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REID RIGID AS SHUTDOWN LOOMS - It’s been a day and a half since House Republicans passed their latest counteroffer for keeping the government open when the clock hits midnight. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid flatly refused to rush back into session before today’s scheduled 2 p.m. ET start. House Republicans lowered their demand from a full defunding of President Obama’s health law to a one-year delay, citing costs and multiple problems with implementing the law. Reid, like Obama, has refused any negotiations over the health law and Democrats are mostly united in the belief that Republicans will suffer more in the event of a shutdown. This is just a game of chicken, except there are 310 million passengers in the careening cars.
[“You assume they [Senate Democrats] won’t vote for it. Let’s have that debate… we have other options for the Senate to look at.” – House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace”]
Clock watchers - Reid said the House compromise puts the process “at square one” and vowed to strike down the bill. And, as Fox News explains, he can deliver. Senate rules allow the House proposal to be killed by 51 Democrats on a party-line vote. Politico reports that Reid privately discouraged the president from holding planned talks with Republicans, with the majority leader saying he would not attend if Obama summoned lawmakers for a sit-down. Reid’s evident decision is to run down the clock, leaving Senate Democrats in place to throw the final pass of this fouled-up football game.