The Republicans have decided to play hardball. The party voted 231-192 in favor of a spending plan that would stall Obamacare for a year. They also voted 248-174 to repeal Obamacare’s tax on medical devices. The devices tax is especially harmful because it taxes medical innovation.
Time, however, is running out for congress. If no deal is reached by the start of Tuesday, the government will be forced to shut down. House Republicans and Democrat are yet again finding it difficult to reach a compromise.
The Republicans are opposed to the President’s medical device tax because they believe it will send jobs overseas. This is a viewpoint shared by a number of House Democrats as well. Despite this, Democrats intend to stand firm so as to to push Obamacare through. President Obama is also prepared to veto an opposition if necessary.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the Republicans’ defiant game plan “pointless”. It turns out that even if the shutdown were to happen it would not stop Obamacare from continuing. This is because the funding needed for Obamacare comes mainly from new taxes and cost cuts to government programs like Medicare. In other words, even if Republicans succeeded at forcing a government shutdown the Democrats could still vote Obamacare into law. A government shutdown does stop the law from taking effect. This was pointed out to Republican Senator of Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, by the Congressional Research Service.
A shutdown of the government would cause major disruption to Americans. Thankfully, the U.S. Postal Service, Social Security and Medicare would still continue to function but and estimated 800 000 government workers would not get paid. The overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want this to happen.
Republicans are vehemently opposed to many of the provisions of Obamacare, including forcing health insurance companies to provide coverage for anyone who wants it as well as making it mandatory for Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Even so, if Obamacare becomes law, all Americans would have to abide by it and a government shutdown would only cause the public unnecessary pain. Republicans are concerned that they may be blamed for the shutdown. This would almost certainly undermine their plans for dealing with the federal debt ceiling – an issue that needs to be resolved only a week later.
(source via CNN.com)