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Defunding Obamacare: Worth a Try

July 31, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

After a summer of relative quiet on the fiscal front, Congress is approaching two deadlines that will be vital not just in terms of the U.S. economy, but for the future of the Republican party as well.

Sometime in late October, the federal government will once again reach its statutory debt limit, meaning that, without congressional action, the government will not be able to borrow any more money. That would require an immediate 25 percent cut in government spending — the sequester on steroids.

But before that, on September 30, the continuing resolution (CR) currently funding the federal government will expire. Unless a new CR is approved by then, the federal government will “shut down.”

Republicans have some fiscal opportunities — and should seize them.”

The government does not actually shut down, of course. Military operations and homeland security, and also such things as air-traffic control, health care at Veterans Administration hospitals, law enforcement and criminal investigations, oversight of food and drug safety, nuclear safety, and so forth, will all continue. And programs that are not subject to annual appropriations, such as Social Security and Medicare, would also continue. But the optics of closed national parks, the complaints of those inconvenienced by delayed public services, and the president’s bully pulpit mean that Republicans will take the blame for whatever hardships do develop.

As a result, Republicans are already starting to twist themselves into knots trying to decide what they should do.

Some, such as would-be presidential candidate Representative Peter King of New York, are already running up the white flag. “We should not be closing down the government under any circumstances,” King told CNN, saying that refusing to approve a new continuing resolution wouldn’t be only bad politics but also “wrong” as a matter of policy.

Meanwhile, defense hawks such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have suggested they’re willing to go along with the Obama administration’s attempts to use the CR to undo the sequester. McCain, Graham, and their allies may even be willing to accept tax increases in order to roll back the sequester’s defense cuts.

But a much bigger split seems to be developing over what to do about defunding Obamacare.

The key to implementing Obamacare is not the now-delayed employer mandate or the wildly unpopular individual mandate. It is not the nearly $1.2 trillion in new taxes or the exchanges that may or may not be operational …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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