WASHINGTON (AP) — The GOP-controlled House is cruising toward a vote to gut President Barack Obama's health care plan as part of a temporary funding bill to prevent a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1.
While raising the possibility of a government closure, the latest GOP plan is actually aimed at avoiding one. GOP leaders are looking to shift the fight over health care to even more important legislation required to prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations.
Even top advocates of the strategy to defund what they call "Obamacare" by attaching it to a stopgap government funding bill acknowledge it has no future in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Senate Democrats have the votes to strip off the health care provision and kick the stopgap measure right back to the House.
Republicans in the House spent Wednesday talking about how hard they would fight to derail Obamacare on the eve of its implementation and weren't conceding that their Senate rivals would undo their handiwork. But a key force in the tea party drive against Obamacare conceded the point even before the fight officially began, but urged the House to force a government shutdown rather than retreat.
"Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so," said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground and continue to listen to the American people."
A more likely outcome would be that the House would vote to pass a funding bill stripped of the health care provision and send it to Obama to avert a shutdown. Top GOP leaders in the House and Senate made it clear they have no appetite for a shutdown showdown.