Print options

September 30, 2013

Senate Rejects, House Passes Spending Bill Delaying Obamacare

by VOA News

A U.S. government shutdown now appears certain, as the two branches of Congress have failed to agree on a single spending bill and President Barack Obama's signature health care program.

Late Monday, the Republican-led House of Representatives approved another spending bill that would delay "Obamacare." The Democratic-controlled Senate rejected it minutes later. It was the same scenario played out earlier in the day.

Their stalemate means the U.S. government will start shutting down all but essential services beginning at midnight Monday.

Obama made last-minute appeals to House and Senate leaders, imploring Congress to do its job and pass a budget on time and let the government pay its bills.

Earlier, the president said shutting down the government is the height of irresponsibility and throws a wrench into the gears of a recovering economy.

He accused House Republicans who want to defund his health care program of appealing to the right-wing Tea Party faction and re-fighting the 2012 presidential election.

The president said the entire country would feel the effects of a government shutdown -- not just federal employees who would not get paid, but citizens who rely on sometimes life-saving government services.

Obama stressed that his health care program is the law of the land -- passed by Congress, approved by voters, and upheld by the Supreme Court. He said the law will be implemented Tuesday no matter what Congress does.

He rejected proposals to postpone Obamacare, saying it would lead to another fight just a few months from now.

Democrats say the health care law gives low-income families and people without health insurance the chance to buy a low-cost, federally subsidized policy to prevent financial ruin in case of serious illness.

Republicans say the program is confusing and not ready. They also say the law hurts the economy by imposing more taxes and by forcing small businesses to provide coverage for their employees.