WASHINGTON – House Republicans have scheduled a vote this week on a bill to keep the government open beyond Sept. 30, but are still weighing whether to include instructions to de-fund President Barack Obama’s signature health care initiative.
Other details of the legislation have largely been decided, senior Republican aides said Friday. The measure will probably fund the government through Dec. 15 at current levels, meaning sharp automatic cuts known as the sequester will remain in place.
Under the proposal, about $20 billion in additional sequester cuts set to be introduced in fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1, will not take effect immediately. But those cuts, which primarily target the Pentagon, could still be implemented in January if Congress fails to reach a broader budget agreement.
Democrats will probably sign off on the bill if it does not include a rider to de-fund the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” Democratic aides said. That would defuse the threat of a government shutdown at the end of this month and clear a path for a broader budget debate focused on raising the federal debt limit by the end of October.