More Republican-Obama drama is afoot in Washington.
In an official Statement of Administration Policy released Thursday morning, President Obama expressed his deep disapproval of next year’s Republican-sponsored proposed appropriations legislation — namely because it would take away funding for the Affordable Care Act.
In his own words, House Joint Resolution 59 – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 (that's H.J. Res. 59 for the cool kids):
… advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class. The Resolution would defund the Affordable Care Act, denying millions of hard-working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage.
But the Republicans know that, and that’s sort of why they wound up proposing a version of the bill that included the defunding last night. Cheeky devils.
“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to repeal the president’s failed health care law,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a press conference yesterday.
Continuing resolutions like this are passed to temporarily sort out funding for government agencies for the next fiscal year, until more agency-specific legislation can be passed later.
For the resolution to pass, it needs to pass both House and Senate and avoid Obama’s veto. Without this legislation, non-essential government agencies aren’t legally allowed to spend money, which means they can’t pay their workers or enter into new contracts.
In other words, they’ll have to shut down.
So, in summary: Republicans are desperate to block the Affordable Care Act. Obama and most Democrats are desperate to keep it. But if everyone wants to avoid a government shutdown, someone’s going to have to give.
President Obama says he’ll definitely veto the resolution as it stands: “If the President were presented with H.J. Res. 59, he would veto the bill,” The White House wrote in the statement.
A resolution passed last night at 9:32 p.m. pushes back the vote in favor of an hour of debate. An hour, to be precise, scheduled between September 26 and 29. And what’s the deadline for each house of Congress to vote on the resolution and have Obama's approval?
With a government shutdown now “very likely,” it looks like things are going to get a little tense in Congress before the end of the month.