WASHINGTON — Members of the Minnesota delegation voted along party lines Friday when the House passed a short-term extension of government spending tied to a repeal of President Obama’s 2010 health care law.
The legislation passed 230-189, with all but one Republican in favor, though the real battle will come next week after the Senate strips the health-care repeal language from the bill (as Democrats have vowed to do), sending it back to the House and setting up a last-minute round of budget negotiations before a Sept. 30 deadline to prevent a government shutdown.
House Republicans included the Obamacare repeal lanuage at the insistence of conservatives in the House and Senate, even though Senate rules make it easy for Democrats to block the provision.
“I think that it is important for the Senate to engage; let’s have the fight over there,” Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline said. “We have, again and again, voted in the House to repeal some part of the law or defund Obamacare. Let’s give it to the Senate, we’ll see what they do and see what the bill looks like when it comes back.”
Kline said Republicans don’t want to force a government shutdown over the question of the Affordable Care Act, and that they might have more leverage during a later fight over raising the limit on federal debt.
“Historically, this is where these big issues have been fought out,” Kline said. “It is how these things are done, it is how big changes are made, so I think it’s a better place to have this fight, even, frankly, than the continuing resolution.”
Democrats have blasted the strategy. Sen. Amy Klobuchar released a report this week warning of economic gloom if the United States fails to raise its debt limit. She said tying an Obamacare repeal to a higher debt limit “poison pill partisanship.”
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.