WASHINGTON — With each compromise House Republicans tried on the continuing budget resolution — scaling back each time the degree to which Obamacare would be affected — Democrats refused to talk as the fiscal year drew to an end.
Last week, the Senate rejected the first CR containing a full Obamacare repeal.
As the Senate leisurely convened Monday afternoon, it took up the revised bill passed by the House on Saturday night to delay the implementation of Obamacare by a year and permanently repeal the medical device tax. The upper chamber tabled that on a 54-46 vote.
On Monday evening, the House came back with its Plan C: a yearlong delay of the individual mandate of Obamacare, attached to the CR.
“I talked to the president earlier tonight, ‘I’m not going to negotiate, I’m not going to negotiate, I’m not going to do this.’ Well, I would say to the president: this is not about me, and it’s not about Republicans here in Congress. It’s about fairness for the American people,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on the floor.
“So the bill before us is very simple. It funds the government and it says, ‘let’s treat our constituents fairly.’ No more mandate for the next year that you have to buy insurance that you can’t afford. No more mandate that members of Congress get some so-called exemption. Both, those are the only two issues here. All the Senate has to do is say yes and the government’s funded tomorrow,” he continued. “Let’s listen to our constituents and let’s treat them the way we would want to be treated.”
That 228-201 vote chipped away at Republican unity in the caucus, with 12 GOPs voting against the revised bill and nine Democrats crossing over to join the GOP.
Republicans voting against it were Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Joe Barton (Texas), Paul Broun (Ga.), Mario Diaz Balart (Fla.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Kay Granger (Texas), Peter King (N.Y.), Steve King (Iowa.), Tom Massie (Ky.) and Mike Rogers (Ala.).
The “no” votes came from conservatives who didn’t want to back away from blocking Obamacare, and Republicans — including Dent and Peter King — who wanted to pass a clean CR and fight about Obamacare fixes later. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued a statement before the vote: “I have repeatedly stated that I will not vote for a CR that funds Obamacare, and I trust House conservatives to continue to listen to the people and act to prevent the Obamacare train wreck.”
It took the Senate a matter of minutes to bring that version to the floor and vote on party lines, 54-46, to kill it.