Late Saturday night, after a possibly drunken vote, the House did everything its power to assure the government will shutdown for the first time in seventeen years by approving a one year delay on Obamacare and a medical device tax repeal in their government funding bill.
Shortly after midnight, the House voted on its doomed plan to avert a government shutdown that was cooked up during a set of rare Saturday afternoon meetings. The House voted 248-174 to repeal the medical device tax, then voted 231-192 to delay Obamacare by a year, and then unanimously approved another bill that would continue pay to military personnel in the event of a shutdown. That bill was basically an acknowledgement from the House that, yes, we are headed over the shutdown cliff. "This is a win-win all the way around," Republican Rep. Matt Salmon told reporters last night.
The countdown is on, per The New York Times:
The House’s votes early Sunday all but assured that large parts of the government would be shuttered as of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. More than 800,000 federal workers deemed nonessential faced furloughs; millions more could be working without paychecks.
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Though we knew that already. Senate leader Harry Reid already told Republicans their plan will be dead in the water once it hits the Senate on Sunday, if members are called in early, or Monday. "Today's vote by House Republicans is pointless," he said, before the House had voted.
This sets up a slim window of a couple hours on Monday when the House and Senate could work to avoid a shutdown, if they do so with breakneck efficiency. Please, try and hold your laughter. This Congress is neckbreakingly inefficient, after all. Politico outlines how this might work:
That would leave the House leadership with a brief window to avoid a shutdown. If there’s a broad public outcry or groundswell to avoid a shutdown — which House GOP lawmakers and aides see as unlikely — Boehner and his top lieutenants still have the option to pass a government funding bill without the Obamacare language. However, they would need to turn to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and the Democrats to do so, and there didn’t appear to be any movement in that direction over weekend.
"This is an astoundingly irresponsible way to govern," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opined when he heard about what was happening in Washington. "If this continues, we will have a country that is ungovernable."
Hagel may be on to something, too. There may be no law that explicitly prohibits it, but governing under the influence, especially given the stakes, is certainly not a great idea. And yet Politico's Ginger Gibson said she could smell the booze wafting off some House members last night.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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