Senate strips budget resolution of Obamacare provision

Senate Democrats on Friday voted for a temporary spending bill that would fund the federal government until mid-December.

But the 55-44 vote on the “continuing resolution” doesn’t pull the nation back from the brink of a government shutdown next week.

That’s because the Senate stripped out a provision added to the resolution in the House that would defund the Affordable Care Act, a non-starter with Democrats and the White House.

All Senate Democrats -– including Connecticut’s senators — voted for the CR. All Republicans voted against it because it would not defund Obamacare.

Now the Senate-approved budget bill goes back to the House.

“What is so frightening is, the House of Representatives probably has no idea about what it is going to do, so there is no clear endgame, which is disastrous,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said.

The House is likely to  once again add a provision that would halt implementation of Obamacare and send the bill back to the Senate.

The Senate would once again strip out the Obamacare provision and any other onerous provision. Democrats want a “clean CR” that would fund the federal government for nearly three months at the current level.

So the continuing resolution is likely to bounce back between the House and Senate even as the clock ticks toward a  Monday night deadline when the federal government runs out of money.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said a shutdown would  have a disproportionate effect on Connecticut’s defense industry.

“Everybody gets affected, but in a state that is heavily reliant on defense spending, that will be where it hurts the most,” Murphy said. “You’ll have a bunch of civilians who will be furloughed, who won’t get paychecks … you’ll certainly have some problems with defense contracts if the furloughs were to last long. But it will suck millions and millions of dollars out of the economy even if it only lasts for a day or so.

Blumenthal said damage has already been done.

“The threat of a shutdown undermines, inhibits and undercuts jobs, economic growth, business investment because it undercuts uncertainty. It undermines the certainty that businesses need to go forward.”

There’s one idea floating around Capitol Hill that would avert the shutdown for a few days. That would be an agreement to fund the government at current levels for a week in the hopes Congress could reach an agreement.

But while Congress likes to “kick the can” down the road on tough decisions, even this short-term solution may not be agreed to.

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