Monday, September 30, 2013
Dent, Cartwright on Looming Government Shutdown
Because Congress and the President have been unable to adopt real budgets for the past several years, they've been funding government operations through what is called a "Continuing Resolution." That alone should be a signal that something is wrong. Very wrong. The most recently adopted continuing resolution dies today.
The House voted yesterday to add two amendments to a continuing resolution that will keep the government going past the witching hour.
The first of these imposes a one-year delay on the implementation of Obamacare, and passed by a vote of 231-192. The second, a repeal of the medical device tax, passed 248-174. Finally, the House unanimously agreed that, in the event of a government shutdown, the military must still be paid.
The one-year delay on Obamacare and repeal of the medical device tax were supported by all Republicans in Pennsylvania's Congressional delegation, and opposed by all Democrats.
The Senate will pick up these amendments sometime today as the brinksmanship continues.
LV Congressman Charlie Dent expects the Senate to reject the language delaying Obamacare, and that seems to be fine with him because he is not among those Republicans who likes to hold his breath.
"I oppose shutting down the government. I am also deeply concerned about the impending implementation of the Health Care Law – Obamacare – with exchange enrollment beginning on Tuesday. The House recently attempted to defund Obamacare. While I oppose the Health Care Law, I had concerns about the defunding tactic, but wanted to get a government funding bill (Continuing Resolution) to the Senate for action. The Senate then acted, as was expected, and voted to strike the defunding provision.
"While a more substantial delay of the Health Care Law is needed, and several major provisions have already been delayed administratively, I expect the Senate to reject the delay language in the House Bill. It is worth noting however, that Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia recently expressed some support for a delay.
"It will be much harder for the Senate to reject the repeal of the Medical Device Tax. In March, as part of a non-binding budget resolution, 45 Republicans, 33 Democrats and Independent Senator Angus King (ME) voted to repeal this job-killing, innovation stifling boondoggle. The bipartisan measure passed the Senate overwhelmingly 79 to 20. Repealing the medical device tax also received broad bipartisan support in the House which previously passed a repeal bill by 270-146 with 37 Democratic Representatives supporting the measure.
"On Thursday, Senator Harry Reid called the Medical Device Tax “stupid.” I agree. The Medical Device Tax is stupid – and destructive. The Senate should seize this opportunity for a win-win. They can vote to stop a government shutdown while also preventing the loss of tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for workers across the country.
"By voting for this new Continuing Resolution, which does not contain the defunding provision, the House has offered a reasonable path to a timely resolution to the current impasse. The Senate must now act to avert a government shutdown.
"Like most Americans, I wish to end the current stalemate so Congress can get on with other important work that the American People expect."
According to The Morning Call, Dent is pressuring House leadership to just pass a no-strings-attached spending bill. He claims the votes are there, too.
In an interview on MSNBC, the Lehigh Valley's other Congressman, Matt Cartwright, called the process "aggravating. We're here on a weekend. We're not learning anything new. We're here because a certain faction of the Republican conference are throwing a temper tantrum because they didn't get their way. ... At some point, you've got to stop arguing and realize it's time to move on."