First U.S. shutdown in 17 years unavoidable with no talks

Shutdown Triggers

The other two options lead to a shutdown. Boehner could add health-care law provisions to the spending bill and ask the Senate to go along, which Senate Democratic leaders have said they’d reject, or do nothing and wait for the political fallout.

Mike Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said the Republican leader is unlikely to address how the House will proceed next until after Senate votes later today.

The U.S. has had 17 funding gaps from 1977 to 1996, based on a Congressional Research Service analysis. In 1995 and 1996, interruptions lasted from Nov. 14 to Nov. 19 and from Dec. 16 to Jan. 6, as Republicans led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich clashed over the budget with President Bill Clinton.

Health Law

The latest House plan leaves intact some parts of the health-care law already in effect, such as requirements that insurers cover pre-existing conditions and that family plans cover children to age 26. The bill would let insurers deny abortion coverage based on religious or moral objections.

The House measure would delay a requirement for people to purchase coverage or face a penalty, and postpone the creation of marketplaces -- which are supposed to start functioning Oct. 1 -- where people could shop for coverage from private insurers. Further, it would repeal the 2.3% medical device tax, which would increase the U.S. deficit by about $29 billion during the next decade.

Republicans and Democrats began bracing for a shutdown by attempting to affix blame on the other side. It’s at least the fourth time in the past three years that lawmakers have taken a budget battle to the brink of a fiscal crisis, each time averting the worst-case scenario just before or after the deadline.

“This has been the Congress of chronic chaos since day one, and this is just another episode,” said Representative Steve Israel, a New York Democrat.

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