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Is Obama Bluffing?? Historic Vote in the House Puts the President on the Defensive

Today, in a historic vote, the United States House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution that will avert a government shut-down, while also protecting the American people against the further implementation of Obamacare. Earlier this week on “Common Cents,” I had a conversation along these lines with South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney from the 5th Congressional District. Today, Congressman Mulvaney joined with his other South Carolina congressional colleagues Trey Gowdy, Jeff Duncan, Joe Wilson and Mark Sanford in standing-up for families and businesses here in the Palmetto State and across the country. In a convincing vote, the US House called the President’s and the Democrat’s bluff on Obamacare funding. Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats have drawn a line in the sand, claiming that they will not negotiate with regard to Obamacare funding in a short-term continuing resolution.

As I wrote in a recent piece at joshkimbrell.com, the entire concept of a “continuing resolution” is fundamentally flawed. This short-term budget provision is the result of Washington dysfunction, namely its failure to pass a budget for the federal government in over five years. Continuing resolutions, or “CRs,” are short-term spending measures that are designed to bridge the gap until a full budget can be drafted and passed. The problem is that, since the President and Congress haven’t passed a budget in over five years, this has become the rule, not the exception. Thus, most common-sense Americans oppose the whole concept of a CR in its entirety, seeing it for what it actually is: a total failure of financial leadership. As a result, I have said that I’d oppose the entire notion of a CR, regardless of whether or not it funded Obamacare, thus forcing a debate over an actual federal budget for the first time in over five years. Nevertheless, the House’s actions today were strategically smart, and a very strong step in the right direction.

Most Americans oppose Obamacare, but most Americans also oppose shutting-down the government over funding it. Thus, for the House to seize the initiative to fund the federal government, thus paving a way to avert a shut-down, while simultaneously stripping funding for a highly unpopular program, is a winning strategy. It will force the President and Senate Democrats to negotiate with House conservatives, and it shifts the burden of responsibility regarding a federal shut-down to the Democrats. They can no longer claim that the House Republican caucus is holding the federal government hostage over Obamacare funding, for the President and Senate Democrats will now have to shut-down the federal government over funding for one program, while all other programs are already paid-for.

Today was a great victory for the American people, as the “people’s house,” the House of Representatives, represented the wishes of the strong majority of the people of this country. In the words of House Speaker John Boehner, “the American people don’t want the government shut down and they don’t want Obamacare.” Fortunately, the vote in the House today will give us what we want on both fronts. Let’s let the President and Senate Democrats now figure out how to convince Americans that the entire federal government ought to be shut-down just to pay for the President’s unpopular healthcare plan. The House just called the President’s bluff, now he must put-up or shut-up about a government shut-down.

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