The U.S. Senate is expected to begin voting later this morning on a measure to keep the government funded past Sept. 30.
Some GOP senators have attempted to hold up the bill and force a government shutdown unless the legislation includes a measure to defund or delay the healthcare overhaul.
The Senate vote is expected to start at about 11:30 a.m. central time. Minnesota DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franklin are likely to vote for the funding bill.
The showdown comes with just days before people can start enrolling in health plans through online marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Klobuchar castigated the GOP’s strategy in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday. “My colleagues in the House like to talk a big game about reducing the deficit and doing what is fiscally responsible and yet they are willing to mortgage our economy on a political gamble.”
The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session this weekend to take up and possibly amend the Senate’s bill.
Minnesota 3rd District Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen has been critical of some in his party who argue the government should be shuttered if the bill doesn’t delay or defund the Affordable Care Act.
“I worry absolutely that there’s a lack of understanding among some members that, ‘Hey if the government shuts down it’s not a big deal,’” Paulsen said. “The reality is that is not a good thing.”
Lawmakers are in a holding pattern and are voting on minor bills until some kind of deal can be brokered. That frustrates Minnesota 1st District Democrat Rep. Tim Walz.
“I’m getting ready to go in and vote on a post office naming and if that doesn’t drive constituents straight up the wall, I don’t know what will,” Walz said.
Large parts of the federal government will begin shutting down Oct. 1 if no bill is passed.