As of this moment, freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading a sort of filibuster on the Senate floor. As the current continuing resolution that funds the government dwindles down to its final week, some members of the Republican Party are threatening to refuse to pass a new continuing resolution unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded. The House has already voted to take this course of action, but Republicans in the Senate are split. Make no mistake, the Affordable Care Act will be fully funded. The Senate version of the continuing resolution will include funding. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) both declared their intent to avoid a shutdown, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has made it clear that any CR that doesn’t include funding for Obamacare is “dead on arrival.”
The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It was passed by both houses of Congress, signed by President Obama, upheld by John Roberts’s Supreme Court. Since its approval by all three branches of government, it was further upheld by the American people as President Obama won a second term and the Democratic Party gained seats in the Senate. It is a law that will grant access to affordable insurance to millions of Americans who wouldn’t have had it. It gives young people like us the ability to stay on our parents’ insurance until age 26, which is one less financial concern at a time in our lives where we’re most financially vulnerable. It stops insurance companies from denying you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, and they cannot charge you more for being a woman. It allows states to expand Medicaid to give low-income Americans access to our health care system. And if Senator Cruz had his way, all of this progress would be torn down.
This is the first of two budget showdowns in the upcoming month. Assuming that a continuing resolution is passed and the government is fully funded, we are once again brushing our heads on the debt ceiling. If nothing changes, we will be unable to borrow money in mid-October. We’ve been down this road before, and it’s cost the nation its AAA credit rating. The debt ceiling fight in 2011 led to the infamous (and ongoing) sequester, and we can’t keep crippling our government by starving vital programs like Medicare and furloughing hard-working public employees. We need both parties to come together to meet what shouldn’t be a challenge in the first place: We need to enact a clean raise of the debt ceiling, and we need to keep the government fully funded.