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According to a U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released this week, a government shutdown would not stop implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report was requested by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in the midst of threats by some Republicans to cease funding the government on October 1 if a continuing resolution (CR) includes funds for the health care law.

CRS reports that other sources of funding would still be available, and that major provisions of the law, including the federal and state insurance marketplace and the individual mandate, would go into effect regardless of a shutdown.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other tea party members have refused to pass a CR that includes funding for the ACA. Their plan is to use the CR debate in September to eliminate the ACA. The Cruz plan risks a government shutdown unless the health care law is repealed, an issue that continues to cause a great deal of controversy and division within the Republican Party. Senator Lyndsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, "We should do everything we can to delay the individual mandate for a year. But my view is that this is not really what the public is interested in. You shut the government down: that means people lose Social Security checks."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that House Republican leaders support continuous votes to build "on the successful, targeted strikes against the law that took place in the House this month and resulted in significant Democratic defections, chipping away at the legislative coalition that keeps the president's health care law on the books." Boehner has repeatedly warned of the political dangers that come with shutting down the government. Many Republicans have stark memories from the Clinton-era shutdown fights and believe the GOP took the lion's share of the blame for a politically disastrous fight.

In a Morning Consult poll out this week, almost half (47 percent) of registered voters say they are less likely to vote for their Washington representatives next year if they tie ACA defunding to government spending votes.

Posted in: Regulatory News
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