In Washington today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government that could have detrimental effects on Obama's health care law.
According to the Washington Post, House Republicans attached a provision to the bill that would defund the Affordable Health Care Act. The provision is unlikely to receive approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate, however, and is facing a veto threat from President Obama as well.
The Senate is expected to begin debating the spending bill sometime next week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to remove the language aimed at dismantling the health care law and then send the bill back to the House as merely legislation to extend current government spending. If the Senate uses the full amount of allotted time for debating the bill, the vote may not come until late in the week, which would give GOP leaders in the House less than 48 hours to respond to the revised bill.
Republicans will have three choices in how they respond: they can either reject it, pass it, or amend it and send it back to the Senate again. If the amended bill is rejected by the Senate, it will result in a government shutdown. Immediate effects of a shutdown would not be felt by most Americans, as air traffic control, Social Security, mail delivery services, and Medicare would all continue as normal. However, national parks and museums would close, and agency operations would slow down or stop altogether. Of course, the White House and U.S. Congress would continue to operate.
House Speaker John Boehner has said that Republicans are not seeking a government shutdown, but are viewing the current debate surrounding the stopgap spending bill as a way to launch a stronger offensive against the health care law. Republicans have long been opposed to "Obamacare," claiming that the the new law is flawed. Representative Steve Scalise stated during the House debate that
This law is unworkable. It's killing jobs in America. It's causing people to lose good healthcare they have today."
Republicans are also hoping to delay the implementation of the health care law for another year in exchange for raising the nation's borrowing limit.