The federal government is hurtling toward two critical deadlines where a failure to act will be extraordinarily damaging to the US economy. But Republicans think it’s okay to play political games even if it means sabotaging our economy.
Deadline 1: To avoid government shutdown, Congress needs to pass a spending bill to fund the federal government by September 30. Republicans have been engaged in a civil war for weeks over how best to use this deadline to manufacture a crisis. Those on the far right, led by Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, insist they shut down the government unless the budget fully defunds Obamacare, even touring the country to promote a shutdown. And now there are reports that House Republican leadership is following their lead in allowing such a bill to come to a vote.
The consequences of a government shutdown are severe: social security checks might not go out, our troops might not get paid, and the economy would take a huge hit. Indeed, some fearful Republicans have warned their constituents as much.
A majority of Americans will blame Republicans if the government shuts down. But Republicans are still unable to let go of their obsession with repealing Obamacare, and are now barreling towards shutdown. That’s just dumb.
Deadline 2: The U.S. government will default on its obligations sometime in mid-to-late October unless Congress extends its borrowing limit. This would have catastrophic consequences for not just the United States economy; it could cause a worldwide crash even worse than we faced in 2008. But House Republican leadership — that’s right, not just some of their crazier members — want to use the debt limit to force Congress to delay Obamacare for one year. Speaker John Boehner, who previously insisted he would not use the debt ceiling for political leverage, has promised “a whale of a fight.”
We’ve been down this road before. Paying our bills on time is non-negotiable. Congress needs to pay the bills Congress itself racked up. Period.
Even among those that oppose the health care law, more than half want their elected officials to make it work as well as possible. So if Republicans truly think the American people support their threats of default instead of doing the hard work of governing, well…that’s dumber.
BOTTOM LINE: Americans are tired of the fighting and of having their economic security put on the line time and time again. Harming the economy to refight old political battles won’t help middle class families.