USA government shutdown possible if Democrats don't act better: Mulvaney

President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that the USA government "needs a good shutdown" this fall to fix a "mess" in the Senate, signaling on Twitter his displeasure with a bill to keep operations running. Passage in the House by a vote of 217 to 213 capped weeks of fits and starts for the GOP and represented an enormous victory for President Trump, who repeatedly pledged on the campaign trail a year ago to repeal and replace Obamacare but has struggled to secure legislative wins early in his presidency. He says ahead of the House vote, "we've all fought very hard to be able to do that".

The vote announcement indicates that the GOP has enough votes to pass the so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) and send the measure to the Senate for consideration.

The spending bill is set for a House vote on Wednesday, when it is likely to win widespread bi-partisan support, though a host of Republican conservatives will oppose the measure, calling it a missed opportunity.

"You will glow in the dark on this one", she warned.

But with his healthcare reform effort flagging, Trump has been unable to get a major piece of legislation through a Congress controlled by his own Republican Party, leaving him without a signature victory.

The certain outcome for the spending bill stood in contrast to the suspense shrouding the health care legislation, as the House is to leave Washington for an 11-day recess on Thursday. Republican leaders had spent several days scrambling to round up the votes.

Democrats stood firmly united against the health bill, which could come up for a vote as early as Thursday.

"This bill is far from flawless, but it's better than how we are spending our money today, better than how we were spending our money a year ago", Republican Senator Roy Blunt said on the Senate floor. "I bet you didn't".

If the GOP bill became law, congressional analysts estimate that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026, including 14 million by next year. If the airlines don't make changes, Congress may step in, lawmakers said. But hashing out the details on health care, Trump says, helps lay the groundwork for other legislative lifts, such as overhauling the tax code.

The measure, Senate Bill 616, would have allowed lawful gun owners with concealed carry permits to store their firearms with security in courthouses. That would mean that official Senate debate on the bill could not begin till June.

Relieved Republicans have pushed their prized health care bill through the House. The House passed the measure on Thursday.

But the move announced late Wednesday by GOP leaders also carries extreme political risk, as House Republicans prepare to endorse a bill that boots millions off the insurance rolls and may not even survive the Senate. The House passed the measure Wednesday on a big bipartisan vote, though 103 conservative Republicans opposed the bill.

Under current rules, 60 votes in the Senate are required to pass federal budget proposals but the Republicans hold just 52 seats there. The original proposal initially left numerous ACA's insurance regulations alone - with the goal of ensuring it would pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian - but not all of them.

House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz celebrated the killing of Steube's bill, characterizing the measure as risky and ill-advised. That might make it hard for Republican senators to pass the measure under a procedural maneuver known as "reconciliation", which is usually reserved for budget legislation. They argue that their plan will provide consumers with lower premiums and more choices, removing the unpopular mandates that require most Americans to carry insurance or face fines. And starting in a few years, Medicaid would end its half-century tradition as an entitlement program in which the government pays a certain share for each person who enrolls, switching to a "cap" with a fixed amount per person - a change that would lessen federal funding.

Any changes aimed at assuaging the concerns of moderates, however, could jeopardize the support of conservative members who want to keep the bill's costs down. Many senators consider the House bill too harsh and it's expected to undergo substantial changes.

  • Carolyn Briggs