Mitch McConnell’s Cryptic Shutdown Statement (UPDATED)

With under a week to go before the federal government is slated to shut down, no one in Washington is quite sure how a so-far contentious congressional process to avoid it will play out.

Defense News outlined four possible shutdown scenarios yesterday. There are others. Too many to note, really. And the Senate will have a series of votes as it works toward completion of an amended version of a House-passed continuing resolution.

One would think the Senate is likely to hold four floor votes by the time it sends the two-month — or a one-month, reportedly — CR back to the House: two cloture votes, a vote on stripping out the House’s language to de-fund Obamacare, and a final vote on the revised spending measure.

But in a cryptic statement, one senior GOP Senate leader muddied the CR waters even further.

“He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans’ bill,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a Monday statement, according to media reports.

So two cloture votes, then two more, then… Wait, excuse me?

Would the Senate even need to approve a measure that would put back Obamacare funds if it first strips out the House-passed language to de-fund it?

Intercepts has asked the very McConnell spokesman who uttered the sentence for further explanation. No response. Yet.

Would Republicans demand such a measure be subject to a 60-vote threshold? See above graph.

Would such a measure delay a final Senate vote until later on Sunday? That’s the day when the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, says Republicans would run out of procedural time to block a final vote?

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the CR process on Monday: “Time will tell.”

(UPDATE – 12:56 p.m. Tuesday: A McConnell spokesman clarified the statement, explaining that a vote to strip out the House-passed Obamacare-killing provision would be a vote to put back into the CR Obamacare funding. Although, since the Senate will ditch the House provision, the existing Affordable Care Act monies were never legally dead. But…yeah… It’s going to be one of those weeks, folks.)

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett