Let's review what happened here. Just the objective facts with no opinion. An honest observation of what happened and nothing else ...
Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.
One of his top priorities was health care reform, and specifically to extend health insurance to as many of the tens of millions of people without it as possible.
In a long and pretty awful process that exemplifies the sausage-making process that is US lawmaking, Obama got a bill passed through both houses of Congress and signed it into law. We got the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare."
For various reasons--some legitimate and some not--Republicans largely did not go along with the bill.
But the bill became law.
In the words of Vice President, this was a "big F'n deal."
Consider how many times presidents had tried to do this but failed.
Immediately, special interests around the country spring into action, initiating various means to defeat the law, including by challenging it in the courts.
One direct result of this was the birth of the "Tea Party"--not a political party at all or really even a grass roots movement but instead an effort by very wealthy and very powerful individuals to protect their financial interests. Google the Koch brothers and Tea Party if you don't believe me.
This Tea Party phenomenon resulted in a complete turnover of government in some states and the US House went Republican as well. And they started right away working to repeal Obamacare.
But, ultimately, the US Supreme Court upheld the law, finding it to be constitutional. I actually predicted it right on this blog, by the way, but I thought it would be 6-3 (I called ROBERTS!!!! but missed on Kennedy).
So to summarize, the bill is law. And it is constitutional.
And it goes into effect TODAY.
But, even with all that, the House of Representatives voted to overturn or repeal Obamacare a total of 42 times, most recently voting to continue running the government but only if Obamacare were defunded. They spent tens of millions of dollars to do this.
Each and very time, the US Senate did not pass a similar bill. And of course, President Obama would never have signed it anyway.
Keep in mind also that we had another election since then. In 2012, the Republican party ran candidates for President and Vice President who promised they would repeal Obamacare if elected. But, they lost. And they lost badly.
On top of that, Democrats had gains in the Senate and House, although Republicans held control of the House even as Democrats received a higher number of cast ballots. Yet, because of safe districts, the far-right Tea Party faction of the House remained in place, and was empowered to continue to keep up their fight against Obamacare, even though it is the law of the land and is constitutional.
Which brings us to last night.
Last night, at midnight, the US government shut down after the US House of Representatives refused to pass a bill funding the government without stipulations. Instead, they voted to fund the government but not Obamacare, then they voted to fund the government but delay Obamacare by a year (along with many other stipulations). Then ... on and on ...
So, this is what happened, with no opinions, just observations:
One faction of one branch of government--a faction funded by multimillionaire and billionaire special interests whose opinions are actually not in line with a majority of Americans, and in spite of having failed dozens of times to overturn Obamacare and in spite of losing a major election centering on the issue--let the government shut down simply because they refuse to go along with a law that is constitutional.
It is that simple.
But who is getting the blame?
Depends on who you ask....
A House plan to undermine Obamacare but keep the government running is voted down again by the Senate, as is a call for a conference committee. FULL STORY
SENATE REJECTS LATEST House proposal to fund the government, signaling lawmakers are no closer to reaching a deal after triggering a partial government shutdown for the first time in 17 years, as Democrats continue to block Republican efforts to tie funding bill to ObamaCare changes.
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- VIDEO: Congress fails to OK deal; shutdown begins | VIDEO: Will shutdown hurt economy?
- ERICK ERICKSON: Republicans, stand and fight or risk getting nothing from government shutdown