President Barack Obama sits with Speaker of the House John Boehner in a file photo from November. (Pool/Getty Images)
Susan Davis -- USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - Congress moved the nation closer to a government shutdown on Tuesday as House Republicans voted early Sunday 231-192 to advance a stopgap spending measure to delay implementation of President Obama's health care law for one year.
"We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it's up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown," House GOP leaders said in a joint statement.
The House voted just past midnight Saturday following a day of vigorous debate over the Affordable Care Act, which begins open enrollment on Oct. 1.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., countered that the public had litigated the healthcare law in 2012 with the re-election of Obama and accused Republicans of "rampant irresponsibility" that increased the prospects of an Oct. 1 shutdown.
"By the way, we won this debate in the election," Hoyer said on the House floor, "But (Republicans) refuse to accept the results of the election."
The House also voted 248-174 to repeal a 2.3% tax on medical devices enacted to help pay for implementation of the law.
The House also voted unanimously on a separate measure to ensure that the U.S. military continues to get paid if the government shuts down. Because no annual spending bills have been enacted, a shutdown would stop the flow of paychecks to troops.
Members of Congress, however, would continue to be paid if a shutdown occurs.
But the House GOP amendments affecting the Affordable Care Act face certain defeat in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he will not support any bill that dismantles the law. Obama also said he would veto any such bill in the unlikely event it reaches his desk.
In a statement, Reid called the House's action "pointless" and reiterated that the Senate will reject the GOP's latest version of the stopgap bill.
"After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one: Republicans must decide whether to pass the Senate's clean (bill), or force a Republican government shutdown," Reid said.