House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t see a government shutdown on the horizon. At the same time, the Ohio Republican said the House will not pass the Senate’s stop-gap spending bill to keep the government running past the weekend–unless it includes a number of provisions favorable to his party.
The Senate is debating a House-passed bill that would keep the government running through Nov. 15 but defund President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The Democrats in the upper chamber are expected to remove from the bill the provision to defund Obamacare, which will be known as the “clean” spending bill, and then kick it back to the House.
“I do not see that happening,” Boehner said when asked if he’d accept the clean government funding bill.
“I’ve made it clear for months that we have no interest in seeing a government shutdown, but we’ve got to address the spending problems that we have in this town,” Boehner said on Thursday. When asked about what provisions the GOP would attach, Boehner said, “There will be options available to us. There will not be any speculation in what we will or not do until the Senate passes their bill.”
Aides told NBC News that to make the bill more enticing, they may try to add inclusions of a one year delay of the healthcare law, tax reform, approval of the Keystone Pipeline, repeal of some environmental regulations that curtail business development, tort reform and big domestic spending cuts.
Rank-and-file Republicans had mixed feelings on the debt ceiling plan following a meeting about the bill.
“It definitely has a lot of goodies in it, things that arguably would grow the economy and arguably generate more revenue. But still you have to address the spending problem,” said Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama.
When asked if had enough muster to pass, Brooks said “In my judgment, no.”
Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana said “I’m most happy about the one year delay of Obamacare…I think you’ll see that we will add something things, we’re going to continue to fight on the CR. And we did discuss contingency plans in case of a shutdown.”
It is unlikely that Democrats will just agree to those demands, suggesting that the Sept. 30 deadline may not be viable, and that a government shutdown is coming.
Still, when asked if he conceded a government shutdown was likely, Boehner insisted “I do not expect that to happen.”
The White House said in a statement that it backs the Senate’s “clean” spending bill.
President Obama, for his part, has lambasted GOPers for fear mongering about his healthcare act.
“You had a state representative somewhere say that it’s as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act,” said Obama, referring to New Hampshire state Lawmaker Bill O’Brien. “Think about that. Affordable health care is worse than a law that let slave owners get their runaway slaves back. I mean, these are quotes. I’m not making this stuff up.”
The commander-in-chief encouraged Americans to go to the White House website to look into the details of his plan for themselves.
“Make up your mind,” he said. “I promise you if you go on the website and it turns out you’re going to save a hundred, $200, $300 a month on you insurance–or you’ll be able to buy insurance for the first time–even if you didn’t vote for me, I”ll bet you’ll sign up for that health care plan.”