Sunday, October 13, 2013

Politics As Usual

Here we go again. Partisan politics are threatening to bring our fragile economic
recovery to a screeching halt. We have once again reached the point where Congress has to pass a Continuing Resolution in order for the United Sates to meet its financial obligations and to prevent our government from shutting down.

Continuing Resolutions are not new. It has been 14 years since the House, the Senate and the president have all agreed on a bill to fund the government for an entire fiscal year. In the past 26 years, Congress and the president have agreed to a year-long budget only three times, in 1989, 1995 and 1997, according to a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

So what is the big deal? Instead of moving forward and passing the resolution to keep things running, the Tea Party supporters are attempting to hold our government hostage in another attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act. They have wasted countless hours and squandered millions of dollars opposing a bill that was passed by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court and validated by a majority of Americans by the reelection of President Obama.

A recent CNBC poll indicates a solid majority of Americans generally oppose defunding the new health care law by a margin of 44% to 38%. The opposition increases sharply to 59% to 19% when the issue of shutting down the government or defaulting on debt obligations is included. Even Republicans oppose defunding, 48% to 36%, when the issue of a government shutdown or default is at stake.

The only groups who support defunding Obamacare are Tea Party supporters, even if it means a government shutdown or default on our debt obligations. It is a repulsive aspect of our democracy when such a relatively small group of right-wing extremists (Tea Partiers), driven largely by prejudice, greed and cold-heartedness, can have so much influence over the Republican Party and Congress in general.

Jim Centner, SOAR Director

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