As the clock winds down toward the August recess, House Republicans are busying themselves with dead-end message bills to nowhere and threatening to shutdown the government if they don’t repeal or defund the patient protections and budget savings in the Affordable Care Act. Nowhere on the GOP agenda is a plan to address the real pressing business of the American people – job creation, strengthening the economy and middle class families, agreeing on a budget, and replacing the brutal sequester with responsible cuts.
As noted congressional scholar Norm Ornstein told the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank:
“Irresponsible’ is a term that doesn’t go nearly far enough…You could say it’s a do-nothing Congress but that doesn’t do justice to it. These guys are doing something, which is to destroy the economic fabric of the country by holding the functions of government hostage to a non-negotiable demand to eliminate Obamacare.”
More from Milbank’s column:
House Republicans, in their final days at work before taking a five-week vacation, have come out with a new agenda: “Stop Government Abuse.”…
But the real “government abuse” is what the House itself is doing: Only four of the 12 appropriations bills have cleared the chamber so far. And because the House plans to be in session just nine days in September, that guarantees that government finances won’t be in order in time for the new fiscal year.
House Republicans aren’t even trying to get the job done – which would seem to confirm the suspicion that they are precipitating a crisis.
According to the House GOP schedule, Congress will end the week voting for the 40th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act… a showy, closing number before summer break. But the Republican fixation on repeal is part of a larger plan to “undermine the law and obstruct its implementation.”
From the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, Sabotaging the health law:
The GOP’s irresponsible threats are just the latest in a long series of attempts to undermine the law and obstruct its implementation. Lacking the votes to repeal the law or any of its major provisions, they’ve waged a guerrilla war against it. Granted, the Obama administration hasn’t helped matters by falling behind on the rules needed to administer the law’s provisions. But at least it’s making a good-faith effort…
What’s unusual this time is that Congress hasn’t tried to address the inevitable problems that have cropped up by amending the law. Instead, lawmakers have fought round after round over the GOP’s efforts to replace Obamacare with … nothing. The current gambit to shut down the government unless the law is defunded is so extreme that even some conservative Republican senators have backed away or even denounced it. Yet it’s the logical extension of the GOP’s all-or-nothing approach to the healthcare law. Rather than trying to make the law work, they’re doing everything they can to help it fail, even if some constituents are hurt in the process. That’s just wrong, no matter how you feel about Obamacare.
Americans want Congress to focus on jobs and economic growth, not more partisan games and political posturing. Let the Affordable Care Act alone and let it work. It is time for the GOP to focus on spurring our economy and strengthening the middle class.