warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

House Moves To Defund Obamacare, Will Federal Shutdown Ensue?

Sara Newman |
September 21, 2013 | 9:41 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Major decisions will be made in the Capitol Building over the next 10 days, photo by Sara Newman
Major decisions will be made in the Capitol Building over the next 10 days, photo by Sara Newman

After years of debate and Supreme Court approval, it appears as though the fate of Obamacare—set to launch just ten days from now—may once again be at stake. 

Late Friday morning, in a 230-189 vote, the House approved a plan to continue funding federal agencies past September 30, but at the expense of defunding the Affordable Care Act. 

The vote was divided almost entirely along party lines, with Representative Scott Rigell as the only Republican to vote against the bill and Representatives Mike McIntyre and Jim Matheson as the only Democrats to vote for it. 

“We had a victory today for the American people, and frankly, we also had a victory for common sense,” proclaimed Speaker of the House John A. Boehner at a news conference at the Capitol.

The strategically-crafted bill allows the federal agencies to continue to operate until December 15, giving the House and the Senate enough time to individually evaluate the 12 programs.   

By the time the Senate reviews and amends the bill, itbe a matter of days before a government shutdown; so all congressmen will be on a tight schedule to reach some sort of agreement in regards to this highly controversial bill.

Nevertheless, all government agencies have been instructed to make plans in case Congress fails to pass a bill that would appropriate the necessary funds. 

Experts have suggested that in the coming days, the senators in the Democrat-led Senate will remove the parts of the bill that are intended to defund the Affordable Care, and “dare Republicans to filibuster it”

As much as Congress appears to hate compromising, most people will agree that the indefinite shutdown of many parts of federal government has consequences too dangerous for politicians to gamble with. 

"A government shutdown and, perhaps even more so, a failure to raise the debt limit could have very serious consequences for the financial markets and for the economy," according to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. 

Many Republicans, however, have made it clear that they would rather have the federal government shut down than fund nationalized healthcare. 

President Obama, however, is not just going to sit back and hope that Congress does not destroy the Affordable Care Act to which he has dedicated so much of his presidency.

“I don’t mind them disagreeing with me,” said Obama in a passionate speech at the Ford plant in the Kansas City, Missouri. “They don’t like the Affordable Care Act, but you don’t have to threaten to blow the whole thing up just because you don’t get your way.”   

In his speech, President Obama appealed to the American public to push Congress to act responsibly and help save face for all Americans. 

“No holding the … economy hostage if you don’t get a hundred percent of what you want,” said President Obama. “The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable. We can’t just not pay our bills. And even threatening something like that is the height of irresponsibility.”

 The president and Republican-dominated Congress have made their positions on the future of nationalized healthcare and the impending economic chaos very clear, but now the ball lies in the Senate’s court, as millions of Americans anxiously wait to see what they will do next. 


Reach Executive Producer Sara Newman here and follow her on Twitter. 



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.