After rejecting the provision in the House-passed FY2014 Continuing Resolution (CR) to defund the Health Care Act, the Senate passed, on a strict party line vote (55-44), a CR that would keep the government operating until November 15. The Senate CR also excludes House language that would require a prioritization of debt payments should Congress not act to increase the debt ceiling.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said “The Senate acted today to keep our government open so it can perform its critical services.” She urged the House to pass the Senate bill as quickly as possible.
Senate action on the CR was not without drama this week as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) held forth on a 23-hour filibuster to delay a possible Senate vote. After Cruz finished, the Senate voted 100-0 (with Cruz voting with the majority) to proceed with the debate. The Senate then passed a motion to proceed to a final vote.
The bill now goes back to the House. House Speaker Rep. John Boehner has said the House will amend the Senate CR to include a one-year Health Care implementation delay and send it back to the Senate.
Senate Democrat leaders have consistently warned that the Senate would not pass a CR that includes defunding or a delay in implementing the Health Care Act. President Obama has said he would veto such a CR.
So, if the House does amend the Senate bill the chances are very high that time will run out and the government will shut down on Tuesday October 1 (at least for a short time), barring a last minute deal.
The last government shut down occurred in 1995-96. Between November 1995 and January 1996 the government shut down twice due to a lapse in appropriations (November 13 to November 1995 and from December 15, 1995 to January 5, 1996).