September 30th, 2013
03:43 PM ET
9 years ago

Shutting down debate

Washington (CNN) – Nobody wants to shut down. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. So why is just such an outcome becoming increasingly likely?

The answer is Obamacare. Republicans won't stand for it. Democrats won't stand without it, not after shooting down more than 40 efforts by Republicans to do so in the House of Representatives.

Democrats write off those efforts as repeated futility.

But the repetition also helps cement Republican frustration with the Affordable Care Act, a law they desperately want gone but have been unable to dismantle, their votes going nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Negotiation over Obamacare isn't impossible. But Democrats insist any negotiation take place after the government is funded and the bills are paid with a debt ceiling increase. President Barack Obama would clearly prefer these conversations were held much later, maybe even after the 2014 midterm elections, likely hoping for a friendlier Congress.

"The bottom line is that the Senate has passed a bill that keeps the government open, does not have a lot of extraneous issues to it," Obama said Monday. "That allows us to then negotiate a longer term budget and address a range of other issues, but ensures we are not shutting down the government."

Republicans are done waiting.

"This is our best opportunity and the most powerful leverage that we've got," Rep. John Culberson said on CNN's "Around the World." The Texas Republican said that he did not want a shutdown and argued that the House passed funding elements of the government, namely the military, months ago.

But Culberson, like other Republicans, are still pressing ahead.

"My constituents are adamantly opposed to this massive intrusion," into personal liberty, Culberson said of Obamacare.

"The right to be left alone as Americans is probably our most important right."

Regardless of political views on Obama's signature law, the political reality is that congressional Republicans need to be seen doing everything they can to dismantle it.

And after 40 votes, they see opportunity in the type of leverage presented by must-pass spending legislation and another measure coming up in coming weeks – a plan to increase the debt limit.

The clock is ticking to midnight and the Senate on Monday rejected another attempt by the House to derail Obamacare by linking it to the spending bill needed to avoid a shutdown.

It's unlikely Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-North Carolina, will accept the latest “clean” version of spending legislation approved by the Senate that is now back with the House.

"I don't want to give the government check book to Barack Obama. And that is exactly what will happen," Ellmers said Monday on CNN's "New Day."

"Obamacare will continue to get funded and he will be able to pick and choose what he wants to continue to fund," she said.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats think they have already caved enough.

Republicans "have to learn how to take yes for an answer," said Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York.

Israel argued that Democrats have already met Republicans on the level of government funding requested.

There is room for compromise, Israel said, just not for catering to the "far-right" elements of the Republican party who he said have done anything but compromise.

Part of the problem perhaps is the definition of compromise.

Democrats don't see a delay of Obamacare as middle-ground but Republicans do.

"We have reached out halfway to them," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, told CNN's Ashleigh Banfield.

Rohrabacher was joined by fellow GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who mirrored the sentiment.

"We have repeatedly sent options and possibilities to the Senate," the Tennessee Republican said of House votes aimed at Obamacare.

Blackburn said she wanted to "keep working to fix some of these programs that have very obvious substantiated problems and glitches like Obamacare,"

In turn, Democrats argue "fix" really means destroy. They're worried about what might happen if they give ground on Obamacare, any ground.

"The bottom line is very simple, you negotiate on this, they will up the ante on the debt ceiling and the full time [Continuing Resolution]," Sen. Chuck Schumer told CNN's Dana Bash. "You cannot negotiate when they take hostages, they extort."

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Stay strong Mr. President. Don't back down to the cowardly bullies of the GOP.

    September 30, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Democrats have already compromised by not throwing their bucket list of Sequestration Cuts alterations into the mix. Republicans need to take their Obamacare bucket list off of the table, and pass a clean bill.

    September 30, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Nobody wants to shut down. Not Democrats. Not Republicans.
    Wrong! Republicans want to shut down the government. They have a my way or the highway mentality, and that's why the shut down blame will lye solely on their shoulders.

    R.I.P.G.O.P. 11/14

    September 30, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Duke

    Wow, way to look like you are giving the GOP a pass on this issue.


    It is illogical to claim something is a complete failure BEFORE it is implemented.

    Lies and decpetions are not facts. Opinions are not facts, though they may be based in them Only Facts are Facts.

    September 30, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. What's in that tea anyway?

    What a mess! But that was the Tea Baggers plan all along. Let's all watch our 401Ks tank. The last time that happened...yep...the GOP was in power i.e. Dubya, ur either wit us or agin us......yeah right

    September 30, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. What's in that tea anyway?

    Well, the Baggers are getting closer to finishing lil Dubya started...Destroy America at all costs. 2014 may not get here in time.

    September 30, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    If the "Shutdown Strategy" doesn't kill Obamacare, will the Repub. Guvners call out their National Guard to prevent their citizens from participating in the Exchanges ?

    September 30, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    Why don't the Congress use the "Shut 'Er Down " Strategy re : Gun Control ? 90% of the Country was for Background Checks, but the Repubs. & NRA killed that. Dems. should vote to Shut 'Er Down unless they get their way on Background Checks.

    September 30, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    "Not Republicans"

    Well, John Boehner's one who wants a shutdown. Why won't he bring the Senate bill to a vote in the House, hmmmm?

    The only "debate" is within the GOP House, as far as I can see. It's all on the GOP, you see.

    Ticktock, Republicans.

    September 30, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. simplyput

    Unfortunately, this is the sort of action you see when elections are ignored (2010) lies are told to win the WH (2012) and laws are passed without reading them (ACA). On principle alone, shutdown should be an option, because someone has to balance the checkbook. The GAO just authorized payment of California unemployment checks without any checking for fraud. Is this the govt we want? Is the IRS the agency we want empowered when it has the power to tax and destroy? Just asking.

    September 30, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein

    We need to have everyone accept that this is not the place or time to have this fight. If the GOP was smart, then they would have been offering small changes to the law over the course of the year. That would have been something harder to change and stop by the Democrats.

    September 30, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "Republicans are done waiting."

    Let me guess. They're going to take their ball and run home crying to Rush.

    September 30, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. T Proctor

    It is time for all elected officails to perform their sworn duties to include President Obama. The people put their faith in them to do their jobs. Most of Aericans do not want the Obamacare to go further, then stop it and move on. Destroying the economy and the safety of Government employees to make a point is ridiculous. President Obama take charge and LEAD!!

    September 30, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    So the republican version of compromise is to go to the used car lot and threaten to set a car on fire. Light a torch, wave it around, and yell a lot... then make an offer of 5 dollars on the car and claim they met 1/2 way.

    September 30, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. shirleyakins

    I think we should ask for the resignations of congress and the president/vice president. They don't seem to have the best for the American people in mind. Congress shows up when they feel like it and Obama plays golf. Maybe they should be paid by the hour. I am so grateful they are not my source. So tired of all the drama.

    September 30, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Gregory. M. Newbold

    The Republican establishment is fond of lauding Ronald Reagan as a great president. Now regardless of what people may think of Reagan, without Tip O'Neil, NOTHING Reagan tried to do would have gotten past. What I want to know is, when is John Boehner going to have HIS Tip O'Neil epiphany? A true leader doesn't let the "tail [T-Party] wag the dog".

    John, you have to know that if the GOP holds the House, you WON'T be re-elected speaker. You have shown your leadership skill to be weak, almost to the point of being non-existent. Eric Cantor and others will plunge the knife in your back as soon as the storm has past. Search your feelings . . . you know it to be true.

    But Mr. Boehner, if you are a true Conservative, strike a deal with the President to abandon the Hastert rule and bring several truly bi-partisan votes to the floor. Start with a clean CR. I'm willing to be a smart Columbia U. man like President Obama would give you some support on an immigration bill with SOME conservative elements IF you would abandon Hastert; so too would he on Conservative ENHANCEMENTS to Obamacare. Come up with a tax reform plan that is TRUELY revenue neutral which simplifies the tax return preparation process & time for middle class Americans, one that lowers taxes for people making $25K to $100K, abandon the Hastert rule, and I'll bet Mr. Obama will back you.

    Imagine those ideas in your resume of accomplishment, John. Wouldn't that increase the chances of the GOP holding the House AND Moderate Republicans selecting YOU as speaker again? Would that record of accomplishments begin to get you mentioned in the same breath as O'Neil and wouldn't that be better than where you are mentioned now?

    September 30, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Wake up People!

    Congressional ratings are at an all time low.....

    10% and falling faster than Miley Cyrus on a bender........

    Keep up the good work GOP.

    September 30, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Gary B

    What percent of the US population is represented by the Tea party members in the House of Representative. If it is less that 10 percent, then they are telling the remaining 90 percent of the US population to go to HELL.. HOW DARE THE HOUSE SPEAKER SCREW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE LIKE THAT.

    September 30, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Ol' Yeller

    So the republican version of compromise is to go to the used car lot and threaten to set a car on fire. Light a torch, wave it around, and yell a lot... then make an offer of 5 dollars on the car and claim they met 1/2 way.
    All except for the part that you left out, about a person with a torch standing next to every car on the lot, I think you're spot on.

    September 30, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. allow me to translate

    Obama: I'm open to meaningful negotiation.

    I will not negotiate for anything. It is my way or I'm shutting the government down. You will swallow Obamacare one way or another America. I jammed it down your throats in 2010 and I will do it again even if I have to shut down the government to make it happen.

    September 30, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Eat it GOP idiots, how does the crow taste????? YOU LOST GOP!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "So why is just such an outcome becoming increasingly likely? The answer is Obamacare."

    So why is just such an outcome becoming increasingly likely? The answer is that Boehner and the House GOP/Teatrolls will not bring the "clean" funding bill to the House floor for a vote because the know it would pass.


    September 30, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    This article is the biggest load of false equivalence manufacture I've ever seen from CNN. Kudos, guys. Really going to the mat for the GOP/Teatrolls on this one, huh?

    September 30, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    So GOP idiots, tell your dumb voters to pay the peality if they don't want the benifits of the aca and SHUT UP, I personally don't care if all you teaparty GOP slugs don't have insurance and die!!!!!

    September 30, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "a law they desperately want gone but have been unable to dismantle,"


    September 30, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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