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Friday, December 3, 2021
HomeNewsPoliticsCongress Has Missed Deadline Triggering Partial Government Shutdown

Congress Has Missed Deadline Triggering Partial Government Shutdown

(Credit – REUTERS)

Congress has missed a midnight deadline to pass a crucial spending bill, triggering the beginning of a partial government shutdown – which is the first in 17 years.

Lawmakers missed the deadline after being unable to resolve their stand-off over ObamaCare, despite a volley of 11th-hour counterproposals from the House. Each time, Senate Democrats refused to consider any changes whatsoever to ObamaCare as part of the budget bill, even popularly supported measures.

House Republicans refused to back off their demand that the budget bill include some measures to rein in the health care law – a large part of which goes into effect on Tuesday.

Lawmakers spent the final minutes before midnight trying to assign blame to the other side of the aisle, rather than coming together, because they were just too far apart. Republicans are no doubt wary of the blame their party was assigned during the Clinton-era shutdown, while Democrats were too eager to pile the blame on the GOP. In fact, Harry Reid’s actions were enough to accuse of intentional obstruction, after he threatened to not even show up to a meeting if the president summoned congressional leaders to the White House.

Americans will begin to feel whatever the effects of a partial government shutdown will be by Tuesday morning, as national parks close, federal home loan officers scale back their caseload, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers face furlough. Most of these workers are administrative workers who participate in nonessential bureaucratic functions, which the Democrats would have concealed from the American public.

The president, alone, can make life difficult for the American people who receive federal assistance through welfare, social security, medicaid, and medicare. These programs, while it is possible to experience a delay, will still be funded, despite what Democrats say.

The question remains how long this partial government shutdown or stand-off will last. Congress is fast-approaching another deadline, in mid-October when they must decide how or when to raise the debt limit, or face a U.S. government default. Lawmakers, one would be safe to assume, will want to resolve the status of the partial government shutdown quickly in order to shift to that debate.

Throughout the day Monday, lawmakers engaged in a day-long bout of legislative hot potato. The House repeatedly passed different versions of a bill that would fund the government while paring down the federal health care overhaul. However, each and every time, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said no and sent it back, hoping to put the ball in Speaker John Boehner’s court.

“Republicans are still playing games,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared on the Senate floor late Monday night.

As a last-ditch effort, House Republicans floated the possibility of taking their disagreement to what’s known as a conference committee – a bicameral committee where lawmakers from both chambers would meet to resolve the differences between the warring pieces of legislation.

“It means we’re the reasonable, responsible actors trying to keep the process alive as the clock ticks past midnight, despite Washington Democrats refusal – thus far – to negotiate,” a GOP leadership aide said.

Reid, though, said the Senate would not agree to the approach unless and until the House approves a “clean” budget bill. The rhetoric got more confrontational as the deadline neared.

“They’ve lost their minds,” Reid said of Republicans, in rejecting the latest proposal. “Senate Democrats have made it perfectly clear that they’d rather shut down the federal government than accept even the most reasonable changes to ObamaCare,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell countered.

The latest House bill, which the chamber backed on a 228-201 vote, would have delayed the law’s individual mandate while prohibiting lawmakers, their staff and top administration officials from getting government subsidies for their health care.

The Senate voted 54-46, completely along party lines to reject it. President Obama said he was holding out hope that Congress would come together “in the 11th hour.”

The deal, of course, did not come to pass.

A prior Republican effort to include a provision defunding ObamaCare in the budget bill failed. House Republicans then voted, early Sunday, to add amendments delaying the health care law by one year and repealing an unpopular medical device tax.

The Senate, in a 54-46 vote, rejected those proposals on Monday afternoon. At this point, congressional leaders are hard at work trying to assign blame.

Democrats have already labeled this a “Republican government shutdown.” But Republicans on Sunday hammered Reid and his colleagues for not coming back to work immediately after the House passed a bill Sunday morning.

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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