The following is an abridged version of a conversation at www.facebook.com/edpagecourant.
Mark Pappa: It's a bad thing and both sides are at fault. Obama's legislation causes contentious debate. 58% of America according to today's CNN poll do not want the ACA. We are more divided today than we were under George Bush.
Rainell Morris Smart: Military gets their pay, SS and Medicare intact ... most important, Congress is essential. They get their pay ... what could be wrong with that? Last significant shutdown netted the beginning of significant welfare reform, and balancing the budget ... oh, the irony throughout.
Kevin White: Yes. It is a bad thing. Scorched-earth policy always is.
Marty Townsend: The ACA is the law. It has been debated, passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the president and has been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court. Attempting to defund a law as a condition to passing a budget act is against all the principles of a democracy. Imagine the uproar if President Obama had promised to shut down the government if background checks were not passed. The House GOP has got to be stopped — we cannot give in to domestic terrorists.
Cj Bernabucci: Shut down for a while. Put it to the test. What do you really need from the federal government?
Theresa Zwart-Ludeman: Good point, cesspool down there. Too much cash in D.C.
Cj Bernabucci: I am for the ACA ... I am an older person and need my health care subsidized. If the government shuts down and stops spending so much on nonsense, then there will be more money to subsidize my premium.
Dawn Cooper: Lots of laws were the "law of the land" and they have been overturned. Obamacare is the most partisan bill ever passed. The administration has given exemptions and delays to their friends and corporations. Certainly the American people should be afforded the same courtesy. Even the unions have woken up to the job killer that this law is.
Linda Kurtz Beher: A contrarian voice here. Our Constitution requires Congress to pass a budget. All this political gamesmanship flouts this requirement. Also, whatever happened to American generosity?
James Conroy: Hey Ed Page, imagine if the GOP held all three branches of government ... and the GOP passed a law against abortion, without reading it, and without letting the Dems in the room to discuss, then to solicit the Supreme Court to pass anti-abortion legislation, how would the left feel?
Dawn Cooper: The House has submitted multiple budgets. It is the democratically elected Senate and president that are threatening to shut down the government.
Marty Townsend: The Senate passed a budget in March. The House refuses to consider it or they would be forced into budget reconciliation.
Dawn Cooper: If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.
Ed Page: So the 47 million (that's million with a big "M") without health care coverage should just suck it up? The cost of their emergency health care gets paid by all of us under the current system — and it actually costs more that way.
Kevin White: Republicans will pay at the polls eventually. It's happened before. Heads will roll and the seats will swing again. Funny how those who like to cite the Constitution most conveniently forget what the constitutional mandate set to Congress is ... in favor of legislative extremism that flies in the face of the specific constitutional duty related to the passing of the budget. If the shoe were on the other foot, and Democrats were doing the same? My how hypocrites would howl ... pointing specifically to the constitutional duty they conveniently currently ignore.
Ed Page: The mind-numbingly stupid thing about this situation is that we've had this debate before, and at length, in 2009 and 2010 — and the people against universal health care lost. I suppose we could argue about overtime laws and the 40-hour workweek, but that battle is over — and so is this one. Opponents have had their innings, and the game is over. It's time to look at the scoreboard and go home.
Kevin White: The mind-numbingly stupid thing, Ed, is not only have we been through this already, the bill only funds the government for six weeks. Which means this stupidity starts all over again the minute Republicans cave, because eventually they must.
Art Mocabee: Shut it down ... let the libs and the freeloaders feel it.
Scott Schaller: The funny thing is there aren't five people on here that know the first thing about the ACA. The GOP is afraid of it. If they weren't, they'd just let it fail and they'd have a chance in 2014.
Jill Bartolomei Espelin: Of course government shutdown is a bad thing. Both sides need to do their job. I think they should all be furloughed, too. No pay until they resolve this.
Jeff Clark: Ask those who are losing their paychecks ...
Kevin White: There is no negotiating with the House of Representatives. That's kind of the point. There should be no negotiation over non-budgetary matters of legislatively decided law. The law has been passed. The duty of the House is to fit it in the budget ... not try to renegotiate.
Jeff Clark: I fear, after all is said and done, many Republicans will die a political hero's death in the course of winning ... at best a Pyrrhic victory ... 2014 will not pan out well for the Republicans.
John Porriello: President Obama and Harry Reid obviously don't think shutting down the government is a bad thing, otherwise they wouldn't have played on Sunday instead of meeting with legislators to work things out. What about the possibility of finding areas of spending to cut so that the debt ceiling doesn't need to be raised again? If they just cut spending, there would be no crisis and no government shutdown. The federal deficit has gone up $7 trillion under the Obama administration. Spending is the problem, not who is to blame for shutting down a government addicted to spending money we simply do not have.
Marty Townsend: Congress authorizes spending, not the president. Raising the debt ceiling does not increase spending, it simply allows the government to pay the bills that have already been accrued. Not raising the debt ceiling is like telling a waiter you're not going to pay the check when he brings it after you've already finished your meal.
Dawn Cooper: "Obamacare Summed Up in One Sentence": from a video posted on YouTube that shows Dr. Barbara Bellar speaking at a Women for Romney/Ryan [rally].
"We are going to be gifted with a health care plan that we are forced to purchase, and fined if we don't, which reportedly covers 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman doesn't understand it, passed by Congress, that didn't read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that is broke. So what the [blank] could possibly go wrong?"
Ed Page: There is so much BS in that poor excuse for a sentence that I don't know where to begin. But the gratuitous, ad hominem insults against the president for smoking (supposedly he doesn't anymore) and the surgeon general for being overweight (Really? Calling someone fat? That sure helps any argument) give the game away. Juvenile tantrum-throwing isn't actually making any case at all.
Kevin White: You beat me to it, Ed.
James Conroy: Ed, how is Dawn's post BS? It is all true ... your response is typical of the left ... can't answer with facts, or concise arguments, you ridicule.
Jim Bellano: Everything is a crisis ... the shutdown, the sequester ... everything but the annual trillion-dollar deficits and the crushing $17 trillion debt. If there's a shutdown, the sun will still come up in the morning.
James Conroy: Dawn, ever notice when you challenge a liberal or a media outlet to defend their disparaging comments directed at their opponents, they clam up? Think the HC will ask CT DC delegation why they exempted themselves? Nooooooo!
Ed Page: The fact is that almost everything in that execrable post was BS. 1) 16,000 IRS agents? That's an upper limit when nobody has made Decision One about hiring anyone at all. 2) To say that no one understood the ACA in Congress is clearly just broad-brush wrong. 3) Congress didn't "exempt" itself from the ACA — the fact is, members have employer-provided health insurance, like millions of other Americans, and thus need not buy their own insurance on exchanges. They get to keep the coverage they have — sound familiar? 4-5) Social Security will have enough money to pay retirees for decades at the current rate. I don't know other people do math, but that's not [bankrupt]. And who cares if the surgeon general is fat? Can anyone even name the surgeon general? :-)
Melissa Gran: Too many self-serving, idiotic, ignorant asses in one room. Elected officials that care more about hearing themselves talk and trying to make the president look bad than they do about the well-being of their country and citizens.
James Pavlick: It's a great thing. The less government the better. When the sun rises tomorrow people will realize that we don't need the federal government. The sky didn't fall over sequestration and the world won't end because you can't go camping with Yogi Bear in Jellystone National Park.
Chris Ward: I hope it backfires on the GOP just like it did 17 years ago, only far worse.
Jill Bartolomei Espelin: The shutdown doesn't matter? Ask someone who is a federal employee or contractor. Adolescent behavior. I can't believe they just can't do their job. Stop blaming health care reform! We don't have a good record in terms of industrialized countries with regard to the best, most accessible health care for everyone.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun