Not a single Senator or Representative is “threatening to shut down the federal government.” Not one.
Contrary to recent commentaries and news reports, no Senators or Representatives are planning to hold up the continuing resolution needed to maintain federal appropriations after September 30.
Our intent is not to shut down the federal government. We plan to fund everything except the unaffordable Affordable Care Act. The group led by Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, plus several Representatives, including myself, are reluctantly ready to pass a continuing resolution (CR) that funds the entire government, excluding Obamacare.
This legislative strategy has been employed successfully for nearly four decades. It simply prohibits expenditure of taxpayer funds for a specified purpose.
For perfect example, every year since 1976, Congress has enacted the Hyde Amendment, restricting federal funding for abortion coverage in the Medicaid entitlement. (As an aside, it is an unfortunate fact that ObamaCare sidesteps the Hyde Amendment by compelling businesses and individuals, rather than the government, to pay for health insurance that includes abortions.)
Republican critics argue that the strategy won’t work because Obamacare is mostly “mandatory spending,” while a continuing resolution addresses only “discretionary spending.” The Hyde Amendment is a restriction on mandatory funding even though the amendment has been attached to discretionary appropriations legislation every year.