The fundamental exercise of government, passing a national budget, hangs in the balance as lawmakers in Washington score political points ahead of a potential government shutdown. The next fiscal year begins October 1, and without a budget agreement, federally-funded services and employees will be in jeopardy.
A 230-189 vote on H.J.Res. 59 fell on partisan lines Friday, apart from two House Democrats who voted for the resolution and one Republican who voted against it. The continuing resolution would temporarily fund the government while removing appropriations for the Affordable Care Act, a bargain that has almost no chance of passing the Senate.
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said any bill defunding the ACA would be ‘dead’ while speaking on C-SPAN and added that, “this is not the time for political stunts.”
Despite 41 previous, fruitless attempts to avert ACA’s implementation, House Republicans went forward with an empty gesture. While budget talks have predictably come to a head, each side is holding the country hostage to drum up support for narrow-minded ends.
Congressional Republicans have been attempting to outflank one another as the most outspoken opponents of Obamacare, even going so far to encourage a filibuster on their own bill, evidenced by Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Yet, when it comes to ‘juvenile political games,’ Sen. Reid is no stranger to legislative tricks. In July, Reid withheld his own immigration bill from progressing to the House of Representatives after passing the Senate 68 to 32, but produced little in the way of tangible results since it raised revenues, something only the House can do.
Among all the political cheap shots, the national press has played into Washington’s political theater. Combative headlines abound surrounding the budget talks, with no compromise in sight. Fox News led with, ‘Groups Wage Grassroots Battle Ahead of Obamacare Launch’ and NBC answered, ‘Obama blasts Congress for failure to pass budget bill.’
Genuine budget negotiations are not the priority as House lawmakers are playing volleyball with each side’s pet issues, whether it’s immigration for Democrats or Obamacare for Republicans.
The October 1 deadline has not come as a surprise for lawmakers, and neither should their 81 percent disapproval rating.