In case you are not aware the United States Federal government has been partially shut down since October 6th. Republicans used the October 6th date as a platform to express their opposition to the Affordable Care Act aka "Obamacare". House Republicans passed a budget bill that would have only funded the government until the middle of December. The funding was contingent upon pushing back implementation of the ACA for an entire year.
President Obama repeatedly warned the House that any bill including language about the health care law would be vetoed. House Republicans drafted legislation and passed it onto the Senate with the full understanding that a government shutdown would be the result. Ultimately John Boehner decided not to vote on the Senate plan which would have continued government funding.
Even before the seemingly inevitable shut down Republicans began placing blame on Democrats. Ted Cruz spearheaded the attempt by trying to blame Harry Reid. When Cruz was confronted on "Meet the Press" over the futility of trying to alter the healthcare law on the eve of its implementation Cruz was not able to articulate clear or concise points. It is a difficult argument to make. Many Republicans claim that the law is not constitutional but the Supreme Court disagreed. The law has survived all legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
The Republican attempt to blame this shutdown on Democrats or the President has failed. An Associated Press-GfK survey has 62% of participants blaming Republicans for the shutdown. Poll after poll show the same results.
None of this should be a shock to anyone and it isn't particularly a partisan take on the situation. Senate Democrats could have potentially averted this showdown by accepting a Republican provision to reduce taxes on medical equipment and eliminating the one year delay. This might have allowed House Republicans room to negotiate with hard line Tea Party members.
While Republicans are getting most of the blame for the government shutdown there is certainly blame to go around.What should be concerning to people is the shift away from ACA rhetoric from the GOP. Healthcare exchanges have opened, insurance has been purchased, and it is unlikely that any kind of attempt to stop implementation is possible. So why is the government still shut down?
Republicans have shifted the focus of the government shutdown away from ACA funding to the Oct 17th default date. The U.S. Treasury has told Congress that unless it acts by Oct. 17th to raise the debt ceiling that there could be serious economic consequences. Republicans have suggested adding multiple pet projects and favorite ideas to any funding bill. Demands have included everything from the Keystone XL pipeline to EPA carbon regulations.
What is the end game for House Republicans? The original purpose of shutting the government down was to prevent the implementation of the ACA. That boat has sailed. The focus has now moved to raising the debt ceiling. This topic breaks down into many sub-debates involving everything from taxes to the EPA. What next? How long will the shutdown, and all of its adverse effects, continue? Does anyone even know why the government is shutdown anymore? It appears that House Republicans are steering a misguided and rudderless ship.