House GOP Huddles As Shutdown Countdown Begins

All eyes are on a pair of closed wooden doors in the basement of the Capitol. Behind those doors, in room HC-5, House Republicans are plotting their next move in the ongoing shutdown showdown.

On Friday, the Senate approved a short-term spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown. What it didn’t do was defund the Affordable Care Act.

That’s what a handful of Senate Democrats and a larger contingent of House Republicans have been demanding in exchange for keeping the government funded.

It’s now the House’s move, as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted yesterday:

House Republicans say they intend to attach something to the spending bill and send it back to the Senate. Just what to attach is what’s being discussed behind those closed doors.

Possibilities include a one-year delay of the Obamacare individual mandate or a repeal of the medical devices tax that’s part of the law.

The key for House Speaker John Boehner is coming up with a plan that can get near unanimous support from his conference. That’s because he won’t be getting any votes from House Democrats.

And if one of these Obamacare-related add-ons passes, it will run into a buzz saw in the Democratically controlled Senate. At least, that was the warning yesterday from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

The countdown to shutdown is on. If there’s no agreement, the shutdown starts Tuesday.

We will update as the story develops throughout the day.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.