The Senate in a 54-44 vote on Friday passed a short-term spending bill to keep the government open through Nov. 15. It also keeps intact funding for the Affordable Care Act. Majority Leader Harry Reid called it the "first step in wresting control" from Tea Party "extremists."
Now the proverbial ball is in House Speaker John Boehner's court. He has a few choices: pass the Senate bill; pass an even shorter bill as some Republicans are suggesting that would keep the government ticking for just seven days; or pass another bill that continues to erode the health care law.
Speaking from the White House briefing room after the vote, President Obama called on House Republicans to pass the Senate bill and avoid a government shutdown. He lambasted them for even considering such a reckless move based not on budget deficits, but because they can't get their way on the issue of de-funding the health care law and reiterated that it is here to stay.
"On Tuesday about 40 million more Americans will be able to finally buy quality affordable health care just like anybody else," Obama said. "Those marketplaces will be open for business on Tuesday, no matter what, even if there's a government shutdown. That's a done deal."
The president also noted some of the "real effects on real people" that would take place if the government shuts down and said that the mere threat of it is probably already having a "dampening effect" on the nation's economy.
"Past shutdowns have disrupted the economy and this shutdown would as well. It would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction," he said. "And that's why many Republican senators and many Republican governors have urged Republicans to knock it off, pass a budget and move on."
House Republicans plan to meet Saturday afternoon to consider their options. And while some of the most conservative Republicans are ready to go for broke, others may be more open to compromise.
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(Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)