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Battle Lines Harden as Boehner Warns House GOP May Block Spending Bill

September 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
While the Senate headed toward a vote to remove a provision that defunds the Affordable Care Act from a federal spending bill, House Majority Leader John Boehner quashed the notion that Republicans would back such a stopgap measure. Congressional correspondent Kwame Holman reports on efforts to stave off a shutdown.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Our lead story tonight: Neither side gave ground in Washington’s war over preventing a government shutdown next week. The Senate worked on a bill to fund government operations, while Republicans in the House kept demanding an end to funding for President Obama’s health care reform law.

NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman begins our coverage.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio: I do not see that happening.

KWAME HOLMAN: Speaker John Boehner immediately quashed any notion House Republicans would accept a stopgap spending bill from the Democratic-controlled Senate that simply removes a provision defunding the health care law. Boehner wouldn’t lay out Republican demands, but he did insist again they want to keep the government running.

JOHN BOEHNER: I have made it clear now for months and months and months we have no interest in seeing a government shut down. But we have got to address the spending problems that we have in this town. And so there will be options available to us.

KWAME HOLMAN: In the Senate, Democratic Leader Harry Reid said House Republicans are unsure what to do.

SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: If anyone here thinks the Republicans in the House have a workable plan to avert a shutdown on Monday, tell me about it. I get all kinds of reports from them we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. So, we will have to see what they decide to do, because, right now, they don’t know.

KWAME HOLMAN: The Senate headed toward a vote tomorrow to strip out the defund Obamacare provision. Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Democrats to break with their party on the issue.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky.: So, this law is a mess. It needs to go. So I hope some of our Democratic friends who voted for this law will look themselves in the mirror and think, truly think, about whether protecting the president’s pride is really more important than helping the American people.

KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, House Republicans readied a separate proposal that would raise the nation’s debt limit, but they also attached a one-year delay of the health care law.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, Maryland!

KWAME HOLMAN: President Obama denounced that strategy during an event in Largo, Md.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The entire world looks to us to make sure that the world economy is stable. You don’t mess with that.

You don’t mess with that.

And that’s why I will not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

KWAME HOLMAN: The immediate focus, though, is staving off a government shutdown. Senate leaders said this evening the stopgap spending bill is expected to go to final passage tomorrow, leaving the next move up to the House.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In another development, the Obama administration announced new delays in opening health care exchanges to the uninsured next Tuesday. It said small businesses and a Latino enrollment service will not be able to enroll online for several weeks. We’ll have more on the spending fight and Obamacare later.