The Senate on Friday passed a so-called "clean" continuing resolution, a bill that keeps the government funded through Nov. 15 and averts a government shutdown.
Now it goes back to the House of Representatives. What happens next will likely determine whether the government will shut down on Oct. 1.
The key amendment to the Senate's continuing resolution was one that strips language defunding Obamacare, a strategy that has been advocated furiously throughout the week (and the past few months) by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
House Speaker John Boehner and leadership now have a few options, according to House and Senate aides:
- Boehner could bring the Senate's version of the bill to the House floor, and rely on Democratic votes to pass it. This would avert a shutdown. This is also not likely, given that Boehner said Thursday he doesn't "see that happening." The move would also likely cause a revolt from House conservatives, and it could threaten Boehner's speakership.
- The House could add some kind of language on Obamacare — perhaps a one-year delay, or perhaps, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested Friday, language proposed by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that bars lawmakers, President Barack Obama, and administration members from receiving federal subsidies for health insurance. This move would look to satisfy House conservatives looking to do something about Obamacare. But depending on the specifics of what's offered, Boehner would likely face defections from both the left and right. It would also likely cause another round of ping-pong between the House and Senate, and a government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he won't accept anything that touches Obamacare.
- The House could attempt to punt the government-funding debate slightly down the road — one- or two-week extensions have been discussed. But it's not clear if there would be enough support for this. And it has the potential to cause a number of different problems, however, as it would push back the government-funding even closer to the debt-ceiling debate.
"We’re reviewing our options, and will discuss them with Members tomorrow," said Michael Steel, an aide to Boehner.
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