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Obamacare And The Threat Of Government Shutdown

Inching closer to the Republican threat to shut down the government if Obamacare is not repealed. We get inside the backstage wrestling match.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, is cheered as Republican members of the House of Representatives rally after passing a bill that would prevent a government shutdown while crippling the health care law that was the signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama's first term, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. (AP)

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, is cheered as Republican members of the House of Representatives rally after passing a bill that would prevent a government shutdown while crippling the health care law that was the signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama’s first term, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. (AP)

We know political polarization in this country.  But spread the wings of polarization far enough, and maybe the great bird falls.  Are we close to that?  Maybe, this fall.  Maybe, this week.

A week from today, the federal government shuts down unless Congress votes the money to keep it going.  Hardcore Republican opponents of the Affordable Care Act in the House and Senate have set up a cliff.  A potential crisis.  And it’s only the first in a season of last stands.

This hour, On Point:  We’ll get inside the tick-tock politics and big struggle over the shutdown threat in Washington.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

E.J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington Post. Senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. Government professor at Georgetown University. (@ejdionne)

Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report.(@amyewalter)

Robert Costa, Washington editor for National Review. (@robertcostanro)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post (E.J. Dionne): Why Republicans are desperate for a shutdown — The coming battles over budgets, the debt ceiling, a government shutdown and Obamacare are not elements of a large political game. They involve a fundamental showdown over the role of government in stemming rising inequality and making our country a fairer and more decent place.

National Review (Robert Costa): Ted Cruz punches back — “Cruz’s acknowledgement of the near-impossibility of passing a defunding bill through the Democratic-controlled Senate is an accurate reading of political reality. But House Republicans didn’t care; they were apoplectic with Cruz not only for laying the responsibility for defunding on them, but for making them seem weak. ‘If Cruz doesn’t help us in the Senate to pass a defunding bill, we’ll end up having to pass a normal CR,’ complains a veteran House Republican. ‘It’ll be pathetic, but I expect him to slam us for it.'”

The Washington Post: Shutdown countdown: What the next eight days could bring — “On Friday, the House passed a measure that would keep the government running through mid-December. But it came with what Democrats consider a poison pill: It defunds President Obama’s signature health-care law, known as Obamacare. There is no way whatsoever — think pigs flying — that the Senate will agree to the House plan.”

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