Within hours, 800,000 non-essential U.S. government staff from NASA, Social Security, and National Parks Associations will be packing their bags and heading home indefinitely.
It seems most politically correct to apportion blame in this case equally to Democrats and Republicans, to chalk the government shutdown to a bipartisan failure of the two-party system.
However, we should not place equal blame on both parties. The Republican Party deserves the majority of the blame for this shutdown.
The Republican Party has tried to draw the ever so weak link between the Affordable Care Act and passing the necessary stopgap measures to continue funding the federal government. Obviously, Obamacare is irrelevant to this issue; Obamacare will actually reduce current health care expenditures and can therefore not be considered regarding funding the federal government.
Republicans have only proposed striking the law as a precondition to negotiating over the stopgap measures because they disagree with its content.
This is simply unacceptable.
The Affordable Care Act passed Congress, was ratified by the president, and was signed into law by President Obama.
True, it passed with no Republican votes due to Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress following Obama’s 2008 election success.
However, that is a part of politics. The decisions of Congress are meant to represent the will of the people and the fact that the people voted in Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress shows that the people gave a mandate for the Affordable Care Act. Most of the major revolutions in government were passed in this way. The pro-business policies passed during the Civil War (when Southern Democrats voluntarily left Congress) and the New Deal policies passed by huge Democrat majorities in the 1930s come to mind. To discount such policies based on the basis of the party members who voted for them makes no sense and threatens the legal system that serves the basis of the Constitution.
Even if we were to assume for a minute that stalling the Affordable Care Act is relevant to this issue, the Republican Party would still deserve blame for failing to try to negotiate. Ted Cruz’s 21 hour filibuster was not a proud statement of principles, but rather an untimely burst of arrogance and obstinacy at a time when such a massive consequence loomed for the American people.
At this time, Democrats clearly show more will to compromise. Democrats have shown willingness to negotiate with Republicans despite their unfair demands in previous fiscal cliff crises and have ultimately been the ones to cave in for the greater good of America.
As Jon Stewart so eloquently put it, “If it turns out that President Barack Obama can make a deal with the most intransigent, hardline, unreasonable, totalitarian mullahs in the world, but not with Republicans, maybe he’s not the problem.”