WASHINGTON, Oct 2 – The colossal machinery of the US government will be largely paralyzed again Wednesday in the rancorous dispute over President Barack Obama’s health care law, which conservatives want to gut.
In the first such shutdown in 17 years, the White House and Republicans were digging in for an extended struggle with no solution, or serious dialogue to find one, in sight.
National monuments would be barricaded for a second day in America’s latest crippling political crisis which shut US war cemeteries in Europe and sent hundreds of thousands of federal workers home without pay.
President Barack Obama accused conservatives in the House of Representatives of waging an “ideological crusade” by making government funding conditional on gutting his landmark health care law.
His top foe, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, said Obama was pursuing a “scorched earth” policy by refusing to negotiate, as the rhetoric hit new heights and hopes for a swift end to the standoff faded.
The president was in feisty form at a White House event marking the rollout of a key portion of Obamacare, which turned into an extended taunt at Republicans for failing to halt implementation of the sweeping law.
“This Republican shutdown did not have to happen I want every American to understand why it did happen,” Obama said.
“They have shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health care to millions of Americans.”
The morning after
It was the morning after on Capitol Hill, where late night brinkmanship sent America into its first government shutdown in 17 years when the money ran out at midnight.
Boehner, who effectively chose to side with the uproarious Tea Party faction of his party rather than risk his job by attempting to pass a straight funding resolution stripped of political poison pills, lit into the president.
“Washington Democrats have slammed the door on reopening the government by refusing to engage in bipartisan talks,” he wrote in an opinion piece in USA Today.
The political paralysis remained unbroken as the Senate followed through on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s promise, rejecting the House’s demand that the two chambers appoint formal negotiators to thrash out a deal.
So far at least, Boehner is dancing on precarious political ground.
A Quinnipiac University poll found voters, by a margin of 72 percent to 22 percent, oppose the shutdown of the government as a way to derail Obamacare.
The New York Daily News tabloid had a more blunt summation: “House of Turds” its front page read, in a swipe at Republicans modeled on the hit Netflix political mini series “House of Cards.”
Thousands of federal workers trekked into town only to clear their desks and be told they were not “essential” to running the US government machine.