Shutdown Over: House and Senate Easily Pass Reid-McConnell Deal
UPDATE: House passes compromise 285-144 with the backing of 87 Republicans.
October 16, 2013 - 5:29 pm
Cruz said he had a single standard for supporting a deal – “Does it provide meaningful relief for the millions of Americans who are being harmed by Obamacare?’’
“The answer is no,’’ he said, adding that Congress has “decided to ignore their pain and suffering.’’
Rubio, another lawmaker with ties to the conservative Tea Party movement, likewise said he would oppose the compromise because it fails to get federal spending under control.
“I cannot support this deal because it postpones any significant action on pro-growth and spending reforms and does nothing to provide working class Americans even one shred of relief from ObamaCare’s harmful effects,’’ he said. “Until we tackle the real threats to the American Dream, we are going to continue finding ourselves in these kinds of messes. America is better than this, and the American people deserve better.”
Feelings were particularly raw on the House side where Republicans spearheaded the effort to draw concessions from President Obama and Senate Democrats.
Obama drew a line early in the debate, insisting that he would not negotiate terms while the government was closed and would not engage in talks in any instance over the debt ceiling, arguing that the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury was at stake if the nation crossed over the debt ceiling and couldn’t keep its commitment.
The lower chamber, led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), ignored White House warnings and moved ahead in demanding concessions, first insisting that Obamacare be defunded, then shifting ground to delay its implementation for a year. When those requests went unmet, and the federal government was forced to close its doors and the debt ceiling deadline loomed, the GOP leadership navigated yet another course, this one seeking additional spending cuts.
But Obama and Reid remained unmoved, backed by polling that showed the public, by a significant margin, blaming Republicans for the ongoing imbroglio. Finally, with the government bumping up against the debt ceiling, McConnell and Reid stepped in to negotiate a solution. Even that was delayed when the House, at Boehner’s insistence, attempted to take one more stab at an agreement – which failed once again.
Throughout the debate, Boehner sought a resolution that could pass with the support of House Republicans, a divided group with Tea Party lawmakers holding greater sway than their numbers would indicate, and Senate Democrats. That effort failed.
Boehner met with the House Republican caucus Wednesday afternoon and made it clear he would permit the Senate compromise to come to the floor for a vote – something he avoided doing with previous upper chamber efforts to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. He further urged lawmakers to support the compromise.
“The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president of the United States to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country’s debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare,’’ Boehner said. “That fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again on the American people and undo the spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act without replacing them with better spending cuts.’’
Boehner said the effort to “stop the train wreck that is the president’s healthcare law’’ will continue.
“We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law’s massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people,’’ Boehner said.
Reid noted that the legislation instructs House and Senate leaders to appoint conferees to a budget conference committee, an initiative that thus far has eluded the grasp of the 113th Congress. It was agreed to, Reid said, “in order to assure Congress continues the work of setting this country on a path to fiscal sustainability.’’
The conference, Reid said, “is the appropriate place to discuss our differing views of the best way to chart a course for economic growth.”