McConnell won’t block government funding bill as Cruz wants

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate chamber in the US Capitol on Dec. 30, 2012. PHOTO/Molly RILEYMOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not try to block the Senate from moving ahead on a House-passed bill that would keep the government running and defund Obamacare, putting him at odds with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).

"Senator McConnell supports the House Republicans’ bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny," said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart on Monday afternoon.

While the House-passed plan is exactly what Cruz has been calling for, the Texas conservative wants his colleagues to join him to in an effort keep the Senate from moving ahead on the measure. Why? Because once the bill clears a procedural vote requiring the support of 60 senators, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intends to strip out the portion that would defund Obamcare. Then, because of Senate rules, the new measure could pass the Democratic-controlled Senate with a simple majority.

Stewart said McConnell would vote against any amendments that add funding for Obamacare back into the House-passed bill.

"If and when the Majority Leader goes down that path, Washington Democrats will have to decide — without hiding behind a procedural vote — whether or not to split with their leadership and join Republicans and their constituents in opposing the re-insertion of Obamacare funding into the House-passed bill," Stewart said.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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