The Norman Transcript

Columns

September 21, 2013

Pointless fiscal battle shapes up

NORMAN — The chest thumping continues in Washington. And the problem-solving is nowhere to be seen.

Once again, House Republicans have their sights set on pulling the plug on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. As in the past, the effort will come to naught.

President Obama has vowed to veto the latest House measure should it reach his desk, but it won’t. Senate Democrats will never advance it.

That’s the way it’s been with a series of House votes intended to target Obamacare. They accomplish nothing, other than appeal to a political base that celebrates confrontation and despises communication and compromise.

This time around, however, the vote may be more than symbolic nonsense. The move is tied to a larger effort to temporarily extend funding for the federal government. Unless Democrats support the Republican effort to end fiscal support for Obamacare, there won’t be enough money to fully fund federal operations.

Plus, in the near future, Washington would run out of authority to borrow more money and risk defaulting on debt.

The consequences of that would be catastrophic for the economies of the nation and the world. So common sense says the politicians in Washington may threaten such a move, but they won’t allow it to happen. Republicans insist shutting down the government is not their goal.

But these days, common sense and Congress have little to do with each other.

For the first time this week, some House Republicans advanced an alternative to Obamacare. That’s a step forward, because so far, the party hasn’t offered anything of consequence to replace the Democratic health plan.

Yet rather than use their proposal as a platform for generating support for a different health care system, Republicans continue to play the same game: Get rid of Obamacare and then come up with something else. Sometime. Some day. Maybe.

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