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US Lawmakers at Odds as Federal Shutdown Looms

  • Michael Bowman

Republican U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (L) and Rand Paul (R) talk to reporters as they arrive to speak at an anti-'Obamacare' rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 10, 2013.

Republican U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (L) and Rand Paul (R) talk to reporters as they arrive to speak at an anti-'Obamacare' rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 10, 2013.

Barely a week before a threatened U.S. government shutdown, a formula for extending federal spending authority remains elusive, with a politically-divided Congress at odds over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Last week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to keep the federal government running, but withheld funding for the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” as it is commonly known. Now the battle shifts to the Senate, where Texas Republican Ted Cruz is promising a fight to see the House bill prevail.

“I think Senate Republicans are going to stand side-by-side with Speaker [John] Boehner and House Republicans, listening to the people and stopping this train wreck that is Obamacare,” said Cruz speaking on the television program Fox News Sunday.

Democrats, who control the Senate, say they will not pass any bill that omits funding for the Affordable Care Act.

Opponents of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 10, 2013.

Opponents of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 10, 2013.

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press program, Senator Amy Klobuchar accused Republicans of jeopardizing the nation’s economy in pursuit of a narrow political goal.

“The last thing the American people want right now is people playing political games and threatening to shut the government down or default on our debt,” said Klobuchar.

Some Republican senators who oppose Obamacare’s implementation nevertheless say they will not be able to impose their will. Senator Tom Coburn spoke on CBS’ Face the Nation program.

“We do not have the ability to put a total stop and de-fund Obamacare. It would be nice if we did. Tactics and strategies ought to be based on what the real world is. And we do not have the political power to do this,” said Coburn.

The Affordable Care Act seeks to boost the number of Americans with health care insurance. Major components of the law go into effect next month.

Polls show a majority of Americans view Obamacare negatively, but reveal that an even greater number of people oppose a government shutdown over the law. Unless the House and Senate agree to extend federal spending authority, a limited U.S. government shutdown will begin October 1.
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