House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy: “We Are Not Shutting the Government Down”

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 29 2013 11:33 AM

House Leadership: “We Are Not Shutting the Government Down”

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One of the House Republican leaders went onFox News Sunday and insisted his party has no intention of shutting down the government. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy told host Chris Wallace that the Senate could still technically pass the House measure approved early Sunday that funds the government for two months but includes a one-year delay on Obamacare and a repeal of a tax on medical devices. “You assume they won’t vote for it,” he said. “Let’s have that debate.” But McCarthy also insisted that if the Senate does send the bill back to the House, Republicans will quickly send something back to the Senate in what sounds an awful lot like a dangerous game of hot potato.

What the second House continuing resolution would look like was more than a little ambiguous though. “We will fund the government and still ask for delaying Obamacare,” McCarthy said at first. When Wallace pointed out Democrats have made it clear they won’t accept any more delays to Obamacare, the House majority whip hinted that other options could be on the table. “I will promise you this—we will pass a bill … that will keep the government open that will reflect the House that I believe the Senate can accept, that will have fundamental changes to Obamacare that will protect the economy for America,” McCarthy said.

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The wording suggests the House Republicans are not considering passing a continuing resolution that will fund the government without any conditions. What might those conditions look like? There are a few possibilities, notes the National Journal. The House could pass a CR with just the repeal on the medical devices tax. On Saturday, the National Review reported the House leadership is strongly considering a measure that would essentially eliminate health care subsidies for lawmakers, their staff and members in the executive.

In the end, McCarthy did imply an extremely short-term CR was possible that could kick a potential shutdown a few days down the road. “We will not shut the government down,” McCarthy insisted. “If we have to negotiate a little longer we will negotiate.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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