By Alexander Bolton - 09/19/13 05:02 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday Senate Republicans will be responsible for a government shutdown if they support a House measure linking ObamaCare and a stop-gap spending measure.
The House is expected to approve a measure funding the government through Dec. 15 but defunding ObamaCare by Friday.
“My concern is whether the [Senate] Republicans are going to be going pell-mell to support what the Republicans have done — or will do in the House, is what I should say — if they decide to do that, then they’re closing the government, clearly,” he told reporters.
Senate Republicans are coming under intense pressure to back the defunding effort.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) called on Senate Republicans to stand with the House GOP in the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act during an interview with conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity Wednesday.
Separately on Thursday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he expected Senate Republicans to put up a tough fight to defund ObamaCare.
House Republicans were irritated with a statement on Wednesday from Cruz, who suggested there wasn’t enough support in the Senate to defund ObamaCare. Cruz had been one of the loudest voices pressuring the House to take the risky political move, despite objections from establishment GOP voices, including the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.
Without a government-funding deal, the government will shut down on Oct. 1.
Most Senate Republicans have declined to say whether they would vote with Democrats to pass a “clean” stop-gap spending measure that would not affect the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Even Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who recently called the House GOP’s aggressive bid to defund ObamaCare the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard” won’t say whether he’ll vote to strip defunding language from the continuing resolution.
Reid on Thursday declined to comment on his legislative strategy and said Boehner may not even have enough votes to pass a bill linking ObamaCare and the government funding resolution.
“We’ve heard all kinds of rumors that they don’t have the votes, that they’re going to try to come up with another strategy. So let’s just wait and see what they come up with,” he said.
Reid reiterated his position that Democrats will not grant any concessions to the GOP in exchange for keeping the government funded beyond September or raising the nation’s debt limit.
“The president has made very, very clear and we have followed that up by saying we also are not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling and we’re not going to and that’s very, very clear,” Reid said.