By Celia Murray
The Republican Party appears determined to pursue its losing effort to abolish the Affordable Care Act– ObamaCare. The GOP-controlled House of Representatives has voted more that 40 times to repeal the law, all to no avail. Now, the right-wing fringe of the party is holding the federal government’s budget hostage to get their way and is threatening to plunge the world economy into a depression.
Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act. The House and Senate voted in favor of it. The President signed it into law. The Supreme Court found it to be constitutional. As a recent Washington Post editorial stated, “Republicans, having opposed the bill and supported the legal challenge to it, are entitled to be unhappy about the outcome, though in our view they are wrong on the merits. They are not entitled to obstruct and flout the laws of the United States. On the contrary, they have an obligation to cooperate in good faith with wholly legitimate laws duly passed and reviewed by all three branches of government.”
A large part of the conservative base is demanding that party leaders force a shutdown of the federal government next week rather than allow ObamaCare to continue to be implemented. House Republicans are holding the government budget process hostage. Congress needs to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The House, where the GOP holds the majority, may vote for this. But the Senate, where Democrats hold power, would not. And, of course, President Obama would never nullify the biggest legislative accomplishment of his presidency.
So with no authorization to spend money, much of the government would have to shut down. Failing that, some far-right-wing fanatics are threatening to refuse to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Such a move would, in the opinion of virtually all mainstream economists, result in disaster.
Raising the debt ceiling does not mean one penny of additional spending. It only provides a means to pay bills that Congress has already voted to incur– that America pays the debts she has already rung up.
The GOP tried a government shutdown in the mid-1990s, and it was a political disaster for them. Even then, Republicans were not willing to use the threat of default to achieve their goals.
Why would Republicans risk financial catastrophe to kill ObamaCare? After all, if ObamaCare turns out to be the disaster the GOP claims it will be, why not just let it fail on its own lack of merits? Surely, that is more prudent than risking the full faith and credit of the United States.
Celia Murray is a member of the Morgan County Democratic Committee.