By Lisa Mascaro
September 19, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
WASHINGTON – House Speaker John A. Boehner on Thursday promised a “big victory” when the chamber votes to defund President Obama’s healthcare law as part of a must-pass bill to keep the government running. But it may be short-lived: The White House has promised a veto.
Republicans in Congress believe the American people are on their side as they head toward Friday’s vote, using the threat of a government shutdown on Oct. 1 to force the president to undo his signature healthcare law. They insist opposition to the Affordable Care Act will force Obama to change course.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a potential presidential candidate, vowed Thursday to use “any procedural means necessary,” including a filibuster, to stop the healthcare law in the Senate.
But the White House made it clear Thursday that the president would veto such a bill, and Senate Democrats appear to have the votes to strip the provision to defund the healthcare law, often called Obamacare, and send the funding bill back to the House for another vote.
“I want to be absolutely crystal clear: Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead, dead,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday. “It’s a waste of time.”
Even though Boehner joined with his right flank to pursue the strategy, many top Republicans are wary the party will be blamed if the government shuts down once the money runs out Sept. 30.
The last time the government shut down, during the Clinton administration, it was Republicans led by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia who suffered much of the blame.
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