November 15, 2018

I do not like Obamacare, I do not like it anywhere

The tea party has gone too far. U.S. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and his band of cronies are responsible for the first government shutdown since 1996.

Last Friday, Sept. 20, The U.S. House passed a bill that would have funded the government, with the stipulation that The Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, be defunded.

The bill was sent to the Senate on Monday, Sept. 23, and the Senate approved a motion to consider the House bill.

The next day, Cruz decided to make a name for himself. He spoke on the Senate floor for more than 21 hours, covering a range of not-so-important topics — from the World Wrestling Federation to Ashton Kutcher. At one point, Cruz read one of my favorite children’s books, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

The faux-filibuster wasn’t blocking a vote. It was an attempt to bully his fellow Republicans from passing any funding bill that didn’t also repeal Obamacare.

Cruz knew a Democratic Senate wouldn’t approve legislation that would repeal or amend Obamacare. So what did he do? He and his fellow Republicans took our government hostage. Enter government shutdown.

Now moderate Republicans are stuck following the lead of their far-right tea party counterparts, and have shamefully allowed this mockery of government to continue. Enough moderate House Republicans are willing to pass a clean-cut spending bill like the Senate’s. But Speaker of the House John Boehner won’t allow the Senate bill to come to the House floor for a vote. It seems Boehner, who has said he is against the shutdown, wants to keep his place as Speaker. The tea party could jeopardize that position if he falls out of favor with them.

So, the House can’t pass a spending bill that doesn’t at least amend Obamacare, and the Senate won’t pass a spending bill that’s anything other than a spending bill.

Obamacare was already passed by the Senate, the House, signed into law by the president and determined to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. We have a system in place for repealing laws, and shutting down the federal government is not on the list.

If the tea party doesn’t like Obamacare, then great: repeal it or defund it. But do it with honor. Republicans should wait until they return to majority rule and pass real legislation.

This new healthcare system isn’t engraved in our Constitution. I’m sure the Democrats would be much more amiable to amending things if Obamacare turns out to be a bust and people end up at the mercy of  death panels and all our doctors move to Iran.

A majority of the public is against Obamacare, but Democrats are convinced that people will like it if they give it a chance. Meanwhile, Republicans are running around repeating themselves. We get it. You do not like Obamacare, but at this point you have no choice but to try it. Respect democracy and turn our damn government back on.

 

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