KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Senate GOP Leader Poised To Block Cruz’ Defunding Strategy

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he won't support the pledge made by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to use parliamentary procedures as he tries to stop Democrats from stripping a provision cutting money from the health law.

The New York Times: Senate Democratic Leader Sets Stage For Budget Showdown
The Senate's Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, delivered a broadside this week to advocates of the House plan to tie future government financing to the gutting of President Obama’s health care law, starting the clock on a showdown that could be decided on the eve of the potential government shutdown next Tuesday (Weisman, 9/24).

The Associated Press: McConnell Won't Support Cruz On Senate Test Vote
In a break with tea party-aligned Senate conservatives, Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday he will not vote to block legislation aimed at preventing a partial government shutdown, even though Democrats intend to rewrite it to restore funds needed to keep the nation's three-year-old health care law in existence. Referring to a bill the House passed last week, McConnell’s spokesman said the Kentucky lawmaker supports the measure "and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny" (Espo, 9/23).

The Wall Street Journal: McConnell Won't Back Cruz On Health-Law Strategy
A push by Senate conservatives to eliminate funding for the new federal health-care law suffered a setback Monday, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wouldn't support their strategy when legislation comes before the chamber this week. The announcement by Mr. McConnell (R., Ky.) put him at odds with Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and other conservatives allied with the tea-party movement. They have promised to use parliamentary tactics to support legislation that links funding for federal agencies with the conservative rallying cry of "Defund Obamacare" (Hook, 9/23).

The Hill: McConnell Splits With Cruz On ObamaCare Defunding Tactic
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Monday broke with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and said he will oppose a filibuster of House legislation defunding ObamaCare. McConnell said he will not block the bill from coming to a final vote because it includes language to strip funding from President Obama's signature healthcare law while keeping current government funding levels in place (Bolton, 9/23).

Roll Call: Senate GOP Prepares To Shoot Down Cruz's Obamacare Strategy
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and many of his rank and file are poised to cast votes this week that will effectively rebuke Sen. Ted Cruz's effort to filibuster a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government funded past Sept. 30. Cruz has been calling on fellow Republicans to block the House-passed stopgap spending bill that defunds the president’s 2010 health care law because he sees the vote as a way to prevent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., from stripping out the Obamacare funding blockade (Lesniewski, 9/23).

Los Angeles Times: Much Theater, Little Action As Congress Ponders Government Shutdown
This latest round of brinkmanship, led by tea party Republicans trying to block President Obama's Affordable Care Act, appears to be on that same track. By Monday afternoon, the tea party effort appeared to be losing ground among Senate Republicans, but the schedule showed no sign of speeding up. The tea party conservatives have vowed to block any effort to provide money for federal agencies after the end of the current budget year unless Obama agrees to a measure that would stop his signature healthcare law from going into effect. Obama has rejected that idea (Mascaro, 9/23).

The Washington Post: Shutdown Looming, Senate Begins Debating Spending Measure
The Senate’s top two Republicans announced Monday that they will not support a conservative revolt in the GOP ranks that seeks to dismantle President Obama’s 2010 health-care law. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and his deputy, John Cornyn (Tex.), said they will not join a band of senators attempting a week-long assault on the legislation. The announcement was a setback for Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who plan to use whatever limited Senate procedural leverage is available to them to thwart funding for the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare (O'Keefe, 9/23).

Meanwhile -

Politico: David Vitter Pushing Ban On Subsidies
A testy debate over whether lawmakers and Capitol Hill staff should receive federal subsidies for their health insurance under Obamacare is coming right back to the Senate. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) plans to file an amendment to House-passed spending bill now under consideration by the Senate that would that require lawmakers, the president and administration appointees no longer receive those subsidies (Everett, 9/23).

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