A House Republican leader said Sunday the chamber has several last-minute options to avoid a government shutdown should the Senate reject a temporary spending bill the House passed early Sunday morning that includes a one-year delay for ObamaCare.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy stuck with House leadership’s insistence that its proposal can indeed pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate, but acknowledged having an alternative plan.
“You assume they won’t vote for it. Let’s have that debate,” the California Republican told “Fox News Sunday.” But “we have other options for the Senate to look at.”
The government would technically run out of money Monday night should Congress fail to pass a temporary spending bill, resulting in a partial government shutdown that would begin with hundreds of thousands of government workers likely being sent home from work without pay.
The House proposal passed early Sunday morning includes two amendments to a spending bill passed Friday by the Senate. One delays ObamaCare for a year and the other repeals the law’s medical device tax. The lower chamber also passed a bill to pay the military on time should a government shutdown occur.
Just hours after House Republicans announced their plan Saturday afternoon, the White House vowed President Obama would veto it. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made clear it was unacceptable.
“To be absolutely clear, the Senate will reject both the one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of the medical device tax," Reid said. "After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one."
Earlier this month, the Senate rejected a House spending bill to defund ObamaCare, despite a filibuster-style effort by Tea Party-backed, Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.
McCarthy declined to tell Fox News whether one of the proposals would be passing a so-called “clean” spending bill, or continuing resolution, which would keep open the government for a few days until Congress agrees on a longer-term plan. But he insisted the House will not be responsible for a shutdown and that it will offer a proposal with Democratic support.
“We are not shutting the government down,” he said. “While the president was out playing golf [Saturday], we were here until 1 a.m. We will pass a bill that reflects this House. … I think they’ll be additions that Democrats can support.”
Right now, the House bill covers government spending through Dec. 15, while the Senate bill goes through Nov. 15.