential shutdown on Tuesday.

“The American people don’t want a government shut down and they don’t want ObamaCare," read a statement from House Republican leadership. “We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”

Further, Republicans will propose a defense appropriations bill that would continue funding military operations as a separate bill so that Pentagon funding could continue to flow even if the government shuts down.

"I don't think we should skip pay day for our troops. We're still at war, we have people over there in Afghanistan fighting every day. They have families here at home," said Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

The plan appeared to have a substantial amount of support: Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., told reporters upon emerging from a Republican conference meeting that he "saw no dissent" to the proposal.

"Even a [Obamacare] delay would be a win at the end of the day, and it would be a compelling argument to have over in the Senate," Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said as she entered a meeting of the Republican conference.

Top Democrats dismissed the new House proposal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called it "pointless."

"As I have said repeatedly, the Senate will reject any Republican attempt to force changes to the Affordable Care Act through a mandatory government funding bill," Reid said.

A statement from the White House Saturday evening echoed this sentiment.

"Republicans have tried and failed to defund or delay the health care law more than 40 times, and they know this demand is reckless and irresponsible," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. "Any member of the Republican Party who votes for this bill is voting for a shutdown."

The House was set to vote Saturday on the new budget bill. If the Republican-run House approves the measure, attention will turn immediately to the Senate, which must reach a settlement with the House by Monday night to avoid a government shutdown.

"It's very clear that the Senate is acting on the behest of the president," said Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said.

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David M. Drucker

Senior Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner