Growing Number of Democrats Voting With House GOP to Fund Non-Obamacare Parts of Gov't

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 4, 2013 | 10:23am EDT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( - Over the past two weeks, a growing number of House Democrats have broken with their party leadership to vote with House Republicans to approve funding for parts of the federal government that do not involve implementing Obamacare.

The number of Democrats voting for funding bills put up by the House leadership that were then blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate has grown from 2--who voted for a measure to fund the entire government except Obamacare--to as many as 36 who voted to pay members of the National Guard when on inactive-duty training.

However, because the Senate Democratic leadership has refused to support these measures, they have not been passed and sent on to President Obama to see if he would actually veto them to maintain his leverage in trying to force the House to fund Obamacare.

This has created the basic dynamic of the current impasse over funding the government: The Democratic leadership is insisting it will not fund any part of the government unless the Republicans, and those Democrats who have sided with the Republicans, agree to fund Obamacare.

Every one of the spending measures the House of Representatives have taken up in the past two weeks has had at least some bipartisan support--and as the House Republicans have begun putting up bills to target individual parts of the government for full funding (while giving no money to Obamacare), the number of Democrats supporting the Republican measures has increased.

The first vote on a House GOP proposal to fund the government came at 11:19 a.m on Friday, Sept. 20. The bill funded the entire government, but specifically defunding and stopped Obamacare. It prohibited any funds from being spent to implement Obamacare, said that Obamacare's entitlements and benefits shall not take effect, and directed that no money under Obamacare should be paid to any state, territory or district.

This initial bill to completely stop Obamacare won bipartisan support in the House. It was approved 230-189, with two House Democrats joining House Republicans. Those House Democrats were Matheson of Utah and McIntyre of North Carolina.

The next vote on a House GOP proposal to fund the government came at 12:16 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29. This bill funded the entire government but "delayed" Obamacare for one year--rather than defunding it. It also included a provision--requested by the U.S. Catholic bishops and other Christian groups--that prohibited the administration from violating the First Amendment by forcing people to buy insurance coverage for items to which they have a moral or religious objection.

That bill passed the House 231-192. Democrats Matheson and McIntyre again defied the Democratic leaderhip and voted with the Republicans.

The next vote on a House GOP proposal to fund the government came at 12:22 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29. This bill provided money to pay active duty and reserve members of the Armed Forces and to pay the civilian personnel and contractors of the Department of Defense. The Democratic leadership decided not to block this one, so it passed 423-0 in the House, was approved by the Senate by unanimous consent, and was signed by Obama on Monday, Sept. 30.

The next vote the House GOP took up--at 12:29 a.m. on Sunday morning--was on a bill to authorize spending for the State Department and embassy security. This new authorization included giving President Obama the authority to increase security at U.S. diplomatic facilities abroad, including by increasing the U.S. Marine presence at those facilities. Because this bill was being moved outside the normal House rules, it needed a tw0-thirds majority. It got it. The House approved it 384-37, with 194 Republican votes and 190 Democratics vote.

When this bill arrived in the Senate, it was assigned to committee and did not get a vote.

Early on the morning of Oct. 1, shortly after the last CR expired at midnight, the House GOP leadership put up a CR that no longer delayed Obamacare, and no longer protected religious liberty by preventing the administration from forcing people to buy coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. This CR, however, did suspend for one year the Obamacare mandate forcing individual to buy insurance and did nullify a regulation issued by the Office of Personnel Management that would allow members of Congress and their staff to get a special subsidy to buy health insurance in the Obamacare exchanges.

This bill was approved 228-199, picking up 7 Democrat votes, but losing 9 Republican votes. The Democratic Senate immediately tabled it--thus killing it.

At 7:44 p.m. on Tuesday night, the House voted on a bill to fund veterans' benefits and the operations of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This was appoved 264-164, with 33 House Democrats joining with all House Republicans in favor of it. The Senate immediately tabled this.

At 7:54 p.m. on Tuesday, the House voted on a bill to let the District of Columbia use local funds to carry on its operations. This won 265-163 in the House, with 34 House Democrats joining with all House Republicans in favor of it. The Senate has not voted on this measure yet.

On 6:34 p.m. on Wedneday, Oct. 2, the House voted 252-173 for a bill to fund the National Park Service, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Twenty-three House Democrats voted for this. The Senate has not voted on this measure.

At 6:38 p.m. on Wednesday, the House voted 254-171 to fund the National Institutes of Health. Twenty-five Democrats voted with House Republicans for this bill. The Senate has not voted on this bill.

At 1:57 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, the House voted 265-160 for a bill to fund the pay that would go to members of the National Guard when they day in-active duty training. Thirty-six House Democrats joined with Republicans to back this measure. The Senate has not taken this bill up yet.

At 4:48 p.m. on Thursday, the House once again took up a bill to fund veterans benefits and operations of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This time, it passed 259-157, with 35 House Democrats backing it. This bill has not been taken up by the Senate.

If the Senate and President Obama wanted to fund any elements of the federal government that bipartisan majorities of the House have already passed bills to fund, they could so. All they would need to do, is pass the bill through the Senate and send it to the president for his signature.

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