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Republicans tie defunding Obamacare to keeping the government running

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) participate in a news conference on the debt ceiling, on January 23, 2013 in Washington, DC.Same song, different day
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) participate in a news conference on the debt ceiling, on January 23, 2013 in Washington, DC.Same song, different day
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The second-ranking Democrat in the House, Representative Steny Hoyer, called the atmosphere in Congress worse than it was in 1995-96 when a similar funding impasse closed federal agencies.

According to some reports the Republicans have made it known that the only way they will vote on raising the debt limit to keep the government operating is tied to defunding Obamacare. Wonderful! So is it actually possible that they think shutting down the government of the most powerful nation in the world in order to shoot another volley at Obamacare is a wise move? One must wonder what all of the people employed by the government will think about this if they wind up sitting at home twiddling their thumbs while Republicans and Democrats in the House battle it out.

On the other hand, now it is reported that Boehner told the House Republican membership in a telephone meeting a short while ago that the Republican leadership will NOT pursue defunding Obamacare, that they will only pursue saving from the sequestration, so what are we innocent members of the public sector to believe?

.Representative Steny Hoyer told reporters, "I think we're going to have a fight." He referred back to a time 18 years ago when significantly more moderate Republicans were willing to seek compromises with Democrats and still there were shutdowns. So with this “Party of No” he is most likely spot-on about a fight.

Hoyer said, Republicans "terrified of the Tea Party," are hurting prospects for a deal on government spending. Meanwhile, we preach democracy to the world and have to deal with something like this. It is like airing dirty laundry on a world stage.

It is painfully obvious that the smaller-government Tea Party movement wants to use the spending bill and upcoming legislation to raise U.S. borrowing authority as battlegrounds for both paring back the size of government and stopping or delaying a new national healthcare law.

Unless the Republican-controlled House, the Democratic-controlled Senate and Obama reach an agreement on funding levels for Congress in the fiscal year starting October 1, most government activities will grind to a halt for lack of money. Following the lines of the old Western Airlines commercial, “Is that any way to run an airline?” people are scratching their heads asking “Is that any way to run a government?” We have come to the edge of the cliff so many times now during the past few years that it isn't shocking anymore. It is just a very sad commentary on the lack of negotiation to reach viable solutions which, after all, should be what Congress--specifically the House--is sent to Washington to do.

While Senate Democrats are certain to reject any House passed measure to defund or delay Obamacare, which aims to extend healthcare coverage to millions more Americans, taking that step could help revive long-dormant bipartisan negotiations on a broader fiscal solution, but would be like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Which door is it—the lady or the tiger?

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MORGAN ST. JAMES is the author of ten books in publication and also writes Writers’ Tricks of the Trade columns in the Las Vegas and Los Angeles editions of examiner.com. Her most recent book Who’s Got the Money? is a funny crime caper centered around a very clever embezzlement in the Federal prison system.

St. James co-authored La Bella Mafia with Dennis N. Griffin as told by Bella Capo, a shocking true story of survival and giving back now available for presale at Amazon and Houdini Publishing. Release date October 15, 2013.

For more information about Morgan and her other books, visit www.morganstjames-author.com.