Week ahead: ObamaCare spending showdown

GOP leaders pulled the spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, ahead of a scheduled floor vote last week. They have just two weeks to figure out a path forward, or else the federal government will shut down Oct. 1.

Conservative lawmakers and activist groups quickly endorsed a bill last week from Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) that would fund the entire federal government except ObamaCare, an approach Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have championed.

Such a bill could not pass the Democratic-controlled Senate and would meet a veto from President Obama. But conservatives want to forge ahead anyway, hoping that if they force a government shutdown, Obama would relent and give up on his healthcare law.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is looking for a way to avoid a shutdown without sacrificing his anti-ObamaCare credibility. Rank-and-file conservatives balked at the plan he and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) presented, which would have included a nonbinding provision supporting the defunding of ObamaCare.

Some members of the Republican Study Committee are proposing a “clean” CR, saying they’re better off picking a fight over ObamaCare next month, when the time comes to raise the country’s debt limit.

That would get Boehner and other establishment Republicans through the current stalemate, but it could create an even bigger internal battle just a few weeks later.

With the spending debate dominating congressional politics, the rest of the legislative calendar is relatively light next week.

House Republicans will keep up their oversight of the healthcare law ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline to open new insurance exchanges in all 50 states.

On Wednesday, two House Oversight subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on states' concerns about ObamaCare implementation.

The Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee is holding a hearing Thursday on the status of the implementation effort two weeks out from open enrollment in the exchanges.

Also on Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission is holding a roundtable discussion on consumer protections in the exchanges.

—This post was changed to reflect that two House Oversight subcommittees are holding Wednesday's hearing.