Shutdown countdown

The federal government runs out of money at the end of the day today and will shut down tomorrow unless the House of Representatives and Senate can strike a deal to keep the money flowing.  Republicans, who control the House, are saying they won’t pass such a resolution unless Obamacare is delayed for a year.  (They earlier wanted to strip funding from it entirely.  Now they are settling for a delay.)  Democrats are refusing to back down from their signature health care legislation (a major part of which goes into effect tomorrow).

So now we are on the brink.  Tomorrow the government may shut down AND the Obamacare insurance exchange sign-ups begin.

What do you think will happen?  Do you predict a last-second compromise?  If the shutdown takes place, what impact will that have?  What impact would that have on the Republican Party?

From News from The Associated Press:

Hours before a threatened government shutdown, the Senate has the next move Monday on must-do budget legislation that has fueled a bitter congressional dispute over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

But the Senate won’t be riding to the rescue, at least not immediately. When it convenes at midday, the Democratic-led chamber is expected to reject the latest effort from House Republicans to use a normally routine measure to attack “Obamacare.”

If no compromise can be reached by midnight, Americans would soon see the impact of a government shutdown. National parks would close. Many low-to-moderate incomes borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays.

About 800,000 federal workers would be forced off the job without pay. Some critical services such as patrolling the borders, inspecting meat and controlling air traffic would continue. Social Security benefits would be sent, and the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and poor would continue to pay doctors and hospitals.

Senate rejection would send the measure back to the House, where conservative Republicans want to delay by a year key parts of the new health care law and repeal a tax on medical devices as the price for avoiding a shutdown. A House GOP leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, said the House would rebuff the Senate’s efforts to advance the short-term funding bill as a simple, “clean” measure shorn of anti-heath care reform provisions.

Since the last government shutdown 17 years ago, temporary funding bills known as continuing resolutions have been noncontroversial, with neither party willing to chance a shutdown to achieve legislative goals it couldn’t otherwise win. But with health insurance exchanges set to open Tuesday, tea party Republicans are willing to take the risk in their drive to kill the law, so-called “Obamacare.”

“You’re going to shut down the government if you can’t prevent millions of Americans from getting affordable care,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

A leader of the tea party Republicans, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insisted the blame rests with Senate Democrats.

“The House has twice now voted to keep the government open. And if we have a shutdown, it will only be because when the Senate comes back, (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid says, `I refuse even to talk,’” said Cruz, who led a 21-hour broadside against allowing the temporary funding bill to advance if stripped clean of a tea party-backed provision to derail Obamacare. The effort failed.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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