GOP bill to fund government, strip Obamacare draws smattering of voter support

Tim Skillern
Yahoo News
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Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, returns to his office after speaking with reporters about the deadline to fund the government and the fight among House Republicans, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. House Republicans vowed Wednesday to pass legislation that would prevent a partial government shutdown and avoid a default while simultaneously canceling out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, inaugurating a new round of political brinkmanship as critical deadlines approach. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When GOP leadership announced this week the U.S. House would vote Friday on legislation to provide stopgap funding to the government while simultaneously stripping money from the Affordable Care Act, the move found mixed support among Republican constituents.

“This is a dangerous and politically detrimental move,” voter Gabriel Abram of Long Island, N.Y., says.

“A government shutdown may be necessary to impress upon the president and his supporters how serious this matter is,” Mark Whittington of Houston counters.

“I am infuriated Obamacare has been made the focus of this bill, but I'm certainly not surprised,” Mary Kathryn Johnson of El Dorado Hills, Calif., says.

Some chagrined GOP leaders maintain that a focus on Obamacare will spell the bill’s demise in the Democratic-controlled Senate, while more conservative and tea party Republicans promise they’re fighting the health care law on principle.

Their positions mirrored reaction Yahoo News received on Thursday when we asked conservative and Republican voters to jump into the pick-your-poison vote: back the funding bill and gut Obamacare, or support only the stopgap funding and ensure its passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Here are some excerpts from what they wrote:

Let Obama be the bully this time

It's a conundrum, this business of being opposed to both Obamacare and to shutting down the government.

I agree with the majority of uninsured Americans recently polled who are confused by — and/or who disapprove of — Obamacare . However, the threat of a partial government shutdown tied to the GOP-backed bill to defund the health care act is not the answer.

The Republican Party doesn't need more spin depicting its members as a "bunch of bullies" who won't cooperate with President Obama and his lockstep Democrat followers. There is no need for Republicans to force a showdown over this debacle.

In spite of a Gallup poll conducted in July indicating a majority of Americans disapprove of Obamacare, President Obama promised on Thursday that he will veto any legislation that defunds Obamacare. I believe him. Let him assume the role of "bully" by insisting that it's his way or the highway.

I call for our Democrat representatives and senators to "man/woman up" and join Republicans by listening to Americans. Dismantle Obamacare, seek solutions that meet with the understanding and approval of We, the people, and remember that you work for us, not for President Obama.

Susan Durham lives in Baraga, Mich., and supports her Republican congressman, Dan Benishek, who said Thursday Congress should not shut down the government.

'Inconvenient' government shutdowns pale to ACA's ramifications

Nobody should desire a stoppage of services, much like those experienced in 1995 and '96, when Congress clashed with President Bill Clinton during budget negotiations. There are reasons such programs exist and funds should be available to allow normal function.

However, as defunding proponent Sen. Ted Cruz recently noted about the previous 28-day shutdown: "Nobody likes that outcome. But it also wasn't the end of the world."

Indeed, even under a potential government shutdown, a majority of federal services continue normally. Mandatory spending assures Social Security payments arrive, mail gets delivered, military remains robustly operational, FAA enables normal air travel, disaster services help citizens, and even Congress continues to work with electricity still running to Capitol Hill.

While closure of national parks, museums, and IRS call centers may prove inconvenient to workers and patrons, they remain just that: an inconvenience.

In contrast, broad consequences from unbridled federal spending and sky-rocketing health care costs may devastate the American economy.

That is why the House Republicans must take a stand and then win the public-relations battle, which was lost in 1995.

Jeff Briscoe is an attorney and writer from Port Charlotte, Fla. His representative, Tom Rooney, co-sponsored a similar Senate bill to defund Obamacare.

Friday's funding vote not the time to address Obamacare

Although a government shutdown does not directly affect me, it affects honest, hard-working Americans. A good friend has served the country faithfully in the U.S. Army both as an active member and a reserve. Because he works for the Department of Defense when he is not on active duty, he took a pay cut in the form of furlough days. Congress asks Americans to believe they truly serve their constituents while their constituents bear the consequences of their inaction.

And now, they want to hinge a government shutdown on the fate of ACA. Republicans want to accomplish three things with a bill which they know will never pass the Senate: They want to appear sympathetic to Americans who would be directly affected by a partial shutdown; they want to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to repealing Obamacare; and they want to satisfy the constituents who still hold them to the distant memory of responsible budget cuts.

This is what needs to happen: Congress needs to have a serious, constructive discussion about getting the budget under control and about how the Affordable Care Act may negatively impact Americans. What America does not need is more political grandstanding and ideological stagnation. The only way this will happen is if those responsible for the quagmire that is Congress are held accountable and voted out of office in 2014.

Jack Camwell is a U.S. Navy veteran and lives in central Ohio. He says he will not vote again for Rep. Pat Tiberi, a Republican who has opposed Obamacare.

GOP should defund ACA, stand fast if government shuts down

I support the House Republican effort to defund Obamacare even if the result is a government shutdown. Indeed, a government shutdown may be necessary to impress upon the president and his supporters how serious this matter is.

Suffice to say, the ACA will hike the cost of health care while lowering its quality, provide perverse incentives to employers to reduce hours of their employees, give government an unprecedented power to be intrusive in Americans' most intimate lives, and balloon the national debt. The inevitable result of Obamacare will be rationed health care, with a supervising board of bureaucrats deciding what should and should not be given to patients.

Clearly the president and other supporters of Obamacare think that they cannot be stopped in their desire to seize control of the American health care system. That is why congressional Republicans need to pass a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare and then stand fast if the Democrats choose to shut down the government rather than listen to the desires of the people.

Some have suggested that the effort is futile, that Republicans will just be blamed. But if they stand firm and articulate why they are doing so, pointing out that they have voted to fund every part of the government except for Obamacare, they may be surprised at the public support they get.

Mark R. Whittington lives in Houston and supports his representative, John Culberson, who has backed legislation that strips funds from Obamacare.