The Anarchy Express

The government is headed for a train wreck, thanks to House Republicans

Unless something changes between now and Monday, Sept. 30, the U.S. government is headed for a horrific train wreck, thanks to the Republicans in the House of Representatives, who appear ready to go along with the anarchists among them and defund Obamacare, even if it means shutting down the government.

Never mind that polls show a majority of Americans support the Affordable Care Act. Never mind that it was an issue in the 2012 presidential election and the candidate who opposed it, Mitt Romney, lost. House Republicans are so determined to starve Obamacare that they’re willing to stop paying America’s bills and sacrifice the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

They know that, for President Obama and congressional Democrats, the health law—which, after all, was passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court—is not negotiable. What the Republicans are doing is, in a word, extortion. They’re saying that, unless Democrats give them what they want—that is, destroy the most important legislative achievement of this president’s tenure—they will blow up the government by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.

By the way, since when does the House have the right to defund—that is, repeal—laws duly passed by Congress and signed by the president? What’s next, Medicare? Unemployment insurance? Social Security? As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich points out, there’s a constitutional issue here that should be tested.

In any event, if the Senate finesses passage of the bill raising the debt ceiling and restores funding for the health law, the package will go back to the House. This will be a defining test for House Speaker John Boehner. If he once again acquiesces to the extremists on his far right and requires his caucus to vote against the amended bill, the government will almost certainly shut down, causing an economic disaster of monumental proportions.

We’ll know whom to blame.