Day nine of the government shutdown and a game of political chicken between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner rages on with the deadline to a historic U.S. debt default fast approaching.
The President says the shutdown can end today, if Boehner would just call for a vote saying:
"The truth of the matter is there are enough republican and democratic votes in the house of representatives to end the shutdown right now, immediately, with no partisan strings attached."
Is the President right? If not, why won't the House Speaker call for a vote and prove Obama wrong once and for all? For the answer, look no further than the conservative wing of the Republican Party, Tea Party patriots, small in numbers but powerful nonetheless—committed to defunding the Affordable Care Act AND demanding that the I.R.S. be removed from any future enforcement of Obamacare.
In August, Tea Party Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina drafted a letter addressed to Speaker Boehner calling for the "defunding" of Obamacare and signed by 80 members of Congress.
In the letter Meadows says:
"The Internal Revenue Service, an agency now publicly known to have deliberately discriminated against conservative entities, is charged by law with enforcing significant portions of Obamacare. IRS enforcement of a law Americans do not like in the first place is a double-whammy that is totally unacceptable."
As it turns out, the Tea Party has reason for concern: A recently released government audit found that the I.R.S. did not track all costs associated with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the agency did not account for $67 million of indirect ACA costs for fiscal years 2010 through 2012.
Any vote on ending the government shutdown or raising the debt ceiling could hinge on the Tea Party's demands regarding the future of Obamacare and the IRS.'s role in its implementation. With the clock ticking towards the first debt default in U.S. history, the pressure on Speaker Boehner and President Obama is only going to get worse. In the meantime, the game of chicken continues.
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