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The Baltimore Sun

Republicans' Shutdown Strategy Not Winning Any Fans

Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to shutting down the government as a tactic to derail the Affordable Care Act, even though they are divided on the law itself, a new national Quinnipiac University poll has found. Indeed, 72 percent of respondents oppose the tactic of using a shutdown to block implementation of the health care law.

That should tell House Republicans that they aren't fooling anyone. They who proclaim strict fealty to the Constitution are attempting to sabotage it, to thwart the process, to change a law by holding the government hostage.

Neither the Senate nor President Barack Obama are caving to the bully tactic, so the result is a shameful and completely unnecessary shutdown of the government.

Most experts think the consequences won't be disastrous if the Beltway kabuki play ends quickly. But if it goes on for several weeks, some programs, particularly state programs that are paid for with federal dollars, could be in trouble.

Inevitably, many of these programs, which pay for such things as school lunches, energy assistance, temporary assistance for needy families, child care and senior services, affect the people least able to cope with the loss.

There are also federal workers, including thousands in Connecticut, and possibly state workers paid for with federal dollars, who get the short straw.

And lest we forget, there will be a serous impact on veterans, as the Veterans Administration lays off claims processors and others.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes called the behavior of his GOP colleagues "childish," and he is right. The tea party ideologues insist on either getting what they want or they'll take their ball and go home. But Obamacare is already law, passed by both chambers of Congress in 2009, signed by the president in 2010 and even upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. If it can be repealed by threats, University of Maryland Professor Thomas Schaller wondered in his Baltimore Sun column Tuesday, what law is safe? Look out, Clean Water Act.

Fortunately, the people are wise to it — and they don't like it.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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