House Republicans pushed through a spending plan early Sunday morning that would delay the Affordable Care Act for one year and repeal its tax on medical devices.
The vote makes the chances of a government shutdown Tuesday increasingly likely. That's because passage of the amendments sends a temporary budget resolution back to the Senate, where Democrats are standing firm in support of the Affordable Care Act.
President Barack Obama has added a veto threat to that position.
Without a deal, a government shutdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
A Senate Democratic source told CNN there are no plans to convene the Senate before Monday.
The decision to vote on the House amendments Saturday night emerged from a rare weekend GOP caucus meeting called by House Speaker John Boehner.
The votes, taken after midnight, were 231-191 for the the Affordable Care Act delay, and 248-174 for the medical device tax repeal, mostly along party lines.
Two Democrats voted for the delay: Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Jim Matheson of Iowa.
Seventeen Democrats voted for the tax repeal.
Meanwhile, a bill to guarantee pay for military personnel during any shutdown passed 423-0.
Back and forth
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the Republican strategy "pointless" and said the Democratic-led Senate would reject the GOP alternatives, while the White House said Obama would veto the House proposal if it reached his desk.
A separate White House statement said voting for the GOP measure "is voting for a shutdown."
The back and forth over the spending plan -- called a continuing resolution in legislative jargon -- came after the Senate on Friday restored funding for Obamacare that House Republicans stripped from their original version and sent the proposal back to the House.
Boehner convened his caucus Saturday to forge a counteroffer to the Senate changes.
House Republicans said they wanted the following:
-- An amendment that will fund the government until December, a month longer than the Senate version.
-- Stop as much of the president's health law as possible.
-- Repeal the medical device tax because they said it was sending jobs overseas.
-- A "conscience clause" to the one-year delay amendment to allow employers and insurance plans to refuse to cover birth control.
Military pay in a shutdown
Showing that the House Republicans don't expect the Senate to accept their changes, House leaders held a separate vote to ensure that the military gets paid in the event of a government shutdown.
Officials estimate the military pay could be affected by a shutdown as soon as October 14, and the GOP move was considered a political gesture to shield the party from criticism that its brinksmanship could hurt U.S. fighting forces.
In further evidence of the political nature of the separate military pay proposal, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Democrats would likely support it.
On the spending plan, though, Reid said the Republican tactics amounted to what he described as extortion by "tea party anarchists."
"To be absolutely clear, the Senate will reject both the one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of the medical device tax," Reid said in a statement. "After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one."
Meanwhile, the White House made clear Saturday that Obama dismisses any effort to tie provisions undermining the Affordable Care Act to the spending measure needed to prevent a government shutdown.
"Republicans have tried and failed to defund or delay the health care law more than 40 times, and they know this demand is reckless and irresponsible," said the statement from White House spokesman Jay Carney, adding that Obama would not negotiate on Obamacare or spending issues "under threats of a government shutdown that will hurt our economy."
Shutdown deadline looms
Reid previously warned that any changes to the Senate's version by the House would result in at least the start of a government shutdown because of the time it would take to reconsider the proposal.
Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York said Saturday a "slight" shutdown could occur due to the little time left to pass a short-term spending plan for the new fiscal year that starts Tuesday.
The prospect of a government shutdown caused by GOP tactics irked the longest serving member of Congress in history, Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, who said in a statement that "this once-deliberative body has been taken over by knaves and know-nothings, content with putting partisan politics ahead of the American people."
"I've said before that I believe that this current Congress would be incapable of passing the Ten Commandments or even the Lord's Prayer, and today's actions have only further galvanized that belief," said Dingell, who was first elected in 1955 and is serving his 30th term.
The legislative hot potato involving the spending plan began last week when the House stripped the Affordable Care Act funding from the proposal it sent to the Senate.
On Friday, the Senate voted on strict party lines to restore the Obamacare funding and send the measure back to the House.
That left Boehner with the choice of urging his divided Republican caucus to join Democrats in passing the Senate plan or to yield again to the tea party wing that seeks to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
Cruz loses filibuster bid
The Senate began its votes Friday by easily overcoming a filibuster led by GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas against the spending plan. Cruz waged a 21-hour floor speech this week against the Affordable Care Act, but 25 more moderate Republicans rejected his tactics in voting with Democrats on Friday to move ahead on the measure.
Meanwhile, Democrats facing re-election next year in conservative-leaning states such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina all resisted Republican pressure to buck their party over the funding.
Responding to the GOP tactics, Obama said Friday that new exchanges for private health insurance under the reforms will open next week as scheduled -- even if there is a government shutdown.