EDITORIAL: Boehner, GOP vow federal shutdown out of mere spite

Time for debating Obamacare is over -- it's the law of the land.

The Fresno BeeSeptember 19, 2013 

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks to reporters about the deadline to fund the government and the fight among House Republicans, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. House Republicans vowed Wednesday to pass legislation that would prevent a partial government shutdown and avoid a default while simultaneously canceling out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, inaugurating a new round of political brinkmanship as critical deadlines approach.

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — AP

House Republican leaders have shown how far they are willing to go to cave to the tea party faction. They signaled on Wednesday that they are willing to shut down the federal government if they don't get their pipe dream to defund Obamacare.

They simply are unwilling to acknowledge that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which they call Obamacare, is the law of the land.

Those under age 65 who don't get health insurance through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid will be able to enroll in an "exchange" starting Oct. 1 to buy health insurance that starts January 2014.

Many other provisions already have taken effect. Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed Obamacare into law in 2010.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in June 2012.

In the 2012 presidential campaign where Obamacare was hotly debated, the American people made their choice clear. That November, Obama won the popular vote 66 million to 61 million. He won 332 of 538 electoral votes.

So now when Congress must pass a temporary spending bill to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, House Speaker John Boehner has acceded to tea party demands. Call it extortion or hostage-taking or whatever you like, but this is despicable. And dangerous.

Last week, Speaker Boehner was prepared to bring a clean continuing resolution to the House floor for a vote that would have funded the government. Now Boehner has reversed himself and will hold a vote today to make government funding dependent on defunding Obamacare.

Rep. Tom McClintock, a Republican who represents the Sierra region of California, made his position clear at a town hall meeting in El Dorado Hills in August.

He indicated he would not vote for any more continuing resolutions unless "we can get a provision in the continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare this year."

McClintock is willing to fund the government only if the nation jettisons a law that aims to make health insurance affordable to his fellow Americans who don't currently have health insurance.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., showed how parochial and ideological the tea party faction has become.

Massie told The Washington Post: "All that really matters is what my district wants. And my district is overwhelmingly in favor of my position."

It doesn't matter that 14.5% of people in his state were uninsured before Obamacare passed in 2010. It doesn't matter that 13.4% of the people in his own district were uninsured. Clearly, making insurance affordable for Americans across the nation is not a tea party priority.

Americans should let House Republicans know what they think about this ploy, and remember it when they vote in the 2014 elections.

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