As the Clock Strikes Midnight, Will the U.S. Government Shut Down?

Reports are the Republican Leadership has been meeting this morning to see how to move forward if the Senate, as expected, rejects the House passed measure that would keep the government open until Dec. 15, but would also delay Obamacare for one year and repeal the medical-device tax. The federal government shuts down at midnight if the Senate and House cannot agree on a funding bill.

The House could pass a clean continuing resolution, or CR, with Democratic support. House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) would be compelled to find roughly 120 Republicans in favor of this approach, to ensure that the majority of the GOP conference is on board.

If the House Republicans decide it wants a fight, then Boehner could ping a continuing resolution back to the Senate with additional language to peel back the Affordable Care Act and possibly other policies that might ride alongside, including delaying the Obamacare individual mandate, repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board or sending the same bill they passed early Sunday morning back to the Senate.

One other option that has been discussed includes canceling health-insurance subsidies for some government employees, including members of Congress and their staff. But both parties have expressed resistance to this measure, mainly because low-paid aides would be forced to pay thousands of dollars more for their health care and it’s unlikely, this would appease the Conservatives.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would not accept any changes to health care policy as part of a CR.

House Republicans have the procedural ability to introduce legislation and bring it to the floor in the same day — authority that needs to be renewed Tuesday. So if there is some compromise agreement with Senate Democrats and the White House, the House could move quickly to pass it.