Defiant House delays Obamacare; government shutdown looms

By Tom Cohen, Holly Yan, and Martina Stewart | 9/29/2013, 1:16 p.m.
Less than 48 hours before a shutdown of the federal government would begin, House Republican leaders remained defiant in their ...
The White House says Obama would veto the amended House plan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Less than 48 hours before a shutdown of the federal government would begin, House Republican leaders remained defiant in their effort to chip away at Obamacare -- with one member of the House GOP leadership insisting the House will continue its effort to undermine the health care law and another faulting the Democratically controlled Senate for not working on Sunday.

In a move that makes a shutdown appear very likely, House Republicans approved a spending plan early Sunday morning that would delay Obamacare for a year and repeal its tax on medical devices.

The temporary budget resolution now goes back to the Senate, where Democrats have consistently said any changes to President Barack Obama's signature health care law would be a deal-killer.

On top of that, Obama has already issued a veto threat.

If Washington can't reach a deal, a government shutdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

A Senate Democratic source told CNN on Saturday there were no plans for the Senate to meet before Monday -- the day the current fiscal year ends.

Congress could avert a shutdown by passing a temporary spending measure while the two chambers work out their differences.

House GOP leadership defiant

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said Sunday that if the Senate rejects the latest House bill, House Republicans will send the Senate yet another bill that both funds the government and contains provisions regarding Obamacare.

"I think the House will get back together -- in enough time -- send another provision, not to shut the government down, but to fund it," McCarthy said on "Fox News Sunday," "and it will have other options in there (about Obamacare) for the Senate to look at again."

"We are not shutting the government down," McCarthy insisted when asked whether he was willing to risk the first shutdown of the federal government since 1996. "While the president was out golfing (Saturday) and the senators went home, we were here working til 1 a.m. to make sure we didn't shut the government down, that we put a funding bill across."

Asked whether the House would consider passing a funding bill without any provisions regarding Obamacare and with votes from House Democrats, McCarthy would not commit to that course of action and, instead, said again that the next bill the House passes will address Obamacare in some way.

McCarthy did, however, leave open the possibility of a stopgap funding measure that would fund the federal government for a few days in order to avoid a shutdown.

"We will not shut the government down," McCarthy said, "If we have to negotiate a little longer, we will continue to negotiate."

"We do not want to shut the government down," McCarthy added.

McCarthy's effort to highlight House GOP efforts to avoid a shutdown by working late into the night Saturday was echoed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairwoman of the House GOP Conference.

"We were there almost till midnight last night, working on the bill, passing the bill, got even some Democrat support in the House, and yet the Senate won't even come back today," McMorris Rodgers said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."