For weeks, GOP members of Congress have been bragging about closing down the country—at least until someone directly asks them about doing this. Then they deny what they’re doing. The conservative media has danced around the issue until recently. Today, however, USA Today editorial board took a shot at the stupidity of the GOP behavior:
“Republicans’ obsession with overturning ObamaCare is getting sillier and more dangerous at the same time. Now that they’ve failed to kill the law every way the rules allow — in Congress, the Supreme Court and in a presidential election — the opponents are taking hostages and, in effect, threatening to shoot them if they don’t get their way.
“Unfortunately for everyone involved, the hostages are the federal government and the U.S. economy.
“The first hostage was taken Friday, when the House’s GOP majority passed a bill that would keep the government running after Sept. 30, but only if ObamaCare is defunded.
“That’s not going to happen.”
The editorial continued with a description of the corner where House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) finds himself in after he finished painting the floor in front of him. President Obama won’t let Obamacare be gutted, and leaders of the Senate’s Democratic majority will strip out the ObamaCare language and return the funding bill to the House. The House can either pass the Senate plan and keep the government running, or trigger a shutdown.
Like the debacle of 1995-96, a shutdown will hurt small businesses through their loss of government contracts, closes national parks and passport offices, delay millions of veterans’ benefits, and take pay from almost one million federal workers.
Even dumber, the GOP has Plan B for defunding Obamacare–attaching a demand to delay Obamacare for a year to the upcoming bill raising the debt ceiling. That’s when the stock market starts to crash and the interest rates skyrocket. The global economy is far more fragile than it was three years ago when GOP members of Congress made the same threat; even the hint that the U.S. government would default on its debts would send the world’s economy into a tailspin.
The Washington Post described Boehner’s House as a “train wreck” and poked fun at the Speaker. As Ezra Klein pointed out, “with a straight face” Boehner said, “You know, we had a victory today for the American people.” Klein’s comparison between the Senate and the House shows a stark comparison—and the Senate isn’t exactly a shining example of accomplishment this year.
The Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform with bipartisan support. It passed a farm bill and then a budget, moving it to conference with the House. The House has no immigration reform bill, broke its farm bill into pieces, and refused to conference with the Senate on the budget.
Criticized for passing mostly laws that the Senate rejects, Boehner said, “We should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” he told CBS. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.” Despite trying to overturn Obamacare at least 42 times—the most recent this morning—Boehner’s House hasn’t repealed one law.
In less than 35 years, approval of Congress has decreased by 75 percent:
O’Reilly describes the effort to defund Obamacare as “fanaticism,” and Charles Krauthammer called the GOP group aiming for government shutdown a “suicide caucus.” Boehner brags about obeying “the will of the American people,” but Just 6 percent of registered voters think that Congress should delay and defund the law.
This morning’s vote to defund Obamacare—and leave the economy-slowing sequester in place—was 230 to 189. Rep. Scott Rigell (VA) was the sole Republican to buck his party; the two Democrats to vote in favor of the GOP bill were Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC) and Rep. Jim Matheson (UT).
GOP members don’t really care about defunding Obamacare; they want to raise money. Their storm about eliminating a law that benefits people has provided them more money than touting anti-abortion laws. Last month, the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee connected to Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, raised $1.5 million, its largest-ever monthly total for a non-election year. The “Don’t Fund Obamacare” website also picked up over 1.5 million signatures to contact for future funding. Brian Walsh, a former spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said, “[T]his is about political cash, not political principle.”
Rachel Maddow said, “You find people who have fears or strong desires, particularly if those fears and desires are poorly informed and very visceral, and then you capitalize on those fears and desires. You capitalize on them literally, by getting those folks to send you their capital, to send you some of their money, because you tricked them into thinking you will take care of it, that you’re going to get it done.”
The GOP’s biggest fear is that Obamacare will go into effect, and the people in the country will see how it benefits them. For example, about 6.4 million people can buy health insurance for $100 or less per month using the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. In just 11 more days, people can shop for coverage and compare options on the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Insurance companies have already lowered their premiums after seeing that their prices were higher than those of other companies.
About 56 percent of currently uninsured individuals can qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or tax credits to purchase coverage. If all 50 states expand Medicaid, up to 78 percent of currently uninsured people could qualify because Obamacare covers people who make up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. At this time, only 25 states have decided to take the full federal funding to expand their Medicaid programs.
Anti-Obamacare legislators are getting help from the Koch brothers who are funding a totally false advertising campaign. A minute-long video shows a young woman who “signs up for Obamacare” and is threatened with being examined by someone in a creepy Uncle Sam costume. “Don’t let government play doctor,” the video tells viewers. “Opt out of Obamacare.” The front group for the Koch brothers, Generation Opportunity, plans a tour of 20 college campuses to haunt pro-Obamacare activists such as Enroll America working to sign people up for the insurance exchanges.
The Affordable Care Act makes routine, preventive care in this area of public health–mammograms, pap smears, etc.–available to women without a co-pay. It has nothing to do with how these are performed. Conservatives are the ones forcing medical procedures on women, such as transvaginal ultrasounds before women can have abortions. Conservatives are the ones forcing medical guidelines by closing Planned Parenthood clinics and replacing these with clinics that refuse abortions but provide false scary information about the procedures.
Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote a very pointed column about the hypocrisy of GOP opposition to Obamacare:
“WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Saying that they needed to be in peak physical condition for their looming effort to defund Obamacare, over a hundred House Republicans lined up for their free annual physicals today.
“The physicals, part of Congress’s government-subsidized health-care package, yielded good news for many of the House G.O.P., who learned that they were strong and healthy enough for the demanding task of defunding Obamacare.”
The majority of the House of Representatives—those who voted to keep people from having affordable health insurance—have no shame.