GOP Rep.: Shutdown bill vote tonight
By CNN’s Bryan Koenig
(CNN) — Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, says a House bill funding the federal government and raising the debt limit with minor changes to the national health care law is imminent.
Nunes told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash Tuesday afternoon that a bill will be seen “within an hour or two,” with a vote sometime Tuesday night. The measure, Nunes said, will be very similar to the one House Speaker John Boehner unveiled to the House GOP caucus earlier in the day.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel confirmed the timing of the expected vote in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“The House will vote tonight to reopen the government and avoid default,” Steel said.
“After listening to Members at Conference this morning, House Republican Leaders will bring a plan to the floor which will end the ObamaCare subsidies for elected officials and staff in Washington, DC, and pressure Senate Democrats to accept more sensible dates for the CR and the debt limit.”
The bill is expected to raise the nation’s borrowing authority until February 7 and fully fund the government through December 15. The measure also comes with a small change to the Affordable Care Act that Republicans think will be tenable to Senate Democrats: Stopping the federal government from continuing to subsidize insurance for members of Congress, their staff and White House appointees and employees.
The bill would also directly impact the way the Treasury Department pays the government’s obligations, prohibiting any “extraordinary measures” to extend the debt limit, measures like the ones Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has been employing since last spring.
Whether or not the measure will actually pass the House when it’s expected to be brought to a vote Tuesday night remains to be seen.
“I don’t know that we have the votes or not,” Nunes said. There are those in the House GOP caucus who will vote against any bill that does not completely dismantle or defund President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, he added.
The vote will show the difference between House Republicans who “came here to actually govern and make law and do something with their voting card,” Nunes said, “versus those who just want to vote no.”
Nunes was extremely critical of his more fervently anti-Obamacare colleagues in the House, arguing that they’re not really conservatives.
“To be a conservative you have to know how to count,” he said, arguing that they knew all along that a bill to fund the government while defunding Obamacare would never pass.
Boehner gave the House GOP caucus what they demanded, Nunes said.
“What choice was he given when a majority of our conference wanted to implement it?”
But Nunes was also critical of House Democrats saying “the democrats like this shutdown,” adding that it’s “helping them politically.”
And if Senate Democrats reject the proposal, “Then it really will be [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid’s default,” on the government’s debt obligations, Nunes said.
Nunes said he had reservations about stripping Obamacare subsidies from cabinet appointees, White House staff, members of Congress and those who work for them. But he saw little choice, he said, with the U.S. government projected to exceed its borrowing authority and run out of money to pay all its bills as early as Thursday.
“We’re at the 11th hour.”
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