Saturday, September 28, 2013

How Can This Be Posted Without One Mention Of Ted Cruz?

If the U.S. government does not pass a continuing resolution by September 30, it will shut down.  The Senate has passed a "clean" continuing resolution, but the resolution passed by the House contains a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Hence, the matter returns to the lower chamber.

The GOP strategy has become clear, as voiced by Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who on Hardball Thursday said of President Obama "Hold on -- hold on -- who will negotiate with Syria, who will negotiate with Putin, who will negotiate with Iran, but won`t negotiate with 50 percent of his countrymen."   It was reiterated by National Review's Kevin Williamson (and others), who Friday tweeted "So the White House will negotiation with the atomic ayatollahs but not with House Republicans. Solution: Give John Boehner The Bomb." However, Matt Yglesias explains

The whole reason Obama neither will nor can negotiate with John Boehner is that Boehner has the equivalent of the The Bomb. He's threatening the destruction of the American financial system unless Obama implements policies that he favors. The government of Iran doesn't have the power to make a similar threat, but the government of Russia does. Vladimir Putin could hold a press conference tomorrow and say that nuclear-armed ballistic missiles will destroy Houston, Chicago, and Indianapolis tomorrow unless Obama agrees to his list of demands.

Would it be reasonable for Obama to open a negotiation on those terms? Of course not! The content of the demands isn't even relevant. The threat is too crazy to indulge. You simply observe that such an attack would trigger a counteract and lead to tragedy on a global scale. Then you have to hope the Russians come to their senses, because if they don't something awful is going to happen.

But President Obama has negotiated with the GOP.  Emerging from negotiations was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed by Republicans "Obamacare."    On September 3, 2009 CNN found

President Obama and top aides have quietly stepped up talks with moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine on a scaled-back health care bill, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations.

The compromise plan would lack a government-run public health insurance option favored by Obama, but would leave the door open to adding that provision down the road under an idea proposed by Snowe, the sources said.

One of the sources said White House officials are "deep in conversations" with Snowe on a much smaller health care bill than Obama originally envisioned.

The modified proposal would include insurance reforms, such as preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, according to the source.

The potential deal would give insurance companies a defined period to make such changes in order to help cover more people and drive down long-term costs. But if those changes failed to occur within the defined period, a so-called "trigger" would provide for creating a public option to force change on the insurance companies, the source said.

By September 13, Senator Snowe had asserted "no way" to a public option.  Her colleague from Maine, Susan Collins, demanded the trigger mechanism be dropped.  Both proposals were shelved in the interest of gaining support from either or both Senators.  Additionally, Bloomberg reported at the time

Republicans in the House have complained that the legislation had loopholes that would allow for federal funding of abortion, which is now forbidden by law. Sebelius said on ABC’s “This Week” that the president will toughen the language currently in the House bill to explicitly rule out the use of federal funds. “That’s what he intends that the bill he signs will do,” Sebelius said.

Ultimately, the Act included a provision requiring that the portion of any premium which pays for abortion coverage, as well as any claims for an abortion, are paid for with private funds.   A framework relying on the private market with no public option and further restrictions on abortion, and neither Senator Snowe nor Senator Collins voted for health care reform.  Nor did any other Republican in either chamber.

Conservatives nonetheless have been relentless in their fight against a health care law featuring an individual mandate, first proposed by the Heritage Foundation,  In June, 2012, Republican Chief Justice John Roberts issued a ruling holding the individual mandate in the legislation constitutional.  The health care law was a major issue in that November's presidential election, won by Barack Obama over an opponent of the legislation, Willard "Mitt" Romney.

Some people, in past administrations Republicans but now Democrats, maintain "elections have consequences."  Nonetheless, the House GOP can vote- presumably for ideological (if misguided) reasons- to repeal the PPACA, which it now has done 42 times. But once Repubs go to shutting down the government or worse yet, refusing to pay the bill for programs the federal government has approved, it becomes clear their real aim is to bring the country down.

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