The Senate's top Democrat and Majority Leader, Harry Reid, pushed back today on the bill passed last week by the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives that would defund the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) and fund the government for the next fiscal year. Both Democrats and Republicans are quick to say they do not want to see a government shutdown but neither side can seem to reach an agreement on averting a shutdown now that House Republicans have passed a bill that ties raising the country's debt limit to the Affordable Care Act.
"We're not going to bow to Tea Party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law," Reid said. "We will not bow to Tea Party anarchists who refuse to accept that the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is constitutional."
Although Senate Republicans support the House bill they lack the majority in the Senate needed to pass the bill and override President Obama's veto. President Barack Obama issued a veto warning last week and even called Speaker John Boehner last Friday to laminate his position that the debt ceiling should be raised "clean" - without any proposals that would undermine the Affordable Care Act.
The Pew Research Center released a poll Monday showing the public would blame Republicans, 39%, about as much as they would President Obama, 36%, if the government shuts down. The public is almost evenly divided over whether they believe a deal will be cut by the Sept. 30 deadline: 46% say a deal will be reached, 45% say no deal.
A clear majority, 57%, want lawmakers to compromise and avert a shutdown, while one-third want lawmakers to stand their ground, even if it means a shutdown. Support for a shutdown is driven by self-identified Tea Party Republicans, 71% of which say lawmakers should not compromise. Just 20% of Republicans say they want compromise.