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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House votes to defund Obamacare, setting up cliffhanger



The U.S. House this morning passed a budget resolution that removes funding for Obamcare, setting up a confrontation with the Democrat-led Senate and raising prospects of a government shutdown.

The vote was 230-189, largely on party lines.

Sen. Marco Rubio, who has joined Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in calls to defund the law, quickly issued a statement:

“The House voted today to follow the will of the American people and the Senate should now follow suit. Americans are struggling in an uncertain economy and ObamaCare is making their lives harder. Instead of throwing more money at ObamaCare, or threatening to shut down the government, President Obama and his allies in Congress should work with Republicans to stop ObamaCare from ruining people’s lives, incomes, health plans and doctor relationships.” 

Rubio has employed an interesting rhetorical tactic. If Democrats and President Obama reject (and they will) the plan to defund the health care reform law, they are in favor of shutting down the government, not Republicans. But few Republicans outside the heated halls of Congress buy that logic. Jeb Bush said this week in Washington that it was "dicey" for the GOP to force a shutdown. Karl Rove echoed that.

Reaction from Florida House members: Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City: “I do not want to see a government shutdown. Today’s vote is a decisive step forward in our fight to ensure that the federal government is properly funded and that all Americans, including our military, seniors and the truly vulnerable among us, continue to receive the vital services they expect and deserve. We’ve also ensured that our nation’s credit rating will be protected, while moving one step closer to a permanent delay and dismantling of government-run health care.  It’s my hope that the Democrat-controlled Senate will now put politics aside and join the House in acting in the best interests of the American people.”

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach: “I stand with millions of Americans who are sick of the game-playing in Congress. It’s time for the House to come together in a reasonable way to avoid a government shutdown that could hurt our fragile economy and disrupt Social Security and veteran benefits."

Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge: “The Continuing Resolution not only fully defunds Obamacare, but it also keeps the government operating in the short-term, giving the House and Senate more time to complete a budget for the federal government. The health care law has been a drag on our economic recovery and its mandates have deprived many Americans of good job opportunities. The bill also makes sure that no one holds Social Security checks hostage while Congress and the Administration debate the future of Obamacare.

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee: “I’ve heard loud and clear from my constituents over the last month: they want us to keep the government open, defund Obamacare, and keep spending under control, and that’s what this bill does. I hope our colleagues in the Senate ensure that this bill gets a fair and open debate.

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland: "While I don’t like doing these stop-gap measures, I am glad that the government will remain funded, our military personnel will continue to receive their paychecks, and that Obamacare will be defunded."

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: “Republicans acted today to continue to cut researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, educate fewer students in Head Start, furlough mental health counselors at MacDill Air Force Base, stress the federal courts and law enforcement, and squeeze Meals on Wheels.  It is clear now that Republicans will not relent on the irrational sequester cuts despite continuing job losses. Even more dangerous is the broad economic damage House Republicans will inflict as they proceed on this course.  Instead of focusing on the priorities of the middle class and main street America, Speaker Boehner surrendered the gavel to Tea Party Republicans who want to shut down government in order score ideological points. .. Our neighbors and businesses cannot afford another GOP-manufactured crisis.  I urge my Republican colleagues to join Democrats in working to create jobs, reduce the deficit, and strengthen the middle class.”

[Last modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 2:05pm]


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