WASHINGTON, September 21, 2013 — President Obama is beside himself over a House vote on Friday. In a 230-189 nearly party-line vote — only Democrats Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Jim Matheson of Utah, and Republican Scott Rigell of Virginia crossed party lines — the lower chamber did the unthinkable. It passed a continuing resolution to keep funding the federal government at present levels.
This averts the dreaded “government shutdown,” so much on the lips of people who work inside the Washington Beltway, who live on other people’s money. But the House bill specifically does not fund the Affordable Health Care Act.
Now that Obamacare is getting closer to reality, most Americans oppose it in part or in toto, by about 2:1 in several polls. Americans don’t like huge government spending, and are worried about our ever-expanding national debt, the rise in our debt ceiling, and higher taxes. By not funding Obamacare, the House has directly addressed debt, and indirectly responded to the concerns about taxes and the debt ceiling.
When told of the vote, Obama tweeted, “They actually did it!” That may be an oblique homage to Charleton Heston’s famous line at the end of the 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes, when he discovers that this “planet” has actually been the former United States all along. He sees the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty, and in anguish, says, “They did it. I can’t believe they actually did it … Damn you. Damn you all to Hell!”
Obama and his minions are already blaming the Republicans for wanting to shut down the government and ruin the country’s credit rating. This bill does not shut down the government. Only a lack of Senate cooperation or a presidential veto of the continuing resolution would do that.
Obama himself says the vote is a personal attack on him. In Kansas City, he told workers at a Ford — the car company that didn’t take bailout dollars — stamping plant, “I don’t mind them disagreeing with me. They don’t like the Affordable Care Act. But you don’t have to threaten to blow the whole thing up just because you don’t get your way.” That’s right, Mr. President: You needn’t blow up the whole country because your signature Act is going to run out of money for a while.
It’s always about him. He accused Republicans of playing politics, of not focusing on those stamping-plant workers. “They’re focused on trying to mess with me.” Even if that were true, wouldn’t that be merely politics? Trying to mess with a big political player doesn’t rise to the level of, say, drawing a red line on chemical weapons, ignoring their first use, then declaring war on Syria, and then backtracking.
Besides, Obama himself has been modifying his Act all summer. With selective delays, cutouts, and set-asides, exemptions and off-the-cuff reinterpretations, he has been cutting his own pet law to pieces.
Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid chimed in, predictably blaming “Tea Party anarchists” for forcing the Republicans to cave in and vote as they did. He didn’t explain how such a group could do that. Reid joined the President in planning a shutdown, saying the Senate will not consider the bill just passed.
The House action, effectively a three-month reprieve, should actually amuse and invigorate the president. It gives him more time to fine-tune the AHCA to favor his Party’s voters, and to save as many of his Party’s members as possible in the 2014 elections.
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