That’s one way to slow down government spending, right? It didn’t work out that way. The tactic only served to scare people, create uncertainty and inconvenience a lot of people. Oh, and the federal employees who didn’t go to work to serve the public during the shutdown were paid retroactively for their time off for work they didn’t do. So much for saving money.
So, what lessons did the far right fringe of the Republican Party learn from history? Apparently none. Now they’re pulling the same grandstand stunt in an effort to try to stop the implementation of a law they don’t like.
While they may have won applause in some corners for taking a stand, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. Efforts to repeal it failed, and the Supreme Court has already ruled on its constitutionality.
It was controversial from the start, with criticism that the bill was put together and passed before anyone had a chance to read it. Nancy Pelosi famously told the nation, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” There’s almost as much uncertainty about the law now as then.
Before Obama, the Republicans succeeded in defeating a Clinton-era proposal — dubbed Hillarycare — that was supposed to address some of our nation’s problems with insurance coverage and the cost of health care delivery. But for six years when George W. Bush was president and Republicans held the majority in both houses of Congress, we don’t recall any proposals being made to address the topic. It was only when the Obama White House went to work on the problems that the Republican Party had something to say about addressing problems with health care and insurance coverage, and about the only thing they had to say about it was “No”.
With the state health exchanges now open, the nation is really beginning to get its first look at how the new law will work.
As different phases of the law go into effect, there will almost certainly be areas of the law that need to be changed. There are orderly legislative processes for introducing, debating and voting on those kinds of bills.
Holding up passage of the government’s budget by connecting it to a legislative proposal is gross abuse of the legislative process, and grandstanding of the worst kind.