Well it has happened; the government has shut down. But seriously now, is anyone surprised? Nah…not those of us who work for The Contemplative Thinker where we have interns, volunteers, and some very nominally paid authors.
I have been wanting to say all day – that we admittedly did not want to start any kind of bad berries – through coverage of our disrespectful and reckless Congressional officials and of course, who could ever leave out President Barack Obama.
Compliments of CNN News: With a series of potential disasters hovering over the nation like a demon storm, the most prominent words of a Washington-based word cloud would be: government shutdown, continuing resolution, debt limit and Obamacare.
Although a potential shutdown and the need to raise the debt limit are different issues, they are interrelated and have one big thing in common: They are both products of a crisis manufactured by Washington. And both are being used for leverage in attempts to undermine Obamacare.
The federal government’s fiscal year starts next week — October 1. And Congress’ one key duty laid out in the Constitution is to pass spending bills that fund the government.
This time around, the House of Representatives, led by conservative Republicans, has linked this funding process — known as a continuing resolution — to defunding President Barack Obama’s signature health insurance law, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. It passed its bill last Friday and sent it to the Senate.
What is important here is that if Congress does not pass the $986 billion continuing resolution, or CR, in the next week, the national parks could close, airport Transportation Security Agents might be furloughed, and agents might be unable to process Social Security checks.
Remember that time when you maxed out your credit card? That is what the debt limit is all about. The U.S. is on the verge of maxing out its $16.699 trillion credit card.
A maxed-out credit card does not mean you can stop spending. While you have to pay your credit card bill, you also have to continue to buy groceries and pay the electric bill, so you might have to open up a new credit card.
That is similar to what the U.S. government must do. The government cannot just stop paying on its previous debt or spending money, even though its credit limit is maxed out, because it has too many obligations to meet. It has to have access to money to pay for the interest on that debt, as well as pay soldiers’ paychecks, doctors’ Medicare reimbursements, expenses like bridge repairs, and so on. So the president must ask Congress to raise the limit of the country’s credit card, or debt limit.
But many think Republicans in Congress may also try to link raising the debt limit to defunding Obamacare. Sound familiar?
Sometime around the middle of October — unless Congress votes to raise the debt limit — the U.S. government will be out of options. This past spring it already implemented “extraordinary measures” where accounts were reshuffled to enable the U.S. to continue paying its bills.
At home, it would also be devastating. That 80-year-old woman who relies on her Social Security check to pay her rent might not be paid. That means her landlord will not be paid.
The doctor who sees Medicare patients will not be reimbursed, so he might not purchase that new flat-screen TV he was planning to buy next month. The government contractor who is owed for providing food at military bases will not be paid, and she will have to lay off line cooks.
So where does ObamaCare come in? While the health care law is not directly tied to funding the government – the CR – or paying bills already incurred – the debt ceiling – It is being used as a powerful bargaining chip.
A group of Republicans, led by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, despises the health care law so much that it is willing to risk government shutdown or default.
And we feel that with never-ending spending and government intrusion in part of our everyday lives it is time to step up and do what the American people have elected you to do.
The House, which is controlled by Republicans, voted on a measure that would fund the government until December 15 — but in exchange for keeping the government open, the health care law would be defunded. The offer and negotiating point is right there.
However, the Democratic controlled Senate vows that Obamacare defunding will have no part in efforts to keep the government running and is expected to strip that provision out of its version of the CR sometime this week.
The majority of American people do not want ObamaCare in the position that it is now. This is the bill you remember the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stating loudly, “Well, as soon as we can write the bill, we will be able to tell everyone what is in it…”