WASHINGTON — The U.S. government was poised to partially shut down for the first time in 17 years late on Monday, as House Republicans clung tenaciously to their demand that any agreement to fund federal agencies must also undermine President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.
With a midnight deadline fast approaching, the House voted 228 to 201 to approve the third GOP proposal in two weeks to fund the government — a plan that would delay enforcement of the “individual mandate,” a cornerstone of the legislation that requires all Americans to obtain health coverage in 2014.
The White House quickly vowed that Obama would veto the proposal, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., convened the Senate less than 30 minutes later to reject it.
“They’ve lost their minds,” Reid said. “They keep trying to do the same thing over and over again.
“We are not going to do anything other than wait for them to pass” a simple bill to keep agencies open, Reid said.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, replied that the House would not accept a “clean” funding bill, one without provisions to defund or delay parts of the health-care law. “That’s not going to happen,” he said.
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