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For Three Weeks, Republicans Have Held to Their Shutdown Strategy

Posted on by rking

GOP Has Held to Strategy Despite Polls Showing Large Majority of  Americans Oppose Shutting Down the Government Over Affordable Care Act

Over the last three weeks, the House GOP Leadership has continued to cling to and defend their strategy to shut down the government over their resistance to the Affordable Care Act – despite the strong opposition of the American public to such a strategy.

Over these weeks, the House GOP position has consistently been that they refuse to fund the government for FY 2014 unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded, delayed, or dismantled.

As recently as Monday, the New York Times was reporting, “Speaker John A. Boehner stood his ground on Sunday alongside the most conservative Republicans in Congress, insisting that the House would not vote to finance and reopen the government … without concessions from President Obama on the health care law.”

The government is still shut down because Speaker Boehner is still holding to this strategy and is refusing to bring up the Senate-passed clean funding bill, which has enough votes to pass the House, would go directly to the President, and would immediately open up the entire government for all of the American people.

Polls Show Large Majority of Americans Oppose GOP Shutting Down Government Over Affordable Care Act

  • CBS News Poll:  The poll, conducted October 1-2, finds that fully 72 percent of Americans disapprove of shutting down the federal government over differences on the Affordable Care Act; just 25 percent approve of this action.  Even among those who oppose the  health care law, a full 59 percent oppose shutting down the government over differences on the law.
  • United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll:  The poll, conducted October 3-6, finds that 65 percent think “Congress should provide the funding to keep the government operating and deal with the health care issue separately.”  Only just 24 percent think the House “is right to fund the continuing operations of the federal government only if Obama agrees to delay or withdraw his health care plan.”

The Only Government Funding Bills House Republicans Have Sent to Senate Contain Provisions Defunding, Delaying, or Dismantling Affordable Care Act

Over the last three weeks, all three of the versions of the Continuing Resolution to fund the government that the House has sent to the Senate include provisions that defund, delay or dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Here is a brief overview of what has happened over the last three weeks:

  • September 20:  House GOP passed H.J.Res. 59, Continuing Resolution, with provisions to undermine the Affordable Care Act.  These provisions would both defund all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and also effectively permanently repeal many ACA provisions.  The GOP also added “Pay China First Act” provisions to the bill.  The bill went to the Senate.
  • September 27:  Senate removed the Affordable Care Act provisions and “Pay China First Act” provisions and sent H.J.Res. 59 back to the House as a clean funding bill, providing funding through November 15, 2013, at a $986 billion funding level – the funding level requested by Speaker Boehner.
  • September 29:  House GOP again passed H.J.Res. 59 with provisions to undermine the Affordable Care Act.  This time the provisions delayed numerous key provisions in the ACA for one year – including the opening of the Marketplaces that will provide affordable coverage to millions of Americans and the prohibition on discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions – and also repealed the medical device tax.  The bill went again to the Senate.
  • September 30:  Senate tabled the House amendments to the Senate-passed bill of September 27 – leaving H.J.Res. 59 once again as a clean funding bill, with the funding level requested by Speaker Boehner.   The bill went back to the House.
  • September 30:  For the third time, House GOP passed H.J.Res. 59 with provisions to undermine ACA.  This time the provisions delayed the individual responsibility provision for one year, which CBO has projected would increase premiums and would also result in 11 million more uninsured Americans in 2014 compared to current law.  (The GOP also included a provision prohibiting congressional staff and Members from receiving employer contributions for their health insurance.)
  • October 1:  Senate once again tabled the House amendments to the Senate-passed bill of September 27 – leaving H.J.Res. 59 once again as a clean funding bill, with the funding level requested by Speaker Boehner.

House Republicans Had Been Warned That Their Strategy Would Fail And Now It Has

Below is just a sampling of how many had warned House Republicans that a strategy of providing no funding for the government unless legislation undermining the Affordable Care Act was signed into law would be a failure.  The House Republican Leadership didn’t listen.  And now they have a failed strategy on their hands.

  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):  “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare.  We will not.  And to think we can is not rational.”
  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK):  “It’s not an achievable strategy.  It’s creating the false impression that you can do something when you can’t.  And it’s dishonest.”
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC):  “I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard… as long as Barack Obama is president the Affordable Care Act is gonna be law.  I think some of these guys need to understand that if you shut down the government, you better have a specific reason to do it that’s achievable.”
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