MICHAEL DORRILL – Opinion Writer
On Oct. 1, our Federal Government went into shutdown. Let me tell you what that means, how it happened and why you should be absolutely furious.
Every year, Congress has to pass a budget. The budget outlines how the federal government will spend tax revenue. If the president approves the budget, then federal agencies get funded. If different branches of the government cannot agree on a budget, then they can pass a continuing resolution. That last resort allows the government to remain funded at current levels until a budget can be decided on.
Before the shutdown, the government could not agree on a budget, so they sent continuing resolutions back and forth between the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House, currently controlled by Republicans, added a clause to their continuing resolution which would either defund the Affordable Care Act, or delay it. The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected that continuing resolution, and no deal was reached before the last continuing resolution ran out on Oct. 1. Thus, the government shut down.
So the shutdown came to be because the two parties couldn’t agree. But out of those two parties, only one deserves the blame.
On Sept. 17, 2009, the ACA was introduced to the House of Representatives. On Oct. 8 of that year, it passed in the House. On Dec. 24, 2009, it passed in the Senate. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the bill into law. On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional.
The Democrats shouldn’t have to change the ACA because it isn’t a bill anymore. The Affordable Care Act is law. It is constitutional.
Like it or not, the Democrats won. They do not have to negotiate.
By refusing to submit a clean continuing resolution, the Republicans are preventing the government from being funded until their demands are met. They are essentially holding the government hostage, and that is absolutely wrong.
If the Republicans truly think the health care law is a bad move for America, they can get enough like-minded representatives in Congress and repeal the law through legislation. That’s how business is supposed to be done in Washington, not by using the budget as a political weapon. And although the Republicans have the legal capability to do what they are doing, that doesn’t make it right. And although the Republicans have the legal capability to do what they are doing, that doesn’t make it right.
If that’s not enough, look at the damage the shutdown did to America. 800,000 federal employees were furloughed by the shutdown, meaning they and their families weren’t getting paid for over two weeks. Standard and Poor’s has estimated that the shutdown has cost the country $24 billion.
The Affordable Care Act isn’t a perfect law. But regardless of your opinions on the law itself, you should be furious at what the Republicans did this October. They used a loophole to do what they can’t accomplish with democracy. Get mad. You have every right to be.