Editorial: Root of the problem? House Republicans

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

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The inability of Washington to function for the past week has caused negative implications for not only national parks and government websites but also the status of the nation’s health standards, the future credibility of the United States and the overall stability of the global economy.

The inactivity begs the question: What prompted the U.S. government shutdown? The better question really is: Who prompted said shutdown? Essentially, the party that failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, in the U.S. Supreme Court and during the last presidential election is at the root of the problem. House Republicans have shut down the government as a result of their latest tactic to prevent health care reform from being implemented. Their leverage: refusal to pass a national budget until the reforms are delayed.

So in actuality, the turmoil happening on Capitol Hill resembles much more of a shakedown, if anything.

Republicans cite popular opinion as the reason why they are choosing to keep the government furloughed, yet a majority of the nation disapproves of the shutdown — even those who want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed.

What is baffling is the bargaining point Republicans are using: Delay the reforms and, in turn, the government will reopen. Yet a key provision of the health care reforms was initiated the day before the government furloughed, and it will continue regardless of the government’s activity in Washington. So what is plan B for Republicans? As of now, they haven’t thought that far.

The egregious political tactics of House Republicans must be halted. The pity games and eleventh-hour negotiations are simply out of style and do not promote healthy democratic practices. 

In fact, they’re harmful to our nation’s legislative practices, Americans who rely on government agencies and the global economy.

China, Japan and other prominent creditor nations have little oversight with regard to health care reforms in the U.S., but they have a vested interest in preserving America’s basic social, financial and economic stability. The Republican contingent has directly interfered with said interest by threatening the confidence international investors have in the U.S. economy.

House Republicans have had four years to reform the fundamentals of the Affordable Care Act. They have repeatedly preached on repealing and replacing the legislation without actually introducing an alternative measure, and they have made their point through such unproductive tactics.

Overall, the government shakedown is a freight train with no purpose but to invest in the false belief that childish tactics can establish some solution to a confusing impasse. The sooner Washingtonians realize this, the quicker America can address the government’s impending default on its debt obligations. 

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