A government shutdown won’t kill Obamacare


Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on June 4. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act would continue during a government shutdown, according to a Congressional Research Service report commissioned by the office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

According to the report, the government could rely on both mandatory and discretionary funding during a shutdown to continue with implementation, and agencies could continue working despite lacking appropriations, under exceptions to the Antideficiency Act.

The report notes that the Social Security Administration continued working during the 1995 shutdown. The Treasury indicated that the Internal Revenue Service, which plays a vital role in Obamacare, would continue to operate when a shutdown loomed in 2011.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), along with several other conservative Republicans, is refusing to support any deal to fund the government that does not strip all funding for the health-care law. Coburn's goal in commissioning this report is to convince his fellow Republicans that threatening to stop the government over Obamacare is a bad idea.

Of course, Cruz and his allies aren't hoping that an extended shutdown that cripples health-care reform. The hope is that the White House will agree to defund the law in exchange for a fully funded government. Coburn and his allies think that hope is foolish.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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