What others say: Should the GOP shut down the government to end Obamacare?
That's why President Barack Obama unilaterally decided to delay the "employer mandate" provisions of the law until after the 2014 midterm elections. No point in riling up millions of voters who might take out their wrath on Democrats who passed the law. The bad news? As unpopular as Obamacare may be, people regard Congress - especially the Republican-controlled House - with even greater contempt. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll reports 83 percent of Americans say they disapprove of Congress, suggesting some legislators would struggle to win votes from members of their immediate families at this point.
Defunding programs and even certain government jobs is well within Congress's power. Republicans are well practiced at the art of depriving liberal causes of tax dollars. (Remember ACORN?) Defunding provisions of the badly misnamed Affordable Care Act would be a worthy effort - if Republicans had solid majorities in both houses of Congress. Sadly, they do not.
How did we come to this pretty pass? The president and Congress for years have been unwilling and unable to pass a real budget. So they've settled for passing "continuing resolutions" that keep the government running. Every time one of these resolutions comes up for a vote, we have one of these showdowns. Somebody always threatens to shut down the government. Somebody always blinks.
Shutting down the government to kill Obamacare might be worth the risk if Republicans didn't blink. Fortune favors the bold - and boldness is not a virtue rewarded in politics.
Ben Boychuk is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal. Joel Mathis is a contributing editor to The Philly Post. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or www.facebook.com/benandjoel.
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