Countdown to Shutdown

Hang onto your pants, because our country appears to be on the fast track to a shutdown.

Yesterday, the Senate passed their version of the appropriations bill, 54-44. The bill included funding for Obamacare, and was sent back to the House. Just today, the House stated that they planned to include provisions in the appropriations bill that would delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year and eliminate the medical devices tax that is a part of Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) made it clear that the Senate would not accept these amendments to the bill. The options now are for one side to cave, for both sides to work for a compromise, or for the government to shutdown.

Given our current political climate, the shutdown seems inevitable.

But why do both sides refuse to negotiate? The Democrats will not accept a one-year delay on Obamacare. This would give Republicans the encouragement to push for more delays, potentially delaying the implementation of the law until there is a Republican president who would not veto a repeal.

In addition, the Democrats believe that if people participate in Obamacare, and see what it can do, they will like it and not want to give it up, so they have been waiting for the October 1st implementation deadline. It’s doubtful that they would vote for a delay when they are so close to opening the health insurance exchange. Many Republicans, on the other hand, will accept nothing less than the defunding of Obamacare, and are uninterested in compromise.

The Senate will likely table the new House Bill on Sunday, leaving few other options besides a shutdown. If there is a deal, it will likely be struck in the late hours of Monday, but at this point even that seems unlikely.

First Published September 28, 2013