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Government shutdown coming? Boehner raises stakes on defunding Obamacare. (+video)

The GOP-led House is now poised to pass a bill that would fund government operations but defund Obamacare. The president spoke Wednesday of a 'faction' of House Republicans risking a government shutdown.

By Staff writer / September 18, 2013

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks with reporters following a strategy session at the Capitol, Sept. 18. House GOP leaders are looking to reverse course and agree to tea party demands to try to use a vote this week on a must-pass temporary government funding bill to block implementation of President Barack Obama's health care law.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Washington

The prospect of a government shutdown Oct. 1 grew Wednesday, as the House Republican leadership promised a vote Friday on a bill that would fund government operations beyond Sept. 30, but also defund President Obama’s health-care law.

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House Speaker John Boehner speaks on negotiations over the debt ceiling and efforts by the House to defund and repeal Obamacare.

The maneuver reflects House Speaker John Boehner’s acquiescence to conservatives, who are determined to derail Obamacare before the law goes fully into effect. Enrollment of the uninsured in health plans begins Oct. 1.

“We're going to continue to do everything we can to repeal the president's failed health-care law,” Speaker Boehner said Wednesday morning.

The bill would also lock in across-the-board spending cuts knows as the “sequester.” All together, the measure is a non-starter for Democrats, and if it passes in the Republican-run House, they promise to defeat it in the Senate, where they have the majority.

But Republicans will have another chance to defund the health-care law in mid-October. Then, the federal government’s borrowing authority runs out, and Republicans have threatened to defund Obamacare as a condition for raising the debt ceiling.

Mr. Obama, speaking to business leaders Wednesday just a few blocks from the Capitol, reacted with fury to the Republican plan, accusing his opponents of trying to “extort” him to achieve their goals.

“You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president or a governing party,” Obama told the Business Roundtable.

He spoke derisively of a “faction” of House Republicans leading the charge to undo health-care reform and in the process, risking a government shutdown or a default on the government’s debt.

The president called on the members of the Republican-leaning business group to use their influence to get Congress back to “regular order” in how it operates – and not in a way that promises “apocalypse” every few months.

On Capitol Hill, House Republican leaders spoke with one voice, having given up in their attempt to keep defunding of Obamacare separate from budget negotiations. Senate Republicans were a different story. Some, like Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida, applauded the House leaders and accused Obama and the Democrats of threatening to shut down the government.

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