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.

Republican leaders in both chambers don't want a shutdown now over the spending issue, for political and negotiating reasons.

They fear the optics of Republicans being blamed for a shutdown, and also want to exert as much leverage as possible for the GOP's agenda at the upcoming deadline to raise the federal debt limit.

The debt ceiling

The shutdown showdown comes a few weeks before another fiscal deadline -- the need to raise the nation's debt ceiling so the government can pay all its bills.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said last week the limit on how much the government can borrow must be increased by October 17 or the nation could be technically in default.

Analysts warn of severe economic impact from any doubt cast over whether the U.S. would meet its debt obligations. A similar bout of congressional brinksmanship over the debt ceiling in 2011 led to the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

Boehner faces the same rift in his caucus over the debt ceiling issue, with tea party conservatives pushing to undermine Obamacare and fulfill other Republican priorities in return for what Obama calls the responsibility of Congress to make sure America can pay its bills.

On Thursday, Boehner had to delay introducing a GOP debt ceiling plan after conservatives complained the proposed package failed to include enough budget cuts and significant changes to entitlement programs.

The initial proposal by House GOP leaders, which would raise the debt ceiling for a year, included a one-year delay of Obamacare, provisions to roll back regulations on businesses, tax reforms and approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

CNN's David Simpson, Jim Acosta, Z. Byron Wolf, Lisa Desjardins, Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

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