McConnell punts on shutdown solution

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday declined to take sides in the squabble among House Republicans over a government shutdown.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE (R-Ohio) has tried to convince his colleagues to support legislation that would keep the government open after Oct. 1 while forcing the Senate to vote on defunding ObamaCare.

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That approach was dismissed by the right wing of his conference, and now 70 House conservatives are supporting an effort to tie a one-year defunding of ObamaCare to the government funding resolution.

McConnell, who crafted deals to end the 2011 debt-ceiling standoff and the 2012 fight over the "fiscal cliff," said it's up to the House to find a path forward.

“One thing all Republicans agree on is that we think ObamaCare was the worst piece of legislation in the last 50 years. …The question at this point is what the House will send us,” he told reporters. “It’s up to them. We will react to what they send us. And we’ll be happy to vote on it at that point.”

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McConnell made clear that he supports John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE’s call to attach spending cuts to the debt ceiling increase that will be needed by mid-October. 

“I would be stunned if we raised the debt ceiling and didn’t do something about the debt. That’s the view of virtually every Republican,” he said. 

He said that Obama has only shown a willingness to reduce the deficit when forced to by GOP leverage.

“The request to raise the debt ceiling is one of those opportunities,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday dared the GOP to allow the U.S. to default on its payment obligations. 

“If the Republicans think that it’s good for the country to not pay our bills and risk the full faith and credit, then that’s what they’ll have to do. We are not negotiating over the debt ceiling,” he said. "We are not going to have them hold the CR or the debt ceiling hostage to ObamaCare.”

Reid said the Senate would not act on the shutdown crisis until the House does.