WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — U.S. lawmakers have about one week left to figure out a way to avoid a government shutdown or face the consequences of what could be an unpopular move with the American people.
A shutdown will occur if Congress cannot agree on a budget deal. The Republican-controlled House last week passed a bill that included a provision to strip funding from Obamacare. The Democrat-controlled Senate will most likely remove that provision, setting up a situation where Congress can’t agree on a budget bill. And even if the Senate did agree to a budget that defunded Obamacare, there’s no way President Barack Obama would sign off on it.
Thus the government shutdown.
Many lawmakers say they don’t want the first government shutdown since 1996 — but fingers are already being pointed just to be on the safe side.
“I believe we should stand our ground,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), leader of the defund Obamacare movement.
Cruz and fellow Tea Party conservatives on Sunday said Obama and his Democratic allies will be to blame if they don’t accede to demands to strike the national health care law.
“If (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid kills that (demand), Harry Reid is responsible for shutting down the government,” Cruz said Sunday.
However, it’s worth noting that the shut-down tactic won Democrats major political points in the 1990s and may have even helped President Bill Clinton win a second term. Therefore, some pundits say, many Democrats may secretly favor another shutdown in the hopes that it will increase their party’s political clout.
But that’s not to say that top Democrats have shunned away from attacking the GOP for setting up a government shutdown showdown.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called supporters of the defund strategy “legislative arsonists.”
“The anti-government ideology … is making a mess of what goes on in Congress,” Pelosi said on CNN Sunday.
And the president had a direct message to those backing efforts to roll back his health law: “Let me say as clearly as I can: It is not going to happen.”
But this doesn’t seem to have deterred determined opponents of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) said the goal was to defund the president’s health care legislation for at least one more year, if not forever. If the government shuts down, it will be because Obama refused to compromise, he said.
“We do have eight days to reach a resolution on this, and I propose an idea that kept the government operating and opened for an entire year while delaying and defunding Obamacare for a year so that we could work out those differences,” Graves said.
Left unsaid: It would require Obama to greatest accomplishment to date.
“We don’t want to shut down the government,” said Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) “I want to make it clear: We want to shut down Obamacare.”
The tense political standoff comes one week before Congress reaches an Oct. 1 deadline to dodge any interruptions in government services. While work continues on a temporary spending bill, a separate deadline looms a few weeks later when the government could run out of money to pay its bills.
Lawmakers are considering separate legislation that would let the United States avoid a first-ever default on its debt obligations. House Republicans are planning legislation that would attach a 1-year delay in the health care law in exchange for ability to increase the nation’s credit limit of $16.7 trillion.
“I cannot believe that they are going to throw a tantrum and throw the American people and our economic recovery under the bus,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat
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The Associated Press contributed to this article.