A vote on a bill to continue government spending after September 30 offered by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) scheduled for Thursday was abruptly cancelled when it was clear that it would fail. Called a “trick” by some Tea Party conservatives, “hocus-pocus” by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and “chicanery” by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Cantor’s bill clearly wouldn't draw the 218 votes necessary for passage. Especially since some 80 House members have signed a letter drafted by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) demanding that any bill offered defund major parts of ObamaCare outright, before the law takes effect on October 1.
Cantor’s bill linked a resolution that would defund ObamaCare with a bill that would keep the government running through the middle of December. The bill was designed so that the Senate would be forced to vote down the defunding of ObamaCare before voting for continued government spending. This was clearly an attempt to force those senators facing reelection in 2014 from states whose populace is opposed to ObamaCare to vote to keep the healthcare law alive, which could then be used as a hammer by Republicans in their attempt to regain control of the Senate.
It’s a risky move but it’s how sausage is made in Washington. Current funding for the government ends on September 30, and with the House scheduled to be in session for only five more working days before then, the clock is ticking and putting pressure on the GOP leadership to come up with something that Tea Party conservatives can live with. It’s going to be tight.
GOP leadership, perhaps best exemplified by long-term GOP standard bearer Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), is in a pickle: “I think it is going to be difficult if we can’t come to a consensus.… I don’t think anything is for sure right now.”
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