House Republicans are expecting a conference meeting today or tomorrow to chart their path forward on a government-funding bill and the upcoming debt-ceiling fight, after a debt-ceiling proposal unveiled yesterday by leadership ran into unexpected resistance from the party’s right flank.
A leading plan for the continuing-resolution bill (CR), which is expected to pass the Senate today after language defending Obamacare has been stripped out, is to put back a relatively small provision targeting unpopular parts of the health-care law.
The provisions under consideration to repeal in the bill include the medical-device tax, the individual mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and a special subsidy for members of Congress and their staffs to purchase health care on the exchange markets.
Senior GOP lawmakers believe including such a provision, given popular opinion on each of those issues, would likely force Senate majority leader Harry Reid to simply pass the bill. (For example, around 80 percent of the Senate has voted in a non-binding resolution to repeal the medical-device tax.)
However, a contingent on the right is pushing for holding firm with the original push to target the entirety of Obamacare.
“I think there’s still a number of us who believe we need to do something big and bold for the American people,” said Representative David Schweikert of Arizona, adding that he considers a one-year delay of Obamacare sufficiently ambitious.
With separate factions emerging over how to proceed, the conference meeting will be one of the most important and least predictable such meetings for House Republicans since a retreat they held in Williamsburg, Va., in January.
Conservatives are particularly concerned with stopping Obamacare before the exchange markets open October 1, next Tuesday.