Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., may have pronounced the House continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare "dead on arrival in the Senate," but, unfortunately for conservatives who want to use the CR as a vehicle for defunding Obamacare, everything in the Senate, even summary executions, take time.
Republican leadership pre-surrenders
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, both signaled they would not stand with Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, instead announcing that they would vote with Democrats to allow Reid to proceed to his amendment restoring Obamacare funding to the House CR.
It was always doubtful whether or not Cruz and Lee could keep all 44 Republicans firm against putting the Obamacare funding back in the CR. Moderate GOP senators like Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., were always likely to side with Democrats.
But the early surrender from leadership, before a single vote was taken, was surprising.
The clock is ticking
But even though the ultimate outcome is a foregone conclusion, it still takes time for the Senate to move procedurally. Reid first has to win a vote to begin debate on the bill, and that will not happen till Wednesday.
Next, Reid has to file a cloture motion to end debate, and that motion has to take two days to ripen. The cloture vote will follow sometime on Saturday, and only then can Reid offer his amendment adding Obamacare funding back to the CR. That means final passage won't happen until Sunday.
What will the House do?
If Reid sticks to this schedule, then the House will have less than 48 hours to either pass the new Senate CR, with Obamacare funding back in the measure, or shutdown the federal government.
Early indications are that House leadership will pass the Senate bill and move to the debt limit debate, which is where House leadership always wanted to fight Obamacare anyway.
The Washington Examiner's David Drucker reports that House leaders will unveil legislation Wednesday that raises the debt limit. Reportedly, it will include a full year's delay in implementing Obamacare, as well as an assortment of other grab bag options (like approving the Keystone pipeline), that Obama can choose from, in exchange for raising the debt limit.
"There’s more leverage on the debt ceiling," Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who is also chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told the Washington Examiner.
So the fight to defund Obamacare through the CR is nearing an end, but the fight to delay Obamacare through the debt limit is just beginning.
From The Washington Examiner
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