The politics of the shutdown

Last week congress failed to shut pass a new budget, shutting down the government.

At the end of every fiscal year (october first to september 30th), congress is obligated by the constitution to pass a new budget. This year, however, they failed to do so.

House republicans passed a budget on September 30th that included the delay of the Affordable Care Act (passed on 2009) by another year.

The Senate democrats, led by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, voted down the bill.

“What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. I don’t what other word I can use. They are obsessed with this Obamacare thing.” said Reid to reporters last wednesday.

So what does the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have to do with the federal government’s budget? Nothing.

When the government shut down, the ACA was not affected because it has separate funding like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security do.

The budget was used by house republicans to make the senate democrats face an ultimatum: delay Obamacare or shutdown the government.

Senator John Boehner, leader of the republican party and speaker of the house, and the tea party republicans, who control the house, crafted the bill which included the end of the Affordable Care Act which was passed to the Senate after House democrats, lead by Nancy Pelosi, where unable to kill the bill.

In August, eighty tea party republicans and conservatives, wrote a letter to Boehner asking him to use the budget deadline in order to kill the ACA.

“Today, 79 of my House colleagues joined me in sending a letter to Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor encouraging them to defund Obamacare through the appropriations process.  We want House leadership to know they have a large group of Members ready to stand with them to stop the president’s destructive and unaffordable health care law.” said Rep. Mark Meadows, who wrote the letter in August.

The democrats are also to blame. They failed to negotiate on the delay of ACA, which is flawed and could have benefitted from more time being spent to fix it.

Now congress is trying to pass partial budgets to keep national parks opened and to fund cirten welfare programs like WIC, which helps to feed mothers and children.

Republicans and Democrats need to negotiate soon in order to prevent the shutdown from having a major impact on the US economy.