Friday, December 13, 2013
By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
This image provided by CBS News shows Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaking with Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation" Sunday in Washington. The United States braced for a partial government shutdown Tuesday after the White House and congressional Democrats declared they would reject a bill approved by the Republican-led House to delay implementing President Barack Obama's health care reform.
And rumors Saturday night that GOP leaders might include a provision to deny lawmakers and staff aides their employer health care contributions from the government had cooled by Sunday afternoon. Lawmakers and congressional aides are required to purchase health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, but the administration has taken steps to make sure they continue to receive their 72 percent employer contribution.
Republicans argued that Reid should have convened the Senate on Sunday to act on the measure.
"If the Senate stalls until Monday afternoon instead of working today, it would be an act of breathtaking arrogance by the Senate Democratic leadership," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "They will be deliberately bringing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown."
In the event lawmakers blow the Monday deadline, about 800,000 workers would be forced off the job without pay. Some critical services such as patrolling the borders, inspecting meat and controlling air traffic would continue. Social Security benefits would be sent, and the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and poor would continue to pay doctors and hospitals.
The Senate was not scheduled to meet until midafternoon Monday, 10 hours before a shutdown would begin, and even some Republicans said privately they feared that Reid held the advantage in the fast-approaching end game.
Republicans argued that they had already made compromises; for instance, their latest measure would leave intact most parts of the health care law that have taken effect, including requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and to let families' plans cover children up to age 26. They also would allow insurers to deny contraception coverage based on religious or moral objections.
Tea party lawmakers in the House — egged on by Cruz — forced GOP leaders to abandon an earlier plan to deliver a "clean" stopgap spending bill to the Senate and move the fight to another must-do measure looming in mid-October: a bill to increase the government's borrowing cap to avert a market-rattling, first-ever default on U.S. obligations.
McCarthy appeared on "Fox News Sunday," while Cruz and Labrador were on NBC's "Meet the Press." Van Hollen appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation."