NATIONAL – House Republicans are moving forward with a plan that would shut down the government at midnight on Monday, according to sources in Washington, D.C.
Republicans in Congress are slated to hold a final vote on the shutdown, unable to put politics aside to avoid a crisis that could have serious consequences for veterans, seniors and working families.
The federal government appears headed toward its first shutdown in 17 years after Republicans demanded a one-year delay in the implementation of of President Barack Obama’s health care reform before approving any funds to keep the government running as of Oct. 1, the start of the new budget year.
Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, declared that Senate Democrats are planning to table destructive Republican measures when they convene on Monday, leaving it up to the House to pass a stand-alone spending bill free of any measures that undermine the health the care law.
The Republican action all but assured that more than 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed as of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, with millions more working without paychecks.
“The American people don’t want a government shutdown, and they don’t want Obamacare,” said House Republican leaders in a statement, ignoring the fact that Obama was given a mandate to implement his historic health reform when he was re-elected last year.
Avoiding a shutdown is not a priority to all Republicans. “This is exactly what the public wants,” Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said.
“After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at Square 1,” said Reid. “We continue to be willing to debate these issues in a calm and rational atmosphere but the American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists.”
Speaker John A. Boehner chose the shutdown option rather than risk a conservative revolt against his leadership, which would be at risk if he accepted a Senate bill approved on Friday to keep the government financed while leaving the health care law intact.
Consumers can begin signing up for health insurance plans under the law beginning on Tuesday, so a delay at this stage is entirely unacceptable to Democrats and the President and Senate Democrats declared they would reject any measure to fund government that touches on the Affordable Care Act.
“By pandering to the Tea Party minority and trying to delay the benefits of health care reform for millions of seniors and families, House Republicans are now actively pushing for a completely unnecessary government shutdown,” said Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the Democrat who leads the Senate Budget Committee.
Congressman Frank Pallone told Rachel Maddow that Republicans are determined to shut down the government, despite widespread bipartisan disapproval among the American people.
Two New Jersey Republicans, Reps. Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen, both said they are unwilling to participate in the tactic to derail Obamacare because it would shut down key government operations and expenditures when the current federal budget year ends at midnight on Monday.
“I think there are some incredible problems with Obamacare, particularly in its implementation,” Frelinghuysen said. “Obamacare is definitely not ready for prime time. But I do not want the government to shut down. I think after voting against it some 40 times, we have represented our constituents and made our point.”
“The government has essential tasks to perform,” Lance said. “In particular, I want to make sure our military gets paid.”
Despite the expectation of a government shutdown, the campaign cash train never stops. Boehner is a member of the Ohio congressional delegation, who along with Steve Chabot, Patrick Tiberi, James Jordan, Michael Turner, Robert E. Latta, James B. Renacci, Bob Gibbs, Steve Stivers, Bill Johnson, David Joyce, Brad Wenstrup, will be attending a $2,500 per ticket fundraiser in Washington.
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