WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House of Representatives voted in the early hours of Sunday to pass a short-term government funding bill proposed by Republican leaders to fund the federal government's operations through Dec. 15 and delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, for one year.
The bill passed by the lower chamber of Congress contained a one-year delay in the implementation of Obamacare, a repeal of the medical device tax in the ACA to fund Obamacare and a measure ensuring service members to get paid in the event of a government shutdown.
The bill increased the prospect of a partial federal government shutdown on Tuesday, as U.S. President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats had vowed to reject any bill delaying or defunding Obama's signature healthcare law passed in 2010.
The 2.3 percent medical device tax, which took effect in January, is levied on manufacturers and importers for sales of medical devices in the nation to fund the implementation of Obamacare.
After the House vote, the road to avoid the first government shutdown since 1996 has become tougher. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, insisted the Senate reject any bill derailing Obamacare. The White House also voiced its opposition.
"Today Republicans in the House of Representatives moved to shut down the government. Congress has two jobs to do: pass budgets and pay the bills it has racked up," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement on Saturday.
"Republicans in Congress had the opportunity to pass a routine, simple continuing resolution that keeps the government running for a few more weeks. But instead, Republicans decided they would rather make an ideological point by demanding the sabotage of the health care law," noted Carney.
"Republicans have tried and failed to defund or delay the health care law more than 40 times, and they know this demand is reckless and irresponsible. The President has shown that he is willing to improve the health care law and meet Republicans more than halfway to deal with our fiscal challenges, but he will not do so under threats of a government shutdown that will hurt our economy," Carney added.
"My message to Congress is this: Do not shut down the government. Do not shut down the economy. Pass a budget on time. Pay our bills on time. Refocus on the everyday concerns of the American people," Obama said at a White House press conference on Friday.
The Senate is not scheduled to be in session until Monday, the last day for negotiations. Although a partial federal government shutdown is looming, the deadlocked Congress has not found a clear path to avert the furloughs of a large number of nonessential government employees.
U.S. Senate Friday passed a continuing resolution, or CR, to fund the federal government's operations from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15, which stripped out a controversial provision that would defund Obamacare that was contained in a previous temporary government funding bill passed by the House on Sept. 20.
Conservative Republican lawmakers aimed at using the must-pass government funding bill as a vehicle to kill or weaken Obamacare.
A last-minute temporary stopgap bill funding the government for one or two weeks is still possible to emerge, giving both parties more time to negotiate. However, no high-level negotiations seemed to be under way between Democrats and Republicans.
U.S. Senate passes bill to fund govt through Nov. 15
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senate on Friday voted to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government's operations from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15 to avert a shutdown.
The bill strips out a controversial provision that would defund President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The bill passed the Democrats-controlled upper chamber of Congress by 54-44 along party lines. Full story
Obama urges House Republican lawmakers to approve spending bill
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday urged Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives to quickly approve a spending bill passed by Senate to avert a government shutdown. Full Story