In the more than four years since President Obama took office, the threat of a government shutdown has been thrown around Washington upwards of five times. However, President Obama is a very determined man with a Democrat controlled Senate who gets his way about 99% of the time. That changed on October 1, 2013 at 12:01 A.M. when Republicans found their spine and said “Enough!”
Although many like to pin this shutdown on prominent anti-Obamacare Republican Ted Cruz and his defund Obamacare colleagues, the source of this shutdown goes much further back. You see, throughout President Obama’s entire first term and the first year of his second term, the United States has not been on a budget. The last U.S. budget to pass was under President Bush shortly before he left office. Since then, the United States has been carelessly spending, spending, spending, pushing the national debt to more than $17 trillion whilst raising the debt ceiling whenever need be. Now, if you’re thinking, “How in the world did that happen?!” you’re not alone. It is the job of the President to work with Congress (chiefly the House) to come up with a budget so that we take in in taxes what we’re spending. Yet, under President Obama, we have not been doing so. That is why through the duration of the Obama administration, we have been spending more than we take in, piling on more and more to the debt (yeah, that same debt that our children and grandchildren are going to inherit).
But how did this Obamacare get involved? Well, when Obamacare passed in March 2010, Democrats controlled both the House and Senate and passed the bill without any Republican support. It was a 100% partisan bill. Since it passed, Republicans have tried more than 40 times to repeal, replace, defund, and/or delay the law, and even sent it to the Supreme Court where it was upheld as a tax. After President Obama delayed the implementation of the law seven times in three years, he finally decided that October 1, 2013 would be the day that Obamacare would magically be ready for implementation. Republicans panicked. Millions of Americans do not want Obamacare and are honestly very afraid of the backlash it will bring. In 2013, we have already seen some of the side effects of the law including over 70% of the jobs added in 2013 being part-time, the abolishing of the 40 hour work week, the drastic rise in health care costs, and much more.
A few members of Congress decided it was their job to be the voice of the people (wait, what?), and do everything in their power to stop Obamacare from going into effect. Thus, Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee’s attempt to #DefundObamacare was born. The Senators gathered support in both the House and Senate, and got more than one million people to sign a petition to defund the “Affordable Healthcare Act.” The defund Obamacare amendment was attached to a CR (continuing resolution) which would continue to fund the government through December 15, 2013. You see, when there is no budget, Congress simply keeps passing CRs to fund the government. With the fiscal year 2013 ending September 30, 2013, the passage of the CR was needed to keep the federal government open.
Although the defund Obamacare camp was able to muster enough support in the Republican controlled House to pass the CR, the Democrat controlled Senate tabled (killed) it with the defund Obamacare amendment on arrival in the Senate. After it was sent back to the House, Republicans compromised. Instead of fully defunding Obamacare forever, Republicans offered a deal which would delay the implementation Obamacare for one year, during which time Congress could come together in a bipartisan effort to fix the kinks in the legislation. Seeing as the Obama administration are firm haters of the word “no,” the Senate Democrat leadership killed the bill for a second and third time on September 30, 2013. Without any form of compromise, the government shut down when the clock struck midnight.
Personally, I’m not a fan of Obamacare or the Obama administration, but I think this shutdown says a lot about the men and women running Washington. It shows that the Obama administration is not willing to sit down with Republican leadership and say, “Look, I know Obamacare has flaw. Let’s work together and fix ‘em.” It shows that both political parties in the House and Senate are bigger fans of the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” philosophy than working together to pass quality legislation for the good of the American people. It shows that after more than four years of sitting back and letting Mr. Obama claim win, after win, after win that the Republicans in Washington finally found their spine, and are fighting back.
No matter what political party you affiliate yourself with or whether you pin this government shutdown on the Democrats, Republicans, or the White House, I think we can all agree that the partisan politicking going on in Washington today is absolutely disgusting, and not helping Americans one bit. We are currently in neutral with a lame duck economy, upwards of 20 million people unemployed, a disastrous housing market, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on. President Obama may have run on the promise for the “most transparent administration,” but instead he’s heading down the path of the most partisan administration. It’s time to cut the crap and get our government working again… literally.