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Editorial: It’s got to stop

United States House Republicans continue to claim that they’re representing the interests of the public in their stance with the Obama administration.

But in pushing to see that the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — fails, these members of Congress are clearly acting only in their own misguided and self- interests.

This behavior is nothing new. The American public has witnessed this push against President Barack Obama and his vision for the U.S. practically since he was elected in 2008. The latest antic — shutting down the federal government.

Despite talk about federal budgets, debt ceilings and what taxpayers can afford, this shutdown came down to another attempt to stop Obamacare. Every piece of legislation that the Republican-controlled House sent to the Senate contained some language about defunding the measure or delaying its implementation. And the Democrats rightfully have resisted this continued assault on the Affordable Care Act.

As President Obama said Tuesday, “They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.”

The claim that the Republicans are serving “the will of the America people” is a sham. How is it the will of the people when a CNBC All-America Economic Survey, opposition to defunding was 59-19 percent of those responding, when one of the factors was a federal government shutdown? Or there’s the Quinnipiac poll taken Tuesday that had by a 72-22 margin, voters opposed Congress shutting down the federal government to block the implementation of Obamacare.

How, by any stretch of the imagination, does this shutdown represent the best interest of the 800,000 federal employees who have been forced to go on furlough? How does it provide for the best interests of the millions of Americans who used a service or program that those federal employees provide? The shutdown means services will be delayed or grind to a halt. This includes flu shots through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; getting a passport application processed; OSHA will stop doing regular inspections; the 401 national parks will be closed ...

But while this taking place now, there’s just as big an issue looming: the debt ceiling and the ability of the U.S. to pay its bills. As the president said on Tuesday, if the Republicans continue on this path to “force the United States to default on its obligations for the first time in history, it’d be far more dangerous than a government shutdown, as bad as a shutdown is; it would be an economic shutdown.”

How is that in the best interests of the American people?

The House Republicans are holding the White House and nation hostage. It’s got to stop.

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