Cooler heads will prevail in the fall. That’s what President Barack Obama said on Friday when asked about Republicans’ threat of a government shutdown if money is appropriated to fund the Affordable Car Act, commonly called Obamacare.
“The idea to shut down the government at a time when the economy is gaining some traction ... I am assuming that they will not take that path,” Obama said. “I have confidence that common sense in the end will prevail.”
House Republicans voted 232 to 185 last week to block the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the new health care law. It was the 40th attempt they’ve made to either repeal Obamacare or destroy portions of it or defund the law. Their contention has moved beyond the argument that the law is bad to one of fairness. Recognizing that Obamacare is the law of the land, Republicans have taken issue with the fact that Obama decided to unilaterally delay for a year the employer mandate to provide insurance. The individual mandate is still set to take effect, with enrollment to begin in October. However, Republicans want families to be afforded the same reprieve as businesses.
Congress is now on a monthlong recess, but when lawmakers retrain in September they will have just nine legislative days in order to work out the budget issues. The U.S. has been bouncing from fiscal crisis to crisis and has largely relied on a temporary appropriations bill known as a continuing resolution to keep government agencies open. A 2014 continuing resolution is needed to keep agencies open beyond Sept. 30.
Obama said the idea that Republicans would shut down the government in order to prevent millions from receiving health care is a “bad idea.” He encouraged them to shift their thinking to focus on how to improve the lives of those in the middle class.