U.S. House Republicans demand Obamacare delay in debt limit increase
WASHINGTON, Sept 26
WASHINGTON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Republicans on Thursday refused to give in to President Barack Obama's demands for straightforward bills keeping the government running beyond Sept. 30 and increasing borrowing authority to avoid an historic default.
They said they will seek a one-year delay in the full implementation of the new national healthcare law known as "Obamacare" in return for raising U.S. borrowing authority by enough to let Treasury borrow through the end of 2014.
Even as some senior Republicans predicted there would be no government shutdown on Oct. 1 or credit default next month, House Speaker John Boehner warned that his chamber is unlikely to sign off on a government spending bill the Senate is expected to pass in coming days that simply extends current funding.
"I do not see that happening," Boehner told reporters at a news conference after a closed meeting with his rank and file.
House Republicans passed an emergency spending bill last week to defund Obamacare. But with Democrats standing firm against that tactic, they have begun looking at other pet projects to attach to the spending bill.
The Democratic-led Senate in coming days intends to pass a "clean" bill to keep the government running from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15 and send it to the Republican-controlled House as the clock ticks down to the expiration of government funding at the end of the current fiscal year at midnight Monday.
Republican Representative Tom Cole said there are discussions in the House about attaching a measure, which he did not specify, to the funding bill that has bipartisan support in the Senate.
One such measure could be the proposed repeal of a medical device tax that would collect $30 billion over 10 years and help pay for some of the costs of Obamacare.
Senate Democratic aides have insisted, however, that a measure like that, even though it has broad bipartisan support, should not be attached to this emergency spending bill, and some senior Republican and Democratic senators have already rejected the idea.
House Republicans are also challenging Obama on the debt limit increase that the Treasury Department says is urgently needed by Oct. 17.
House Republican leaders said that in addition to seeking to delay Obamacare, they will also attach some spending cuts and other initiatives to a debt limit bill, something that Obama has said he would not tolerate.
Obama wants a debt limit increase with no strings attached.
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