I’ll have more to write on the possibility of a federal government shutdown in the near future, but I want to pass along a couple of things right now.
In their efforts – which are now approaching frantic – to stop the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare – from going into effect, the GOP majority in the House passed a measure to continue to fund federal operations, but cut off the new health care law. So, 217 Members of Congress are willing to force government to grind to a halt in order to make a statement they’ve already made 42 times with their votes to repeal the law. They may succeed in forcing a shutdown, but I’m skeptical. However, read Byron York’s detailed report on the likely fate of the bill in the Senate. It ain’t gonna fly, and some Rs are pretty ticked we’re even having this battle.
The NY Times also editorialized on the politics behind the political theater. Basically, some of the most extreme ideas have some of the most money behind them, and the people with that money, as I’ve posted before, darn well intend to spend it.
So some Members are scared you-know-what-less of being targeted for a primary defeat next year.
Of course, if they don’t manage to shut down the government, they’ll just go at it again when we hit the debt ceiling later in October. Then they’ll be trying a far more dangerous gambit, risking another economic crisis in order to stop a law they probably realize will actually deliver on its promise.
Back in 1994, Newt Gingrich warned his fellow Republicans they had to stop the Clinton health care reform law, no matter what the cost, because if Americans came to realize that a government-administered health insurance program (can you say “Medicare?”) worked, then the crucial pillar of Republican ideology, that “government isn’t the solution; government is the problem” would be knocked down.