On the edge of the cliff

It seems as if the federal government will shut down today at midnight because it has no budget. For the past three years, our country has gone from crisis to crisis every time lawmakers need to approve a budget plan or raise the debt ceiling.

This time, what is different is the extreme animosity of a group of Republican congresspeople who oppose the health care law and would rather close federal offices than let Obamacare be implemented. Therefore, the latest budget extension seeks to postpone the entry into effect of the law for one year.

What is ironic is that it is precisely tomorrow, October 1, when the health insurance marketplaces—a centerpiece of the reform—begin operating throughout the country. The eventual government shutdown to avoid Obamacare won’t at all prevent the startup of the enrollment of beneficiaries on that same day.

Let’s not forget either that several clauses of the health care law already entered into effect, expanding the coverage for beneficiaries and providing patient protections that did not exist.

The political debate about Obamacare already took place in 2012, as shown by election results. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court found the law constitutional. What else is needed?

In reality, if we do not have a federal budget today, it is because the lower chamber’s leadership refused to send its negotiators to the conference committee to reconcile the plans approved by the Senate and the House. Republican congressmen refused to follow the regular path for fear of not achieving all the legislative requests of an ultraconservative agenda.

That is why they prefer to govern by creating unnecessary crises—because there is no other way to pass unpopular measures, other than blackmailing the White House.

This irresponsible attitude will hurt millions of Americans whose services, wages and contracts depend on the federal government. They can point out those responsible in the Republican caucus of the House.