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The House has voted to block money to implement President Barack Obama's health care law, a victory for Republicans trying to derail the program.

Lawmakers voted to deny the money by a near party-line vote of 239-187. ... The provision was made part of GOP bill cutting federal spending this year.

The GOP provision effectively would repeal much of health care reform because it would bar the federal government from using any funding for implementing the law, but it wouldn't actually cut spending during in the current fiscal year. In other words, this provision is a poison pill designed to force a government shutdown.

If Congress fails to pass a spending bill by March 4, the federal government will run out of money and all nonessential services will shut down. By including the repeal of health care reform -- a totally unrelated issue -- in their spending bill, House Republicans are trying to use the threat of a government shutdown to force President Obama and the Senate to accept the repeal of health care reform.

To their credit, neither President Obama nor Democratic senators are going to back down in the face of the GOP's heavy-handed power play. But if Republicans don't relent and government is shut down, make no mistake: they are the ones responsible for creating this crisis. And this health care repeal poison pill suggests it's a crisis they want to create.

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