OVERNIGHT HEALTH: House to vote on CR minus ObamaCare funding

Just last week, House GOP leaders were pushing a strategy to force the Senate to vote on Affordable Care Act funding while allowing a clean CR to head to the White House. Conservative and Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers rejected this plan, noting it would not actually harm the healthcare law. 

Friday's vote will send the fight to the Senate. The upper chamber is controlled by Democrats, making it virtually impossible for the anti-ObamaCare CR to pass. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his allies have vowed to take aggressive action to maintain the ban on ObamaCare funds, but it's likely the spending bill will head back to the House for another vote without that provision. Read more about Friday's expected House vote and the preceding floor debate at The Hill's Floor Action blog.

Veto threat: As expected, President Obama promised he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

"The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.J. Res. 59, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014 and for other purposes, because it advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class," the veto threat stated.

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Read more at The Hill's On the Money blog.

Open to filibuster: Cruz said he's willing to mount a filibuster in order to defund ObamaCare but repeated Thursday that the burden ultimately lies with the House. The likely presidential hopeful is under fire from House rank-and-file Republicans for putting the onus for defunding ObamaCare on the lower chamber.

At a press conference, Cruz sought to deflect charges that he's washing his hands of the outcome by vowing to do "anything possible" in the Senate to kill the law's funding. 

"Any procedural means necessary," Cruz said. 

When asked if a filibuster was possible, he said, "Yes, and everything else." 

But the Texas Republican also stated that the House is "where this battle will be resolved."

Healthwatch has the details

Some Republicans skeptical: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) repeated his opposition to the Cruz approach on Thursday. "In the U.S. Senate, we will not defund ObamaCare," McCain said in an interview with CNN. "And to think we can is not rational." 

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), strategist Karl Rove and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have also expressedtheir own worries about the tactics in the last few days. Read about the McCain interview at The Hill. 

In the meantime … The Democratic National Committee tried to tie New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to the defunding push by pointing out that he'll campaign with GOP Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who has endorsed the effort. Dems are also fundraising off the House's defunding push. We have that story here.

Headed to the Supreme Court? The ObamaCare birth control mandate appears headed to the Supreme Court after two separate cases on the contraception policy were referred Thursday to the justices. Healthwatch has more on the petitions.

'Wreak havoc': House Democrats are hammering a government funding measure written by Republicans for gutting the Children's Health Insurance Program. In a Thursday letter to their Democratic colleagues, the top Democrats on the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees warned that the Republicans' proposal to defund the Affordable Care Act would “wreak havoc on Medicare and other federal health programs,” including CHIP. Healthwatch has more.

Tag-team event: President Obama will join former President Clinton in New York next Tuesday for an event to tout the president's healthcare law. White House press secretary Jay Carney billed the conversation as "part of a ramped up education effort" ahead of the launch of the state-based insurance markets where uninsured Americans will be able to purchase coverage. The Hill has more on the announcement.

Creepy Uncle Sam: New online videos designed to deter young people from signing up for ObamaCare feature a sinister Uncle Sam about to conduct pelvic and prostate exams. 

The ads from Generation Opportunity, a Virginia-based group with ties to the Koch brothers, are intended to discourage college students from signing up for the new healthcare exchanges. (And by the look of this Craigslist ad, the group is hiring someone to play the Uncle Sam role on Friday and Saturday.) Read the story at Healthwatch.

Harsh reax: Liberal activists blasted the videos Thursday as false and manipulative. 

"The billionaire Koch Brothers are running sick, dishonest, vile and dangerous ads to scare young people into going without health insurance — putting the health of college students at risk in furtherance of a warped and discredited ideology that took a drubbing at the polls less than one year ago. This is simply beyond the pale," said Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse.

Boosting vets: Federal health officials announced $2.8 million in grants Thursday to help veterans achieve careers in nursing. The funds will help about 1,000 vets enroll at nine colleges around the country, the announcement stated.


Friday's schedule

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be in Kansas City to promote the Affordable Care Act.


State by state

Grover Norquist dives into Pa.'s Medicaid debate

Board clears Ohio Medicaid expansion proposal

N.H. Medicaid panel majority favors expansion


Lobbying registrations

Nossaman LLP / American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

J.C. White Consulting / ViroPharma

J.C. White Consulting / Patient Safety Movement Coalition


Reading list

Conservative ObamaCare replacement doesn't insure nearly as many

Group plans to form largest US hospital alliance

Rising Alzheimer's creates strain on caregivers


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Home Depot shifting workers into ObamaCare exchanges

Administration takes $53M step toward new tobacco regulations

Dems launch food labeling overhaul

Pope Francis dismisses criticism over lack of focus on abortion

DSCC launches 'Shutdown Watch' campaign

Americans for Prosperity launches $3M anti-ObamaCare ad featuring cancer survivor

GOP: Delay ObamaCare exchange enrollment until data privacy tested

Cruz seeks to reassure House GOP, vows to fight for defunding


Comments / complaints / suggestions?


Please let us know:

Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351 / @sam_baker

Elise Viebeck: eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523 / @eliseviebeck