Senate Takes First Step To Avoid Government Shutdown, Fund Obamacare

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The U.S. Senate invoked cloture (in other words, moved to quickly end debate) on the government spending bill which contains funding for Obamacare. The move puts a final end to Se. Ted Cruz’s continued push against the bill. He spent 21 hours speaking against it earlier this week.

obamacare government shutdown

Obamacare expected to clear the Senate

Invoking cloture enabled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to propose an amendment which strips the language that would defund Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act. That amendment will likely pass, thus preventing the government from shutting down.

However, this won’t necessarily prevent a government shutdown. House Speak John Boehner has said he probably won’t move the Senate’s version through the House without adding an amendment, which could stretch out the process even further, pushing past Monday night’s deadline and shutting down the government.

Next steps in the Senate

Business Insider reports that now that cloture has been invoked, there will be a procedural vote on a motion to waive the budget point of order. Then there will be a vote on Sen. Reid’s amendment.  A majority is needed in order to pass the amendment.

Then we will reach the final passage of the bill in the Senate, at which point it will go to the Republican-led House of Representatives, where the back and forth over this government spending bill will likely continue.

Will a government shutdown be averted?

According to The Wall Street Journal, today’s bill from the Senate will likely provide government funding for the first month and a half of the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. That includes funding for Obamacare, assuming the amendment proposed by Sen. Reid passes, as it is expected to do.

Meanwhile debate over the debt ceiling also continues. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if lawmakers don’t raise the debt ceiling, the government will stop being able to pay all of its bills late next month. Needless to say, a lot is riding on these next few days in Washington.

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