Friday | July 28, 2017
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House to vote on stopgap budget bill as soon as next week

WASHINGTON — House Republicans have scheduled a vote next week on a bill to keep the government open past Sept. 30, but are still weighing whether to include instructions to defund President Obama’s signature health initiative.

Other details of the legislation have largely been decided, senior GOP aides said Friday. The measure will probably fund the government through Dec. 15 at current levels, meaning sharp automatic cuts known as the sequester would remain in place.

Under the proposal, about $20 billion in additional sequester cuts set to hit in fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1, would not take effect immediately. But those cuts, which primarily target the Pentagon, could still be implemented in January if Congress fails to reach a broader budget agreement.

Democrats will probably sign off on the legislation if it does not include a rider to defund the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, Democratic aides said. That would defuse the threat of a government shutdown at the end of this month and clear a path for a broader budget debate focused on raising the federal debt limit by the end of October.

A GOP leadership aide said a “clean” bill, without the Obamacare provision, remains a possibility. But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP leaders will not make a final decision, the aide said, until they have a chance to meet with rank-and-file lawmakers, who are due back Monday after a five-week summer recess.

Provoking a fight now over Obamacare would increase the odds of a government shutdown and force Congress to expend additional energy on the budget bill at a time when the calendar is rapidly fi