Latest House Plan Falls Apart

Posted October 15, 2013 at 6:21pm

Updated 7:09 p.m. | Yet another House GOP plan has gone kaput.

Conservatives didn’t like Republican leadership’s initial continuing resolution and debt limit proposal. So leadership amended it. But even after changes were made, conservatives appear to have once again derailed the bill.

The House Rules Committee announced Tuesday evening that it had postponed its 5:40 p.m. meeting on the revised debt limit and CR proposal.

A GOP leadership aide declined to throw in the towel on the House GOP leadership’s new plan. “No decision has been made at this time,” the aide said. “The elected leadership will meet soon.”

Close to an hour later, Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, confirmed it had been altogether canceled.

“We will be prepared tomorrow to make some decisions,” he said.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, presented a plan Tuesday morning that would have mirrored the emerging Senate deal, but would have also suspended the Obamacare medical device tax for two years, eliminated health care benefits for lawmakers and Cabinet officials, and scrapped a Senate provision to eliminate an Obamacare fee on reinsuring health plans.

Like the Senate plan, it would have funded the government until Jan. 15 and raised the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, according to lawmakers and aides.

But it didn’t have enough GOP support.

So Boehner and company tried again, this time by shortening the length of the CR to Dec. 15, bringing forward the entire Sen. David Vitter, R-La., amendment, which would eliminate health care subsidies for congressional and executive staff as well as members and Cabinet officials. The changes also would have taken away the medical devices tax suspension.

But it still seems to not be enough.

Heritage Action for America announced it was key voting against the bill, urging Republicans to vote “no” because the measure would do “absolutely nothing to help Americans who are negatively impacted by Obamacare.”

Many House Republicans appear to agree. And Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declared at the White House that no Democrats would vote for the bill either.

And so Boehner now has a few options: relentlessly whip the vote, amend the legislation again to make it more palatable to his conference or ditch the vote entirely and wait for the Senate.

Connor O’Brien and Emma Dumain contributed to this report.