House Republicans’ budget to nowhere
In highly publicized action Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution on the federal budget that sets up a likely government shutdown and accomplishes — what, exactly?
✔ It supposedly defunds Obamacare, but nearly everyone involved agrees that won’t occur.
✔ It attempts to send a message to Democrats that Republicans really hate Obamacare by potentially punishing millions of Americans who depend on government services, along with military personnel and others who rely on federal paychecks.
✔ It adds uncertainty to an already fidgety economy, making it more difficult than ever for businesses to make decisions about hiring, production, plant expansion and more.
✔ It allows the Republican Party to take careful aim and shoot itself directly in the foot.
✔ It may be a forerunner of another debt-default fight next month that could further harm the economy and risk another credit downgrade for our country.
The first issue is the latest symbolic effort by House Republicans to end the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The continuing resolution passed Friday to keep government running beyond Sept. 30, would pay for government operations until December, but only if funding for Obamacare is eliminated.
Problem is, Senate Democrats have already said that plan is going nowhere. Even if it did, President Barack Obama has pledged to veto it. Democrats aren’t about to abandon Obamacare because the GOP is threatening a government shutdown.
On top of that, even if the budget measure somehow got past the Senate and the president, it really wouldn’t defund Obamacare. Congressman Scott Tipton, touting his support of the House budget vote, said as much in a press release Friday.
“Because the vast majority of the law is funded through mandatory spending and much of those funds have already been spent, ‘substantial’ Obamacare implementation would continue even without funding,” the Tipton release said.
The shutdown threat reminds us of the infamous National Lampoon magazine cover showing a cute dog with a gun to its head. “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog,” the headline read. House Republicans have the gun pointed at the U.S. economy, the business community and millions of individual Americans, while their threat is directed at Democrats. But Democrats won’t be blamed for the government shutdown. Republicans will. Don’t take our word for it. Karl Rove, the GOP strategist and no fan of Obamacare, said exactly that in a column in The Wall Street Journal Thursday.
This newspaper didn’t support Obamacare when it was passed. And while we think there are some good aspects to it, we, like millions of Americans, worry about what it will do to businesses, individuals and the U.S. economy.
But the way to change that is by electing more people to Congress and the White House who will attack the law. It is not by adopting symbolic budget measures that have no chance of passing but stand a great chance of doing significant short-term harm to the United States and its people.