House Republicans are threatening to cause a government shutdown if funding is not cut to the Affordable Healthcare Act, which has colloquially become known as Obamacare. If Congress refuses to pass the government funding bill and another that will increase the amount that America can borrow, the federal government could shutdown and thereby default on all its debts.
On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stated that he would support a measure that funds the federal government but ends funding for Obamacare.
Boehner’s support of the Republican proposal greatly increased the odds that a government shutdown will occur. Congress has only 12 days to come to a consensus and, with Democrats strongly opposed to an Obamacare funding cut, a quick resolution seems unlikely.
Boehner was pushed into a corner by his fellow Republicans and stated that the standoff was not his first choice. ”We listened to our colleagues over the course of the last week,” he said, “and we have a plan that they are happy with we are going forward.”
The list of colleagues Boehner mentioned includes 40 tea party Republicans and notably does not include any Democrats.
One of the most vocal critics of Obamacare, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., said that Republicans want to take real action against Obamacare and are tired of waiting for its repeal. ”This is a devastating law that’s having a devastating impact on all of our health care across the country,” said Scalise.
Scalise defended the government shutdown threat, claiming that “more and more senators” are starting to perceive problems with Obamacare.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a strong supporter of the healthcare law, exclaimed, “They’re on a different planet,” in response to Scalise’s comment. ”This small group of people, who even Republicans know are off the deep end on this issue, have the Republican leadership in the House so shaken and scared that that leadership is going along with that insane plan.”
There are some Republicans who dislike Obamacare but think a causing a full government shutdown is the wrong strategy.
“I don’t think that any reasonable person thinks there’s anything to be gained by a government shutdown,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. “Rather than a shutdown of government, what we need is a Republican victory in 2014 so we can be in control. I’m not sure those are mutually compatible.”