After voting today to fund the government, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Senate's clean continuing resolution that would successfully avoid a government shutdown:
"Mainers and Americans are tired of the political brinkmanship that plagues Congress and prevents it from doing the work of the country. Today, for the second time in less than a week, I voted to send a clean funding resolution back to the House of Representatives where Speaker Boehner now has a choice. He can either continue to risk a government shutdown by appeasing the most conservative members of his party who will stop at nothing to derail the Affordable Care Act, or he can dispense with the so-called "Hastert rule' and allow the Senate's clean continuing resolution to pass with the bipartisan support of House Democrats and pragmatic House Republicans.
"The fact remains that I'm willing to look at ways in which we can improve the Affordable Care Act, but I'm absolutely unwilling to do it under the threat of a dangerous and unnecessary shutdown. To do such would set a dangerous precedent for future negotiations and, I believe, is anathema to governing."
On Friday, September 20th, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution that attempted to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) despite knowing that such legislation would not pass the Democratically-controlled Senate and would be vetoed by the President.
Last Friday the Senate followed through on its promise to strike the language defunding the ACA and sent the clean continuing resolution back to the House, which on late Saturday night, reinserted provisions to delay the ACA by one year, again knowing the attempt would be rejected by the Senate.
This afternoon the Senate tabled the House's provision to delay the ACA and sent it back to the House. Senator King believes that the Speaker, if he suspends the Hastert Rule, will be able to pass the continuing resolution and avoid a government shutdown.
The Hastert Rule, named for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) in 2003, is an informal guarantee from leadership to its members that only bills which enjoy a majority support within the Republican caucus will be brought to the floor for a vote.