Blocking Obamacare funding does not equal shutting down the government
For over 200 years, the American government’s budget has not included funding for Obamacare. This year, the budget will begin funding Obamacare. Conservative Republicans are arguing that we need to not fund this law. Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell are saying that we must fund it to avoid losing a shutdown battle, but they may be willing to delay the individual mandate (again).
The reasons for defunding this program are simple and straightforward. It is a law that the American people who are paying for it don’t want (in overwhelming majorities). It was passed on a purely partisan basis and broke Senate rules to get there. The treasury doesn’t have the assets to pay for it. Republicans have no reason to fund it. The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse for a reason. It is within the purview of the people’s representatives to fund-or-not-to-fund. While Congress must honor the expenditures of past Congresses, new Congresses are not indebted to pay for the mistakes of their predecessors. In fact, they were elected to fix those mistakes.
The House GOP can pass a continuing resolution budget that funds everything except for this new program. This move would avoid a government shutdown. Should a shutdown follow, the dynamics of it will be different than previous showdowns because it will be completely initiated by the Democratic President.
This time, the House is not forcing the government to cut and end programs, but merely refusing to start a new one. So, if Republicans keep the government rolling, it will have to be Obama who chooses to shut the government down. Which he may be willing to do. But the American people will see who is on a political crusade as he fights for his legacy.