Over the next 4 days, the House of Representatives is set to vote on keeping the Government open. With so many issues facing our nation, it should be an embarrassment to us all that this is what Congress is spending their time on right now.
The entire brouhaha is centered, of course, around the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Extreme elements of the GOP are holding the operation of the US Government hostage in hopes that the President will agree to dismantle healthcare reform, his signature accomplishment, to keep the government open.
They’ve got to know that this won’t work.
There’s nothing for the GOP to gain by hanging on here. This fight has caused significant fracturing within the party (although it was entertaining to find out how John McCain really feels about Ted Cruz).
The last shutdown cost their party dearly. If cooler heads don’t prevail, it may be impossible to avoid this time.
The thing is, if Obamacare is so bad, then no one has to do anything to make it go away. Just let the exchanges go into effect, and if it really is as bad as they say it will be, the people would elect a Congress and a President to repeal it at the first chance they get.
Don’t hold your breath, though.
Mercifully, there’s still a way out. GOP leadership in the house has two main options here:
- They can fight until the bitter end and shut the Government down until they get 100% of what they want. (See: Spoiled kids in Wal-Mart)
- They can accept the law of the land and move on with governing.
Accepting the law and moving on is the only realistic option here (whether they do it or not). John McCain made a great comment when he said that elections have consequences. He went on to add that,
…the American people supported the president of the United States and renewed his stewardship of this country.
This was, of course, in response to Sen. Ted Cruz, who wasted hot air, media attention, and a lot of electricity with his 21 hour fail-ibuster.
Here are the facts that Sen. McCain alluded to: The President was elected on this issue. Both houses of Congress passed the bill (image left). The President signed it into law. The President was re-elected on this issue. The Supreme Court upheld the law.
That’s all 3 branches, folks. This is as solid as new legislation gets.
Fox News pundits have said that de-funding this law won’t work. True, since the Democratic-controlled senate won’t pass any such bill, and the President would never sign such a bill into law. The GOP doesn’t have a veto-proof majority, so they can’t jam it past the President. So I agree with Fox News on that.
The last time we had a Government shutdown, it stunted economic growth. Even flirting with a shutdown is bad. A quarter of all workers in the US are federal employees or work for a company that has contracts with the Government. That means 38 million US employees have reason to be concerned about their paychecks in October.
Is that what we want to do to our economy right now?
Here’s the truth: They’re making this last ditch effort out of fear and desperation. They know that once they sky doesn’t fall and people start experiencing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, they won’t let it go anywhere.
I get that they didn’t want this law. I respect the opposition they mounted, and they’ve lost that fight. It’s time to govern now.
This isn’t a game. Toying with a Government shutdown affects real people in a negative way. It’s bad for the economy. It’s bad for Democracy. It’s bad for our nation.
Can we grow up, already? This is a dumb idea.