It was expected that a continuing resolution (CR) would pass before Sept. 30 to delay the shutdown, but now seems less likely. Inaction will result in the federal government shutting down Oct. 1.
The crux of the disagreement regards the pending implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since its inception, and ultimate passage, a majority of Republicans have opposed the Act. They claim it stifles economic growth, lacks necessary reforms, bloats spending and creates over burdensome regulations. House Republicans passed a CR spearheaded by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) last week to defund the ACA.
Senate Democrats continue to refuse bill passage and are preparing to restore ACA funding via their own CR. They argue the ACA is vital to the health and welfare of all U.S. citizens in the face of skyrocketing healthcare prices. President Obama says he will veto any measure that defunds the ACA.
Making the situation even more complicated is the fact that the government is set to hit the debt ceiling (again) in October. House Republicans have already indicated that the ACA will be on table during the debt limit negotiations regardless of what happens with the continuing resolution.
President Obama’s recent statements signal his unwillingness to make major policy concessions in exchange for an increased debt ceiling may prove difficult for Democrats should Republicans agree to a deal and remove the debt ceiling altogether until November 2014 (which has been rumored).