Is the GOP Done Complaining About Obamacare?
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are slowly leaving off mention of Obamacare — the popular moniker for the Affordable Care Act — in their political rhetoric. After nine full days of the partial government shutdown, the party’s strategy has noticeably shifted from primarily focusing on the need to tie any continuing resolution to fund the government to the defunding of the health care reform to calls for Congress to rein in the federal deficit.
It is a switch that the GOP’s leadership is counting on to strengthen their position in the fight over raising the United States debt ceiling, or the total amount of money that the government is authorized to borrow in order to meet its existing legal obligations. It is set by Congress and applies to debt owed to the public and federal government trust funds like Social Security. Currently, the debt ceiling is set at almost $16.7 trillion.
The government shutdown was the result of the GOP’s efforts to detail the implementation of the health care reform. Republicans — led by Tea Party-backed conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas — refused to vote for any spending bill that appropriated money for Obamacare, while to Democrats, that amendment was unacceptable. Leaders of the party, Ryan, Cantor, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, adopted that strategy only reluctantly.