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January 18, 2022

Latest House bid fails as bitter back-and-forth over government shutdown rages

While up to 800,000 federal workers faced life without a paycheck as Day One of the government shutdown kicked in, Democrats and Republicans persisted in talking past each other without actually talking to each other to end the nation’s latest fiscal crisis, CNN reports.
The Republican-led House offered its latest gambit on Tuesday night but failed in separate votes to approve piecemeal funding for three specific programs – the District of Columbia, veterans affairs and national parks.
The votes required a two-thirds majority for passage, which would have required hefty Democratic support. That did not materialize, though House leadership aides say the plan is to bring up the same measures again Wednesday in a way that would require only a simple majority to pass. Aside from conservative political calculations that calling these votes would put their ideological foes in a tough spot, it appears they’ll have little practical impact since the Democratic-led Senate wasn’t about to acquiesce and the White House promised a veto.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid derided the strategy as “just another wacky idea by tea party Republicans,” a clear example of the rhetorical firefights that have marked the latest pitched battle over spending. This one has been fueled by GOP efforts to condition any continued funding of the government with the elimination – or at least the delay – of Obamacare.
President Barack Obama weighed in Tuesday, the start of the fiscal year, by lambasting the Republicans for being “reckless” in their apparent willingness to take down the government in order to take down the law overhauling major aspects of health care coverage. He championed the law, signed it in 2010, then saw it upheld by the Supreme Court last year.
Saying the shutdown’s goal is to hinder government efforts to provide health insurance to 15% of the U.S. population that doesn’t have coverage, the president said it was “strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda.”
“Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act,” he said, flanked by people who the White House said had benefited from the health care reform.
Barack Obama shortens Asia trip.
According to the BBC, President Barack Obama has postponed two stops on his four-nation Asian tour because of the government shutdown. The White House said it was “logistically… not possible” to go ahead with the trips to Malaysia and the Philippines at the end of his tour. But he would still be attending regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei, the White House added.

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