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The long view: Why Republicans aren’t shutting down the government over Obamacare

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

The Senate just voted down Sen. Ted Cruz’s, R-Texas, amendment to the House-passed Continuing Resolution that would have defunded Obamacare. The 45-52 vote went down entirely along party lines.

If a similar vote had taken place in the House, a similar result would have been likely. But since Republicans are the majority in the House, that amendment would have become part of the CR, and the CR would have been DOA in the Senate. We would be heading to a certain government shutdown at the end of this month.

Instead, House Republican leaders chose to avoid any votes on amendments to defund Obamacare. “I do think there’s a feeling in the conference among some folks who think that the 2012 election settled Obamacare, that we kind of need to move on,” Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Florida, told Byron York. “I’m on the other side. I don’t think it did, because I don’t think it was a major issue in the campaign.”

With all do respect to DeSantis, I don’t think that is the House leadership’s view. Like Byron, I could not get House leadership to go on record on the issue, but I did ask Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., who voted for the CR, why he supported the measure. Rokita said the CR was “not the hill to fight Obamacare on” and encouraged conservatives to take the long view.

“Imagine you are running a small business and a customer owes you $2,000. One day he comes in with $500. Are you going to turn down the money he is giving you now just because he doesn’t have the full sum? Of course not,” Rokita said. “You lock that savings in now.” That’s what Rokita Republicans accomplished by voting for the CR: they locked in sequester levels of spending which is a real accomplishment.

As House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said yesterday about Obamacare, “We don’t like this law – it will collapse under its own weight.” Every conservative I’ve talked to on the Hill believes Obamacare will fail … spectacularly. If this is true, there is no reason to shut the government down over the issue now. Let the law go into effect. Let if fail. Let a new president whose name is not attached to the law get elected. Then replace it.

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