As expected, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution measure on Friday to fund the government through December 15 — but strips all funding for Obamacare. Next, the Senate will reject it, and then the House will do this whole thing over.
The vote on the measure, announced by Speaker John Boehner this week following an extended and successful push by the conservative base, passed 230 to 189. Two Democrats voted for the bill; one Republican opposed. How each member voted is at the House clerk's website. The Democratic defectors were Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah. (Each is in a Republican-majority district.)
Boehner and other Republican leaders in the House were never keen on this plan. Roughly articulated, it is meant to force the Senate and president to either agree to defund the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) or let the government shut down. Boehner, recognizing that a shut down would hurt the party and wasn't tenable over the long term, seemingly didn't want to do this. But strong advocacy by Senate Republicans, especially Ted Cruz of Texas, created pressure that he couldn't ignore. So Boehner took the bait, at which point, as we've documented a number of times, Cruz got squishy. After arguing all summer that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hand should be forced, he followed Boehner's announcement by quickly saying that he didn't think Reid would change his mind.
Everyone — everyone — recognizes that the ostensible strategy of getting the president to sign away his signature piece of legislation will fail. For that reason, and because they are cranky with Cruz, House Republicans are trying to make that inevitable failure the Senate's fault. After the vote, they all gathered to address the press, standing behind a podium with the hashtag "#SenateMustAct." The Senate will act — it will remove the Obamacare provision and send the resolution back to the House. And there, the House Republicans will probably say, man, that Ted Cruz couldn't get it done, what a jerk, and then pass the measure.
Probably — but who knows. Who knows! The House Republicans didn't think they'd be here voting for this doomed measure even seven days ago. With ten days left until the government is forced to shut down, there's lot of time for new craziness to arise.
Photo: Boehner leads some people. (AP)