For weeks, Donald Trump has been blackmailing Democrats, threatening to cut health insurance for millions of Americans if they do not support his Obamacare replacement care bill. Now, House Democrats are threatening to oppose a short-term funding extension if Republicans plow ahead with a vote to repeal Obamacare this week, placing the potential government shutdown on Trump’s side.
“If Republicans pursue this partisan path of forcing Americans to pay more for less and destabilizing our county’s health care system — without even knowing how much their bill will cost — Republicans should be prepared to pass a one-week [funding extension] on their own,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said in a statement, according to Politico.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered the news in a phone call to House Speaker Paul Ryan Thursday morning. Hoyer had a similar conversation with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
A Democratic leadership aide said Democrats are open to supporting a short-term extension if the overall budget talks are “headed in a good direction and we just need time to do the paperwork etc.”
“But that cooperation is greatly impeded if Republicans attempt to use the one-week extension to jam the Trumpcare bill through the House,” the aide added.
Current government funding runs out at midnight Friday. After settling major outstanding issues over border wall funding and Obamacare subsidies earlier this week, leaders seemed on track for a deal, but all agreed they would likely need a short-term extension to work out final details.
House Democrats say it’s outrageous to ask them to negotiate a bipartisan funding deal in good faith while Republicans are working behind the scenes to jam through a bill dismantling Democrats’ signature legislative achievement and leave millions without health care insurance.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a floor speech Thursday that “we expect to pass” a stopgap bill to give senators time next week to examine a longer-term funding bill.
It’s unclear whether House Republicans have enough votes to pass a short-term funding extension without Democratic help.
Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters Thursday morning that he would vote against the short-term funding bill if Republicans tried to ram through their renewed health bill this week.
It looks unlikely that it will get to this point. The Republicans don’t seem to have the votes for health bill yet and will not bring a vote to the floor until they do, Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.
Most conservatives are on board, but Ryan is having a hard time persuading moderates to back the bill, which would allow states to opt out of providing key Obamacare provisions.