'They Have Lost Their Minds'

John Boehner speaks to the press. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)
John Boehner speaks to the press. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

(The Root) — The shutdown is here.

It became clear as early as 10:30 Monday night that there was no foreseeable way to bridge the ideological impasse in Congress. Sure enough, midnight came and went without so much as a peep of resolution. It was lights out for the federal government for the first time in 17 years.


That meant Tuesday morning, hundreds of thousands of Americans woke up to the realization that they no longer had a job. The lucky ones who will not be furloughed may see their salaries withheld in some manner until the crisis is dealt with.

The White House resigned itself to the inevitable late Monday night, with President Obama virtually throwing in the towel, remaining in the Oval Office just long enough to sign a last-minute measure passed by Congress, ensuring that the troops get paid in a timely fashion during the shutdown. 


"Every time, you've met your responsibilities and performed with extraordinary professionalism, skill and courage," Obama said in a midnight video message on Armed Forces Television to troops and Defense Department employees overseas, according to Time. "Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility. It has failed to pass a budget, and as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again."

On Monday, mere hours before the deadline, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed yet another bill that would fund the government temporarily in exchange for gutting the Affordable Care Act. This time around, the House sought to delay the implementation of the individual mandate and cancel certain health care benefits for lawmakers and their employees.

The Senate irrevocably rejected these measures, and ultimately the House decided not to make another attempt to modify the bill. 

That was but the final move in a series of tit-for-tat amendments that have been flying around Congress for about two weeks, with the House repeatedly trying to defund or delay Obamacare and the Senate repeatedly rejecting those proposals. 


"They have lost their minds," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said of the proposals, according to Politico. "The House once again has passed ridiculous policy riders that are dead on arrival over here."

"By wanting to repeal Obamacare using this method, it defies what the popular will is," Republican Sen. John McCain said, according to the Washington Post.


The onetime GOP presidential nominee from Arizona argued that if Americans were really that opposed to Obamacare, the 2012 election would have been "probably significantly different."

The House's best efforts are all for naught at this point. The government is in a seemingly unnecessary corner as Obamacare health insurance exchanges open for business today.  


Moreover, it could cost the GOP handsomely in upcoming elections, with recent polling showing that most Americans would blame the conservative party for the shutdown.  

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