The House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation to fund federal agencies from October 1 to December 15 while also derailing the healthcare law known as "Obamacare," ignoring warnings from Democrats that they will kill the Republican initiative.
In a partisan vote of 230-189, the Republican-controlled House sent the measure to the Senate where Democrats hold a majority. They will try to delete the Obamacare provision and send the spending bill back to the House for passage by September 30 in order to prevent government shutdowns the following day.
House Republicans have now voted 42 times over the past few years to kill or significantly alter President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, which aim to provide medical insurance for millions of Americans. Each time, the Senate has ignored the work of Republicans in the House.
But this time, they have attached the measure to a must-do bill that funds many government agencies in the fiscal year starting October 1. If the House and Senate fail to resolve their differences by then, these agencies would have to shut down until the legislative dispute is resolved.
The Senate is expected to debate the bill next week, which would maintain strict, across-the-board spending cuts that were laid out as part of a 2011 deficit-reduction law.
Besides the need to quickly approve the spending measure, Congress also is fighting over separate legislation to raise the limit on U.S. borrowing authority.
Lawmakers are staring down a floating deadline of sometime in October or early November to either pass a measure or hurl the U.S. government into its first credit default.