n his weekly recap message, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) sharply criticized a minority of Republicans whose continued persistence to defund the Affordable Healthcare Act is pushing the United States closer to a government shutdown or a possible default on its credit. Just this morning the House of Representatives passed a short-term measure that hinges funding for the government on repealing the health care law.
"As you know, a lot of the issue is revolving around the Republicans' desire to defund the Affordable Care Act -- so called "Obamacare'," Senator King said. "These folks, I think it should be clear, are talking about shutting down the government or throwing the government into default on its credit in the middle of October because they don't want the health care plan to be funded."
As September 30th -- the end of the fiscal year -- approaches, Congress has not yet passed a budget resolution or any appropriations bills. Both the Senate and House have passed individual budgets, but Republican objections have prohibited the legislative process from moving to a conference committee, where members would be tasked with reconciling the two measures.
"It's a mess, and it's not so much what the number ends up being, although that's important, but the fact that there's so much uncertainty and it's so chaotic, that's what's really frustrating," Senator King said. "I am doing everything I can; talking to my colleagues, trying to poke people toward some kind of agreement, but you can't make people agree if they fundamentally don't want a solution -- and I'm afraid that what we're headed for now is some kind of crash or some kind of government shutdown in order to make people finally come to their senses and come to a sensible resolution."
This morning the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution, which will not be accepted by the either the Democratically-controlled Senate or the President, that would fund the government but that also would defund the health care law -- a political stunt that Senator King described as a "non-starter."
"It's very disappointing and there really is no excuse for it -- and I think you have to focus on the fact that there is this small group of people who not only don't want to fund Obamacare, they don't want the government to work and to them a shutdown is success," Senator King said. "And I think that's disturbing that people that see gridlock and our inability to face our problems and do something as simple as pass a budget -- who see not doing that as success is very dangerous for the country."