After a wild day of partisan politicking and crazy, behind-closed-door coding, yesterday’s machinations can be summed up simply: Democrats have become the “Party of No,” and their Obamacare bill is failing.
Nearly all of yesterday House Republicans were cobbling together compromises to try and avert a government shutdown. Each and every one of them was met with a swift “no” by Majority Leader Harry Reid, who seemed almost giddy at the thought of being able to blame the GOP for shuttering Washington.
After choosing not to come to work on Sunday, thereby nearly assuring a shutdown, Sen. Harry Reid leisurely gathered his caucus to vote against the Republican continuing resolution (CR) that would delay Obamacare implementation by a month. The House immediately went back to work to cobble together another compromise. They again cut back on their demands, this time settling on a delay to the individual mandate for one year and eliminating the Obamacare subsidy for lawmakers and their staffs.
These should have been two no-brainer delays. After all, the Obama Administration has already delayed the employer mandate by a year, why should individuals face a tax for not signing up when big businesses won’t be taxed for ensuring their employees are offered “affordable” coverage? And good luck trying to explain to Americans why members of Congress and their staff shouldn’t purchase insurance on Obamcare exchanges, without a taxpayer-funded subsidy, just like everyone else.
Once again, Senate Democrats defeated the Republicans’ compromise. Not only that, but Harry Reid promised to keep the Senate in session as long as necessary to keep rejecting any forthcoming offers.
“They try to send us something back, they’re spinning their wheels,” Reid said. “We are not going to change Obamacare. Our negotiation is over with and I’ve said for two weeks: They should pass a CR.”
With time running short and options running low, the House once again coalesced behind a simple plea: Sit down with us and work this out. In a final bid to keep the government open Republicans passed a CR with instructions attached to send the bill to a conference committee, in which negotiators from both chambers would sit down to hammer out a compromise.
Democrats again refused, using the violent rhetoric they so often decry to explain their rationale.
“We will not go to conference with a gun to our head,” Reid said on the floor. “We realize we have to do that with both houses, but not with a gun to everybody’s head,” echoed Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY). “We’re not going to do it with a gun to our head that says we’re shutting down the government,” repeated Sen. Patty Murray (Wash).
Dangerous rhetoric aside, the Democrats’ utter refusal to negotiate sets the nation on a dangerous course.
“Senate Democrats could have passed any one of those compromises and averted this mess. Instead they chose to shut down the government,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “The House has already done its job to fund the government – again and again and again.”
But the political jousting match over government funding threatened to subsume the disastrous Obamacare rollout. Politico reports:
It turns out Washington didn’t have to shut down the government to hamstring Obamacare: It was caught up in its own start-up glitches Tuesday morning.
In state after state, users weren’t able to sign up for new health exchanges on the Web, encountering messages like “error establishing a database connection,” “your account couldn’t be created at this time,” and “please wait here until we send you the login page.” The federal government’s Website advised customers that “the system is down at the moment” around 9:30 a.m.
. . . It was an inauspicious beginning for the exchanges, which are the heart and soul of a law designed to provide insurance subsidies for millions of Americans who had no coverage. And in an anxiety-filled, only-in-Washington split-screen moment for both President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans, that heart of the law began pumping for the first time Tuesday morning just as the rest of the federal government had shut down.”
“I’ve applied for a lot of things, and there are always glitches,” Jon Tucci, who tried to enroll early Tuesday morning, told the Washington Post. “But this was totally disappointing. I’m just really frustrated.”
Sadly, his experience, which involved multiple attempts at signing up and a 45-minute phone call to a customer service center that ended with him hearing “the fascinating tone of a disconnect noise,” is probably going to be the norm.
Given the myriad problems with the Obamcare rollout, remind me again why a one-year delay is such a bad idea?