Another fiscal crisis has emerged in Washington as debate on funding the federal government has become entangled in funding the federal health care law.
And, the clock is ticking.
“It isn’t quite high-noon yet, but I have to say that we’re getting very close to that,” Sen. Mike Johanns tells Nebraska reporters during his weekly conference call.
High-noon would actually be midnight Monday. The federal fiscal year begins October 1st, Tuesday. If Congress fails to act, the federal government runs out of money and shuts down.
The U.S. House approved a spending resolution, but attached a provision that would strip funding from the federal health care law, commonly known as Obamacare. The House is controlled by Republicans. Democrats control the Senate.
Johanns says Democrats will not accept cutting off funding of Obamacare. They likely will use their majority status to approve a resolution to keep the federal government funded without the defunding provision. The House then will have to decide whether to accept that version or ask to negotiate with the Senate.
Johanns stands with fellow Republicans seeking to strike the law. He says he remains opposed to it.
But, Johanns doesn’t support risking a government shutdown to defund it.
“We’re just going to have to debate our way through this, work our way through this,” Johanns says of the federal health care law. “I just believe very, very strongly that at the end of the day we can get there, but we’re just not there yet.”
The federal health care law, officially called the Affordable Care Act, has been in effect for more than two years, but major provisions of the law will kick in, beginning Tuesday.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]