WASHINGTON — House GOP leaders are looking to reverse course and agree to tea party demands to use a vote this week on a temporary government funding bill to block implementation of President Barack Obama's health care law.
A GOP aide says the latest strategy, to be offered to rank-and-file Republicans at a closed-door meeting today, would be to link a "defund Obamacare" provision to the funding bill and send it to the Senate, the Associated Press reported. The aide required anonymity to discuss the strategy because it has not been announced.
GOP aides said no final decision has been made — "or will be made, until House Republican members meet and talk tomorrow," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The Senate would likely strip out the health care provision and send it to the House, raising the possibility of a confrontation that could lead to a partial government shutdown after the Sept. 30 end of the budget year.
An impasse would leave the government without funding authority to pay its workers, including the military, or enter into new contracts until a bill is passed. But essential programs like the military, air-traffic control, food inspection, and disaster relief and firefighting would continue to function since they're related to protecting life and property. And so-called mandatory programs like Social Security and Medicare, which are funded as if on autopilot, would also continue.
National parks would close, most passport applications could not be processed, and the space program would mostly be put on hold, among other hardships.