House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reportedly will send a clean continuing resolution funding the government through December back to the House next week, after stripping language from the measure that defunds Obamacare with a simple majority vote in the Senate.
An amendment loophole
Since the House CR will come over to the Senate with the Obamacare defunding language in it, there is no reason for Senate Republicans to filibuster a vote that would allow the Senate to begin debating the bill.
Then Reid will decide which amendments can be filed on the bill, one of which will strike the Obamacare defunding language. At that point, Reid will file for cloture to end debate on the CR.
But still there will be nothing for Republicans to filibuster since the CR would still have the defunding language. But after that cloture vote passes (assuming Reid gets the required 60 votes in favor), he will have 30 hours to gain a simply majority of the Senate for approval of the amendment striking the defunding language.
"Since you can amend a bill post-cloture, as long as it’s germane, with only a simple majority, it would seem to me that he has a way to make this work as he wishes," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told the Hill.
Back to the House
At that point, House Republicans will have to decide whether or not to cave on the defunding issue by approving Reid's CR that protects Obamacare, do nothing and thereby allow a government shutdown, or challenge Reid to compromise on some basis that allows the government to remain open.
Such a compromise could be based on a delay of Obamacare's individual mandate, Senate approval of the House bill banning health insurance premium subsidies until the government has a verification process to ensure only eligible recipients receive the assistance, or some other form of delay in the program that surveys have repeatedly shown most Americans oppose.
The Washington Examiner's David M. Drucker reports that some House Republicans will be in a mood to negotiate with Democrats over the CR, hoping to secure at least a delay of Obamacare.
But these Republicans are in for a rude awakening. House Democrats want a government shutdown they can blame on Republicans. And they see a clean, Senate-passed CR as giving them exactly that.
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