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House Vote Brings Government To The Verge Of A Shutdown
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House Vote Brings Government To The Verge Of A Shutdown



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Rachel Martin. Early this morning, the House of Representatives brought the country a giant step closer to a government shutdown. The Republican-controlled House approved a spending bill, but not one Senate Democrats or the president is likely to accept because it includes a one-year delay of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. As one Republican congressman tweeted: The House and Senate are like two locomotives barreling toward one another in slow motion. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The House bill does three things, which Republican Congressman Rob Woodall from Georgia laid out in a speech on the House floor.

REPRESENTATIVE ROB WOODALL: This is a bill to keep the government open.

KEITH: It's a temporary measure to keep government operations funded through the middle of December. In addition, it delays Obamacare for a year.

WOODALL: It doesn't ask to repeal it, Mr. Speaker. It asks to delay it for one year.

KEITH: And it repeals a tax on medical devices that is part of the health care law. Woodall says the tax is bad for patients and businesses.

WOODALL: It is killing jobs. It is destroying American leadership in this area.

KEITH: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement that the House vote was pointless since the Senate will reject both the device tax provision and the Obamacare delay. Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee protested the House plan on the floor.

REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE: Let us be very clear. Let us not be full of smoke and mirrors. Tonight, the Republican majority will vote to shut the government down.

KEITH: Those in the Republican majority are hoping to turn that argument on its head. John Culberson is a Texas Republican.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN CULBERSON: We're going to give a stark choice to the president of the United States and the Senate. Do you want to shut down the government or do you want to force onto the American people a 2,500-page bill that was forced through here so fast Speaker Pelosi said we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it?

KEITH: Asked what happens after the Senate inevitably rejects their version of the bill on Monday, a number of House Republicans said they didn't have the next play planned out. Last night, the House also passed a measure that would ensure the troops continue to get paid in the event of a shutdown. Tamara Keith, NPR News, the Capitol.

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