House votes to speed up consideration of GOP spending bill

The House on Saturday afternoon approved a rule that will let Republicans more quickly consider their legislative proposal to avoid a government shutdown after September 30.

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Members passed H.Res. 361 in a party-line 226-191 vote. Just a handful of Republicans and Democrats voted against their respective leaders.

The resolution will allow the House to consider legislation on the House floor on the same day that the Rules Committee passes a rule for that legislation. Normally, bills can only be taken up the day after the Rules Committee acts.

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By the early afternoon, Republicans revealed that they plan to take up H.J.Res. 59, the Seante-passed continuing spending resolution, but to add two amendments. One of these would delay the implementation of ObamaCare for one year, and the other would repeal the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices under ObamaCare.

Those changes would also fund the government through December 15, instead of November 15 as preferred by the Senate.

The GOP also plans to consider a separate bill that would ensure members of the military are paid even in the event of a government shutdown.

The resolution was passed after what has become a typically partisan debate on the House floor in which Democrats said Republicans were steering the government toward a partial shutdown on October 1. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) reiterated the fear of many Democrats that passing a different version of the spending bill would leave the Senate unable to act in time to avoid a shutdown.

"Unless we take up the Senate bill, we are going to head for a shutdown," he said. "That means the Republican majority has just shut down the government."

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) accused GOP leaders of having to "check with [Sen.] Ted Cruz [R-Texas]" before bringing up any legislation on the House floor. Cruz launched a 21-hour filibuster earlier this week in an effort to convince Republicans in the House and Senate to maintain language that undermines ObamaCare.

McGovern also complained that Democrats were being asked to approve a rule to speed up consideration of legislation that no one has seen yet.

"This is a martial law rule that will allow for consideration of a yet-to-be seen spending resolution, and a yet-to-be seen debt ceiling bill," he said. While the rule does allow faster consideration of a debt ceiling bill this weekend, GOP leaders have indicated that these plans will be delayed in order to let the House focus on the spending bill.

Republicans rejected Democratic arguments that the GOP wants a government shutdown, and said their pending legislation would help avoid that outcome.

"H.Res. 361 provides this body with an expedited procure necessary to ensure that all legislation needed to prevent a government shutdown can be expeditiously considered without delay," said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas).