At the stroke of midnight on October 1, the workings of the U.S. government will grind to a halt. That is, unless a deeply dysfunctional Congress fuels it with yet another stopgap measure to tide it over for a couple of months.
Technically, when the fiscal year runs out on September 30, the government doesn’t have the legal authority to spend money unless the House and Senate agree on an appropriations bill and the President signs it.
The Republican party is using the budget process to attack the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare–a bill so nauseating to them that the Republican-controlled House has voted to repeal it forty times.
Their latest blackmail offer is to withhold funding unless Obamacare’s individual mandate–a requirement that certain people purchase health insurance–is delayed by one year.
President Obama and Democrats, however, are blasting the GOP for holding the country hostage to their radically conservative base. They are pushing for a “clean” Continuing Resolution. The Senate is certain to reject spending bills with healthcare funding conditions. The clock is ticking. A shutdown is bound to ensue. Continue reading