The editors of the Washington Post call for Congressional responsibility:
Specifically, Congress needs to fund the government after the current spending law expires on Sept. 30, and it needs to raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit, which will be reached sometime in the second half of October, and which must be increased to avoid the possibility of a U.S. default.
Alas, these two pieces of what should be routine business have become entangled in the politics of Obamacare, which is to say the decreasingly comprehensible politics of the House Republican caucus. A sizable minority of GOP members insists on “defunding” the health care law before the major parts of it begin to take effect in January. According to a recent Congressional Research Service analysis, this is an operationally futile goal. It would be bad policy even if it were possible.
What’s more, it’s bad politics for the GOP to risk a government shutdown in pursuit of this chimera — a fact Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) recognizes but which has, so far, failed to sway his back-benchers. This is why Democrats are content, for now, to sit back and cheer on the Republicans’ internal feud. Also, that’s easier than countering the Republicans’ anti-Obamacare crusade with realistic budget alternatives.
I think the House Republicans should fund the government and raise the debt limit as the WP editors suggest, including funding ObamaCare. If they wish to be consistent with their members’ version of fiscal prudence they can include what they deem as responsible cuts to spending, concentrating specifically on things that Senate Democrats will find particularly objectionable, other than defunding ObamaCare. Then they can watch the spectacle of the Senate Democrats voting to paralyze government. Sadly, the likelihood of their doing that or, indeed, anything politically savvy approaches zero.