Obamacare 'Defund' Vote is the Latest Dumb Ploy By House GOP

More than three years have passed since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare." Yet the struggle for acceptance and implementation of Obamacare continues as House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that he would pass a continuing resolution on Friday, which would provide government funding until December 15, but would defund Obamacare.

It will "[protect] American people from Obamacare," Boehner said. His fellow Republican Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), who had proposed a bill to defund Obamacare until 2015, also reportedly said on Wednesday, "Today was a step forward, and a win for the American people." 

The bill doesn't seem to be getting much support from Republican senators, and is unlikely to pass in the Senate. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly said, "Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead. Dead." Even in an unlikely event that the bill passes the Senate, it won't go much further as Obama "promised he would veto" the bill.

The strong disagreement between Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate makes it hard to predict the outcome of next year's fiscal plan, but the concern is whether this will exacerbate the situation to a possible federal government shutdown.

Recall the federal government shutdown in 1995 and 1996, when the disagreement between President Clinton and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich caused two government shutdowns for 28 days in total. During those periods, "critical services" necessary to "protect human life and property" continued to operate, but other non-essential government activities and public services did not.

A report released in August 2013 by Congressional Research Service listed some effects the shutdowns caused. These included the closure of almost 370 National Park Services sites, the closures of national museums and monuments, millions of dollars in losses by U.S. tourist industries and airlines, and the furloughing of employees of federal contractors without pay.

Government shutdowns do not necessarily entail these same losses or results, but any type of economic loss in today's economy is bad for American people. So when is enough?

According to a recent Ramussen Reports poll, "a large majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, oppose 'shutting down the government as a way to defund the president's health care law.'"

And it's about time some politicians deeply consider who and what they are fighting for. 

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Eunji Kim

Interested in race and gender issues and Asian politics. Recent grad from Rutgers/Douglass Residential College. Former intern at Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and The Nation.

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