GOP’s Affordable Care Act antics hurt party

Divisions within the Republican Party are threatening to bring the government to the precipice of financial collapse. Based on the vote held in the House of Representatives, the Republican Party’s goal seems to be holding the fiscal debates hostage to cut off funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As Congress careens through this messy fiscal negotiation, a lack of coordination and an absolute absence of cooperation threaten to throw the debates — and America — over the edge of ruin.

Fortunately for the Democrats, divisions are emerging within the Republicans over the best way to defund the ACA. This lack of coordination in the Republican Party might be ultimately beneficial for resolving the fiscal negotiations and preserving the ACA.  The absence of a coordinated opposition to the ACA will have far-reaching political consequences for the GOP: It will portray them as a divided party, willing to put the nation’s economic recovery at risk to halt a singular law.

Though cooperation between both parties is usually necessary for passing legislation in such a divided government, the GOP’s failure to coordinate will actually help make a solution to the government shutdown possible. The GOP is a house divided: it might be bad for them, but in this case, that is good for the U.S.

After a bill from the House to defund the ACA and maintain the present levels of government funding passed on a party-line vote, the Senate took up the measure. Referring to the bill as “dead on arrival,” Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) swore that a bill would return to the House at the end of the week that removed the ACA-stripping language, forcing House Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the House Republicans to either shut down the government, or accept it.

According to the Washington Post, even as the bill arrived from the House, some GOP Senators were plotting to delay its transfer back to the House, drawing fire from minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Arizona Senator John McCain.

When a procedural vote to consider the bill came up, Tea Party darling Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delivered the fourth-longest speech in Senate history, holding the floor for just over 21 hours in an attempt to block debate, according to NBC News. At the conclusion of his speech, the Senate promptly voted 100-0 to bring the bill up for consideration.

Antics such as Cruz’s filibuster actually increase the chances of resolving the government shutdown. According to CBS News, the House will not get the bill back until at least Sunday because of the time necessary to debate and amend the legislation. This will leave Boehner just hours to avoid a government shutdown, and no time to send a different bill to the Senate. Given that a shutdown would be disastrous for the GOP’s approval ratings — as they would be the party last holding the bag — most indicators point to them sending the Senate bill (with the ACA intact) to President Barack Obama’s desk.

Coordination within the GOP is necessary to preserve the party as a functioning, cohesive unit. The time and place to make a case for repealing the ACA will come in the spring, when the sequestration cuts are revisited. At that time, Republicans can easily make the case for more affordable health care, in conjunction with fixing the arbitrary cuts levied by the sequester.

Every day spent haggling over the ACA now only takes away from the GOP’s credibility to attack the law at a time that actually makes sense. More importantly, preserving credibility for the spring term will enable real discussions between the Democrats and the Republicans on the future of the law. If the present trend is any indication, however, the Democrats might have the last laugh.


Nathaniel Haas is  a sophomore majoring in economics and political science. His column “A House Divided” runs Thursdays.

Follow Nathaniel on Twitter @Haas4Prez2036  

3 replies
  1. Kurt Underkofler
    Kurt Underkofler says:

    I think the real story should be Obama and his Socialist Policies are going to shut down Companies. Obama Care is just more Gov Control. You cannot name me One Gov Program that is run more efficiently then the Private Sector. The problem is to many young people fail to educate yourselves, you are being taught by a Network of people making living off the system. This Information you have posted is why our Country is in Decline. Thanks

  2. Ras
    Ras says:

    One of the disturbing comments I often heard when it came to the recent bankruptcy of Detroit was that this didn’t happen overnight and that it was decades in the making. Although some of the examples may differ, we are looking at the decline of US and slowly following the failed states we have seen in Greece and Europe.

    There is no such thing as free or even affordable healthcare. The only thing Obamacare is doing is redistributing who will pay more and who will continue to expect the govt to take care of them.

    This is like so many of Obama’s socialistic, redistributing tendencies. Think about it – how does signing a piece of paper magically make healthcare affordable for all? It doesn’t! It just eventually makes the cost of healthcare fall even more heavily on people who work hard and pay their fair share – then these same people are accused of not paying their fair share while millions continue to sponge off these same people.

    When I see Los Angeles, 20, 30 years from now – it is headed in the Detroit trajectory. I am afraid much of the country is also following suit.

  3. Liberty Minded
    Liberty Minded says:

    “a shutdown would be disastrous for…” This is a debatable conclusion. For a party that is wary of government and a citizenry that is threatened by the TSA, NSA, ect., shutting down the beast is not a PR problem. Remember that a “shutdown” will pause the “non-essential” functions of the government.

    A shutdown could be the fastest track to finding out which functions of the government are a waste of money and a return to reasonable budget debates and practices.

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