Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

Senate Republicans will meet Monday evening to discuss plans to pass an ObamaCare repeal package later this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is convening the meeting to walk through the special budgetary process known as reconciliation, which will allow Republicans to pass the package with a simple-majority vote.Controversial legislation usually must overcome a 60-vote threshold.

But McConnell may not even have 51 votes because several GOP moderates don’t like an added provision defunding Planned Parenthood — and several conservatives think the core bill doesn’t go far enough to repeal ObamaCare.

“We’re regrouping with the expectation that we're moving this week on it,” said a Senate GOP aide, who described the meeting as, “a final get-together to find out where we are so we can move with ObamaCare repeal.”

If all goes well at the special meeting, scheduled after a 5:30 p.m. vote, the Senate is likely to vote Wednesday on a motion to proceed to the package.

That vote would be followed by 20 hours of debate and then a succession of votes on amendments and final passage — a so-called vote-a-rama —on Thursday.

And it'll get vetoed...if it even passes, which it very well may not.  Over in the House, where a government shutdown looms in less than two weeks, who knows what will be added to must-pass budget legislation...

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday predicted that a fierce fight over Planned Parenthood funding would not lead to a government shutdown next month.

For months, conservatives in his conference have been threatening to attach language to an omnibus funding bill that would defund the healthcare provider, a move sure to lead to a confrontation with President Obama and Democrats.But McCarthy suggested that Congress’s focus has shifted from Planned Parenthood to national security in the wake of the deadly Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

“I do not hear people shutting the government down over it right now,” McCarthy told reporters when asked about efforts to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. “I think security is becoming the top issue, especially [in] the last two weeks.”

McCarthy, who controls the floor schedule, said he expects the House to pass the omnibus spending bill by Dec. 11, when money for the federal government is scheduled to run out. But he also noted that Congress is supposed to be in session through Dec. 18, giving lawmakers an extra week to pass a spending bill before leaving town for the holidays.

While he tamped down talk of a shutdown, McCarthy said there would be no shortage of votes on policy amendments to the spending bill, though he declined to identify what those riders might be.

“For someone to say there’s not going to be riders ... how do you write a bill that’s not a continuing resolution that doesn’t have riders?” McCarthy asked. “I think that is just political banter that the minority party wants to play.

So get ready, folks.  The odds of a "clean" bill are nil and odds of a shutdown remain pretty high.  Remember, it took John Boehner resigning in failure from Congress to buy just a couple of months.

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