Budget bill played a game of ping pong on Capitol Hill this
past week as House Republicans fight the Senate over
passing a bill that includes funding for Obamacare.
By Bella McCarey
Latest update: The government has partially shutdown because of a disagreement between House GOP and Senate Democrats. Both sides are currently trying to find a compromise on a new temporary budget but the GOP is fearful that a new budget will still include the funding for Obamacare.
Previously reported: With two days left to meet a vital deadline, Senate Democrats voted 54-44 on Friday to pass a budget bill that prevents the government from temporarily shutting down, quickly sending it over to the House.
The looming government shutdown is supposed to occur midnight Monday, should Capitol Hill not come to an agreement by then. The shutdown includes government employees being laid off without pay, according to Government teacher Mr. Matthew Maris.
“Essential government agencies would operate as normal,” Mr. Maris said. “But things like national parks would close during the shutdown. This would be the first shutdown in 17 years.”
This Saturday, House Republicans chose to pass the bill with the exception of Obamacare, delaying it another year. A full floor vote took place that evening and into Sunday morning. The bill was passed by majority vote and was sent back to the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn’t approve of the provisions added to the bill, stating he wanted the GOP to “create a clean budget bill, without any Obamacare amendments, and presumably let it pass with a majority Democrat support.”
House Republicans are now planning their next move, the ultimate goal to pass a bill without actually passing the funds for Obamacare.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, was first presented to Congress by President Obama at a joint session in February of 2009.
Obamacare allows for Americans who don’t have either Medicare, Medicaid or are covered by other private insurance to be provided free healthcare.
“So the idea behind ObamaCare is that if everyone has it, hospitals/doctor offices will be able to lower their prices because they are no longer providing expensive surgeries to those that can never pay, then health insurance costs will go down in effect as well,” Government teacher Mr. Garrett Bull said in regards to how Obamacare works.
Mr. Bull continues, “This will then benefit those that are already paying for it...in theory! However, how do we require or provide health insurance to millions of Americans?”
The question of whether or not it really is free concerns many Republicans and even some Democrats. According to the Voter’s Market, over 2.6 trillion dollars will be collected in the next 10 years in the form of taxes that are associated with the reform.
Starting Tuesday, Americans will have the option of “buying” insurance exchanges provided by the government, giving people who are already covered the option to drop their current insurance. Anyone who isn’t insured by January 1, 2014 will be fined monthly.
House Speaker John Boehner said in a joint public statement on Saturday, “Later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s healthcare law as possible."
The second amendment added to the bill was to guarantee military pay in the possible case of a shutdown if the Senate doesn’t vote on the bill by the deadline.
Boehner continues, "The American people don't want the government shut down, and they don't want Obamacare…The House has listened to the American people. Now it's time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well."
Mr. David Danner of the History Department commented Friday, “It all comes down to a division of party lines. Republicans see it as the right thing to do, but Democrats will see it as an abuse of power.”
Mr. Maris weighs in, “The shutdown is being used as leverage by the Republicans to try to get Democrats to delay and amend the Affordable Healthcare Act. It is all very calculated.”
The decision to pass a budget by midnight or continue to battle over Obamacare now rests with the House, with their vote possibly being the last before the deadline.