Using Obamacare as a hostage in the congressional budget negotiations to prevent a government shutdown will hurt House Republicans and the conservative agenda in the long run, warns National Review contributor Jim Geraghty
"Shutting down the government to 'punish' Obama and federal workers may feel cathartic at the moment, but it is likely to weaken the leverage of the House GOP and with it, the cause of limited government," writes Geraghty, who is also the author of the magazine's online morning newsletter "Morning Jolt."
"Ultimately, nothing may persuade the public about the undesirability of Obamacare more than living under it," Geraghty said.
To drive home his point, Geraghty lists the impacts a temporary shutdown will have on Republican spending priorities, including delayed death benefits to military families and delayed paychecks to 1.4 million active-duty military personnel who must remain at their posts. Nearly a half-million of the military's civilian force will be on temporary unpaid leave.
Businesses will be unable to access E-Verify, the system used to check the immigration status of potential employees, and the State Department will not issue visas and passports, Geraghty says.
Intelligence agencies will furlough nonessential employees, as will most federal law enforcement agencies at the Justice Department, he adds.
However, government programs that will not be affected by a shutdown include Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment checks, and Tuesday's kick-off of Obamacare.
"We on the right can, and will, correctly argue that the shutdown is largely the fault of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama, for refusing to accept a one-year delay in Obamacare’s individual mandate, or for refusing to compromise on anything else about the program," Geraghty writes.
"Many in the media will insist it’s all the fault of those Republican bogeymen," Geraghty said.
"It’s possible that a shutdown will hurt Obama as much as it hurts Republicans. But even if the public reaction is 'a pox on both your houses,' that doesn’t necessarily improve fortunes for the right as a whole," Geraghty said.
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