Lawmakers Now Refocus on Obamacare and Its Flaws
The fiscal standoff in Washington is over. The United States will not default on its public debt and the federal government will have the funds to continue operating thanks to a piece of legislation passed Wednesday night by both the Senate and the House of Representatives that authorized current spending levels through January 15 and extended the debt cushion until February 7. Of course, the bill is more like a temporary bandage than an actual solution, and the postponement of the unresolved budget dispute is giving congressional lawmakers the time to turn the debate to what actually precipitated the political crisis — the Affordable Care Act.
A strange twist of fate placed the beginning of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act and the first day of the new fiscal year on the same day: October 1. That coincidence gave Republicans an opportunity, or what they thought was an opportunity. At the end of September, Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed through a stopgap bill, by a party-line vote of 230 to 189, that would fund the federal government for the upcoming fiscal year if discretionary spending for the Affordable Care Act was eliminated. Both President Barack Obama and Democrats in the Senate, where the party has a majority, prevented that legislation from progressing any further than the House of Representatives, which of course put the government on course to shut down.