Budget Impasse: Who Will Go Down With the Ship?
The countdown clocks have taken center stage. Less than 24 hours remain until the new fiscal year starts at midnight on October 1, and if policymakers fail to pass a short-term funding measure — known as a continuing resolution — non-essential government operations will begin shutting down come Tuesday morning, and the atmosphere is thick with pessimism.
At issue is the Affordable Care Act (or, Obamacare), which has become so politically divisive that policymakers have had pretty much no choice but to dig trenches on either side of the issue and lob rhetoric-packed grenades at each other. Fighting began in earnest last week with the opening salvo from the GOP. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a CR that would defund Obamacare. Defunding the president’s healthcare law is pretty much anathema for Democrats, and a Senate vote on Friday afternoon sent the CR back to the house sans the defunding measure.
Early on Sunday morning, the House voted on and passed a CR that would not defund Obamacare, but would instead only delay its implementation for one year (the controversial exchanges are scheduled to open on Tuesday, alongside the start of the new fiscal year for the government). The House CR also called for the removal of a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices that is designed to help pay for the ACA.