Senate kicks modified CR back to the House

US Capitol

The Senate passed an amended version of a stopgap spending bill Sept. 27 that would fund federal government operations through Nov. 15, discarding a House provision that would strip funding for implementation of the 2010 health care law.

The House version would fund government operations through Dec. 15.

It remains now for the House of Representatives to vote on the measure, and members are expected to work through the weekend. In public comments, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has indicated an unwillingness to pass a continuing resolution that includes funds for the health care law. If a bill isn't passed and signed into law before the start of the new fiscal year, Oct. 1, a partial government shutdown will occur.

Boehner and Republican leaders in the House are looking to pass a measure without having to turn to the chamber's Democrats for support. This puts the leadership in the bind of having to come up with a deal that the Senate can support while not alienating their own party's conservatives, who are intent on blocking the health care overhaul's scheduled Oct. 1 rollout of the . The law, which relies on mandatory funds, will launch even if the government has to close some operations because of a lapse in discretionary appropriations.

The Senate passed the CR along party lines 54-44, after a bipartisan vote of 79-19 to end debate on the House version.

"Far too many Republicans joined Harry Reid in giving the Democrats the ability to fund Obamacare," said Texas Republican Ted Cruz. "When the bill comes back to the Senate, when the House yet again stands for principle and fights for the American people, I very much hope that Senate Republicans will rise to the challenge"

More than half of Senate Republicans voted to end debate, with some chirping at Cruz for pursuing what they considered counterproductive tactics. In an unusually pointed exchange on the Senate floor, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) accused Cruz and Utah Republican Mike Lee of holding up a Senate vote for the sake of publicity. "It just doesn't seem to me that that's in our nation's interest. Nor is it, candidly, in the interest of those who want to see good policy on the conservative side," Corker said.

A few lines of possible compromise have begun to emerge. The House could return a continuing resolution to the Senate that eliminates the tax on medical devices that is part of the 2010 law, which even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who supported the enactment of the tax, called "stupid" this week. The House could also eliminate an exception for lawmakers and staff carved out by the Office of Personnel Management that allows congressional offices to subsidize health insurance premiums for insurance bought on exchanges. Some Republicans have suggested passing a "clean" continuing resolution and shifting the fight over defunding or delaying the health care law to the coming debate on extending the debt ceiling.

Amid the din of disagreement over the health care law, Democrats and Republicans in both chambers agreed to preserve a provision in the continuing resolution designed to help keep two key satellite programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from falling behind schedule, and limiting as much as possible an anticipated gap in weather satellite coverage.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Mon, Sep 30, 2013

Apparently it boils down to do we spend money we do not have on the "health care law" aka Obama care package or do we not fund it and save the money. The politicians are sort of like two kids racing cars towards each other on a narrow one lane road in the game called "Chicken". Unfortunately, unlike the two kids, THEY are not at risk, the rest of us are.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above