On Friday, the House passed a measure that would keep the government running through mid-December. But it came with what Democrats consider a poison pill: It defunds President Obama’s signature health-care law, known as Obamacare. There is no way whatsoever — think pigs flying — that the Senate will agree to the House plan. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said the House bill was “dead,” then for emphasis added: “Dead.” ¶ That sets up eight days of brinkmanship between the Republican House and the Democratic Senate and White House, leading to midnight Sept. 30, when much of the government will shut down if there’s no deal. ¶ Leaders on Capitol Hill expect the face-off to go right up to the deadline, if not beyond. Below is a day-by-day look at how it’s all likely to play out — with the caveat that events can change quickly.
Monday: The Senate will convene briefly, with just a few members on hand. Reid is expected to call up the House bill, known as a continuing resolution, and file a motion that sets up initial votes on the measure. Under Senate rules, there will be two votes just to determine whether the chamber gets to a vote on final passage of the bill. These are the “cloture” votes, which require 60 ayes to choke off a filibuster; Reid will file a motion one day, then there must be an intervening day of debate, then the filibuster-busting vote comes. Reid will file the first of these Monday, setting up a vote Wednesday.
Deadlines and showdowns won't make Capitol Hill a fun place to be this fall.
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The House is not in session.
Tuesday: The full Senate will return just before noon. After approving some noncontroversial judicial nominees, Republicans and Democrats will go to their separate weekly lunches to hash out strategy. At about 2 p.m., Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will hold back-to-back news conferences where they will probably call each other names. The Senate will continue debating whether to cut off debate on the continuing resolution.
The House is still not in session.
Wednesday: The Senate’s first filibuster vote will probably take place in the late morning, and the chamber is almost certain to vote to proceed. The rules then call for 30 more hours of debate on the motion to proceed before senators can start debating the actual bill. (It’s possible, though not expected, that Republicans could waive the 30 hours.)
The House will return. Around 4:30 p.m., Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) will probably huddle with his leadership team to plot strategy. At 6:30 p.m., the full House will convene for some noncontroversial votes.
Thursday: At 9 a.m., House Republicans will gather in the Capitol basement for their weekly policy huddle. Boehner’s leadership team usually holds a news conference afterward, around 10 a.m. The big issue for House leaders will be determining whether they have enough support for a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit. That deadline will come in mid-October, but it is relevant to the shutdown debate because it provides another chance to try to defund Obamacare. (More on that later.)