Government Shutdown Looming Over Obamacare, Sequester

Saturday, 27 Jul 2013 01:09 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Lawmakers appear headed toward a government shutdown in October, with the White House and congressional leaders remaining adamant that they won't change their views on Obamacare or spending.

Twelve Republican senators have all said they won't sign a spending bill that includes funding for Obamacare, reports U.S. News and World Report.

The lawmakers include 2016 presidential hopefuls Marco Rubio, Florida, and Ted Cruz, Texas, who joined with Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Thune of South Dakota and others in a letter written by Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, which warns Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of their plan to block any such funding measures.

Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Repealed? Vote in Urgent National Poll

In addition, 69 House Republicans have signed a letter that will be given to Speaker John Boehner to demand that a continuing resolution be approved that would cut ObamaCare financing entirely.

But President Barack Obama is considering a strategy to veto any bill that does not roll back sequester cuts that were enacted earlier this year, and Reid has declared he has no interest in continuing government funding at sequestration levels, which have cut about $100 billion per year across the board to both defense and non-defense programs, according to The Hill

The looming government shutdown is also becoming more likely because the showdown is coming during an off-year for presidential elections. Obama is already in office, and the next presidential election remains three years away, leaving little incentive to strike a deal.

Republicans are also being pushed by Tea Party groups, such as the Club for Growth, to adopt the plan to block Obamacare funding. A refusal to back the funding block could give such groups reason to complain that some lawmakers aren't backing conservative principles and cost them votes.

Tea Party groups could also choose to back candidates of their own choice to oppose incumbent Republicans they don't approve of, such as in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a primary challenge against Tea Party-backed Matt Bevin.

The White House's threats over the sequester funding could backfire, though, said Arkansas Republican Rep. Tim Griffin, because frustrated Republicans may feel pushed to join in the growing call to defund Obamacare.

Griffin said the White House threat "came completely out of left-field, literally and figuratively," calling it "completely other-worldish."

"You've got a president who is pledging to shut down the government if the Congress passes spending bills at the levels he set," Griffin said. "I don't know what to say except, I guess they are flailing ... this is mind-boggling."

But not all Republicans enforce a shutdown, reports U.S. World News and Report.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr called a shutdown over Obamacare "the dumbest ideas I have ever heard of."

"Some of these guys need to understand that if you shut down the federal government you better have a certain reason to do it that is achievable," Burr told reporters.

"At some point, you’re going to open the federal government back up, and Barack Obama’s going to be president, and he won’t have signed a dissolution of the Affordable Care Act.”

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest also claimed Republicans' threats for a shutdown also make no sense, because they would "suck a lot of the momentum out of our nascent economic recovery."

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

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