By Chris Kivlahan
Executive Opinion Editor
At the beginning of Obama’s second term, Republicans went on record stating that the party’s primary goal was to prevent the passing of any of Obama’s key policies. Chief among these policies was Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. The law, which requires health insurance for all Americans as well as provides government-subsidized health care for those not covered by other policies, was passed in both houses of Congress and went into effect Oct. 1.
Despite this fact, Republicans in the House of Representatives have continued to fight a losing battle to defund the ACA, with their most recent effort resulting in a government shutdown.
Each year, Congress needs to pass a budget that funds everything the federal government does for the following year. This budget needs to be ratified by Oct. 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.
This year, a budget was not passed because House Republicans continue to add a clause that defunds the ACA and effectively renders it useless. Since this amendment to the budget (which is almost entirely unrelated to the budget itself) does not have majority support and will not pass the Senate, it’s simply an exercise in futility
The lack of a budget in time has forced a government shutdown of all nonessential services that has been in effect since Tuesday. This means that, among other things, all national parks, federal museums and monuments, and certain agencies (such as NASA) have been closed completely. Thousands of federal employees deemed nonessential have been furloughed, or sent home without pay indefinitely.
Simply put, this is the fault of the Republican party. Yes, my political biases are apparent. However, even if you personally are against the ACA, these childlike political maneuvers cannot be viewed as responsible. House Republicans are dragging out a fight that they already lost to the detriment of the government, economy and America’s international standing. As a matter of fact, it’s estimated that every day the government is shut down costs the US economy $200 million. This loss is primarily due to loss of business for companies with a lot of government contracts.
The shutdown will eventually end. The only factor determining how soon is the asinine stubbornness of House Republicans. The only possible outcome is a budget that does not include any defunding of the ACA — it’s the only way a bill could get passed. How long certain incompetent, illogical and selfish politicians carry on the fight their destined to lose, however, remains to be seen.