Yesterday, we quoted Rep. Steve King (R–IA) in his confidence that “the American people will weigh in” as the government shutdown continues. The public opinion train is pulling into the station now, and it’s loaded with unrendered hog fat for the hopeful children of Republicantown. First of all, Republicantown is Atlanta. Second, the collected pundits of these United States seem to agree that what conservatives in the house are doing is awful, and the President should not give in to their demands. Andrew Sullivan, himself a card-carrying conservative, considers it an attack on American government itself. But that’s typical liberal media bias. Over at Forbes, whose pro-wealth stance makes it a natural ally of the GOP, House Republicans are merely dumb.
My girlfriend works for the Forestry Department doing complex scientific experiments that I don’t understand. Yesterday morning, she was assured via conference call that her department would keep operating during any federal shutdown. Later that afternoon, they told her she would report to work this morning to be furloughed. All the Forestry technicians in the field have been recalled. Those of her colleagues who happened to be running experiments that required techs in the field are, to put it in scientific terms, hosed. Maybe the Forestry employees will get paid for the period of time in which they couldn’t do their jobs anymore, and maybe they won’t. 800,000 Americans are out of work today, but at least the government is leaving my health insurance alone.
If Congress does not pass a stopgap funding bill today, the federal government will shut down at midnight tonight. Conventional wisdom says that will probably happen. Once Ted Cruz (R–TX) finally stopped talking, the Senate rejected a House bill that funded the government but also defunded Obamacare, returning instead a “clean” continuing resolution with no Obamacare amendments. Beaten but unbowed, the House plans to pass another funding bill that keeps the government open but repeals the medical device tax and delays implementation of Obamacare for one year. The Senate will not pass that. As of this writing, it looks like the federal government will shut down.
A group of Republican senators led by Mike Lee have signed an open letter promising to vote down any continuing resolution that contains funding to implement the Affordable Care Act. Essentially, they’ve threatened to shut down the federal government unless Obamacare is repealed, or at least defunded. Besides Lee, Marco Rubio (R–FL) and John Thune (R–SD) have signed the letter, along with an undisclosed but ostensibly large number of fellow conservatives in the Senate. The putative reason for this scorched-earth opposition is the delay of the employer mandate, which Lee et al see as proof that the Affordable Care Act cannot work as written. That delay in enforcing Obamacare was too much for the senators who are committed to repealing Obamacare, apparently. Full text of the letter after the jump.