The Senate voted 54-to-46 along party lines Monday to table – or basically kill – the House of Representatives’ measure that ties funding to keep the federal government open to delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year.
The action was the first volley Monday in what could be a high-stakes political ping pong match between the two chambers as the federal government faces a shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday if Congress fails to act.
The next move belongs to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. House Republicans were meeting behind closed-doors following the Senate Vote about what they intend to do in the coming hours.
Prior to the Senate voted, Senate Republicans floated the idea of a passing one-week continuing resolution to prevent government-salaried workers from being furloughed and to keep government agencies and services open.
“Despite the Democrats’ refusal to work with the House to solve the problem, Republicans are working to protect the troops, prevent a shutdown and find solutions to the difficulties caused by Senate Democrats’ delay,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Democrats appeared cool to the one-week idea Monday afternoon.
“You negotiate on this, they will up the ante on the debt-ceiling on the full-time CR,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “You cannot negotiate when you take hostages and extort. We’re happy to negotiate. There’s a budget. They can talk about spending for (Obamacare) in the budget. You don’t do it this way.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., offered McConnell faint praise over the one-week funding idea.
“I’m absolutely willing to give Sen. McConnell some credit for at least not being (Texas Republican Sen.) Ted Cruz,” she said.