LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas’ senators split Friday over a measure aimed at averting a federal government shutdown after the bill was stripped of a House-backed effort to defund the federal health care overhaul.
Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor voted for the measure intended to keep the federal government operating through Nov. 15, while Republican John Boozman voted against the measure. The Senate passed the continuing resolution on a 54-44 vote after voting by the same margin to remove from it the House proposal to defund the health care overhaul.
The proposal heads back to the House as lawmakers try to prevent a shutdown of the federal government if a spending bill isn’t approved by next week.
“The American people are tired of the reckless ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ politics,” Pryor, who is running for re-election against Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, said in a statement issued by his office. “I’m confident that reasonable members of the House will pass the Senate’s common-sense bill so we can continue to move our nation forward.”
Boozman said he believed the House could continue fighting against the federal health care law by sending back a spending measure that included a one-year delay in the individual insurance mandate.
“I supported the House-passed bill that accomplishes our goals of keeping the government operating and defunding Obamacare,” Boozman said in a statement released by his office. “Avoiding a government shutdown is a good policy that protects hardworking Americans. Unfortunately, the bill was changed by Majority Leader Harry Reid who stripped language to defund Obamacare and I could no longer support it.”
The House is scheduled to be in session both Saturday and Sunday, but it is unclear when it will vote on a new bill to avert a shutdown, and what health care-related items it will include.