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Government Shutdown Continues

October 7, 2013
Plain English Version

Experts say all it will take to restart the government is a vote in the House of Representatives. Why is that vote not taken?

A little history. Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. He said a new health care law was his first priority. The trouble was that the country was in the middle of a financial meltdown. It was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930’s.

In the election of 2008, Democrats took control of the Senate and the House of Representatives. They passed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Republicans were nearly all against the bill. They especially did not like the mandate that people had to buy health insurance whether they wanted to or not.

Opponents of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act created the Tea Party. They tried to take over the House of Representatives in the 2010 election. They succeeded, and now Republicans control the House.  About a third of the House Republicans belong to the Tea Party. Their goal is to kill Obamacare.

House district lines are redrawn after each census. The most recent census was 2010. Republicans were the majority in the legislatures of many southern and western states. They drew district lines that favored the elections of conservative Tea Party types.

Tea Party representatives are only a minority of the 435 House members. But they are firmly in place. The Republican Speaker, John Boehner, could lose his job if he goes against their wishes.

The mandate went into effect October1, 2013. House Republicans demanded that the mandate be defunded or delayed. They said they will not pass the bill to fund the government until this is done.

The U.S. Supreme Court said the Affordable Care Act is legal. Democrats said the Act is like the law passed in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor. They will not agree to defund or delay the Act.

Public opinion favors the reopening of the government. Many experts say the Tea Party Republicans are too partisan and too rabid in their opposition to the Act.

It will take an act of political courage on the Speaker’s part to resolve the government shutdown.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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