President Barack Obama warned Republicans Monday afternoon that they are on a fool’s errand trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which he said will be implemented whether there is a government shutdown or not.
In a late afternoon White House address, Obama called on Congress to call off the brinkmanship and reiterated that he’s willing to work with any party to make the health care law work better and keep the economy improving.
“But one faction of one party, in one house of Congress, in one branch of government, doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to fight the results of an election,” Obama said, clearly referring the Republican right wing in the House. “Keeping the government open is not a concession to me. ... It’s not something you give to the other side. It is our basic responsibility.”
Obama is banking on cooler heads prevailing and that lawmakers will come to a deal at least at the eleventh hour. Without action for Congress to pass a 2014 continuing resolution by midnight, there will be a government shutdown Tuesday that will affect hundreds of thousands of federal employees. Those federal workers who stay on the job, the president said, will do so without pay -- money that could’ve been spent in the economy.
“A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people right away,” Obama said. “The idea of putting the American people’s hard-earned progress at risk is the height of irresponsibility. It does not have to happen.”
The president again called on Congress to pass a "clean" continuing resolution without making any extraneous demands.
“An important part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect tomorrow no matter what Congress decided to do today,” Obama warned. “You can’t shut it down,” he added, pointing out the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed the law constitutional.
After the Senate rejected a House GOP amendment to delay the law and repeal the medical device tax earlier Monday, a clean continuing resolution to fund the government for the 2014 fiscal year now returns to the House. Lawmakers there must decide whether to pass the measure as is -- funding the health care law and keeping the government open after midnight, or to make other amendments and send the bill back to the Senate for consideration.
But a 2013 government shutdown is ever so likely, as at this time, the House reportedly plans to delay the individual mandate and cancel health insurance subsidies for members of Congress, the president and administration appointees, according to Politico.
This move is certainly a gamble and could result in lawmakers missing the deadline, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the Democratic-led upper house will not cave in to any “Republican attempt to force changes to the Affordable Care Act through a mandatory government funding bill or the debt ceiling.”
Reid has since called on Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to “stop trying to force a government shutdown” and let all 435 House members have their say instead of just the majority.
As for the chances of bill without the attacks on Obamacare hitting the House floor, Boehner said, “That’s not going to happen.”
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...