Can the GOP Get Away With Defunding Obamacare?
Congress has an approval problem. According to the results of a Gallup survey publisher earlier in September, just 16 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job. This is up from an approval rating of just 14 percent in August — a jump perhaps influenced by the dominance of Syria in the political conversation over the past few weeks — but still represents an enormous failure on the part of America’s elected officials. A separate survey conducted by Gallup shows that just 42 percent of Americans trust the government’s ability to handle domestic problems, an all-time low.
But if there’s one thing that does seem able to inspire policymakers to action, it’s the ire of their constituents. More than anything, members of Congress need to curry the favor of voters, and with approval ratings so low, elected officials have to do what they can to ensure re-election.
This seems to be what’s at play in the upper echelons of the GOP. Earlier this week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) bowed to pressure from conservative members of his caucus and agreed to tie the funding of the government — which is expected to exceed its spending limit on October 1 — to the defunding of the Affordable Care Act.