Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 | 10:04 a.m.
WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives won’t vote until Friday on a bill to ax the Obamacare budget in exchange for keeping the rest of the federal government funded past Sept. 30.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is rolling his eyes at the effort and bemoaning it as wasted time.
“Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead — dead,” Reid said today. “They’re simply postponing the inevitable choice they must face.”
That choice, he said, is whether House Republicans care more about making yet another statement of their deep disdain for the Affordable Care Act or keeping the government from shutting down.
Congress has only 11 days left to pass a budget for fiscal 2014; without one, come Oct. 1, the federal government will have to shut down certain services and furlough most civilian employees until Congress gives the administration the authority to start spending.
In the last few years, Democrats and Republicans have approached this brink repeatedly. But since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, whenever the two parties have butted heads over Obamacare, it’s been the Republicans who have had to back down.
“Let me make it completely clear: Obamacare will not be touched with anything they’re doing,” Reid said. “The ball is their court: They should have no wind behind their backs that Obama’s going to change; he’s got a country to worry about.”
Also, the country will reach the limits of its borrowing authority just over a month after the start of the fiscal year, giving Republicans another opportunity to argue about cutting programs and spending, as they did during the last major debt ceiling fight in 2011.
Reid has said Democrats will not negotiate on the debt limit.
When asked why Republicans should believe him, given past experience, Reid offered no further reasoning but his own previous pledge.
“We’ll worry about the debt ceiling when that time comes,” Reid said. “We’re not going [to negotiate] and that’s very, very clear.”