During the past couple of years, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted 40 times to halt the landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act -- a blockage that would prevent health insurance for 30 million lower-income Americans. Luckily, those 40 previous GOP votes had no effect, because Democrats control the rest of power in Washington.
However, House Republicans finally found a way to inflict impact: They refused to fund federal operations unless the ACA is abolished. Now the U.S. government is in crisis.
West Virginia's Sen. Jay Rockefeller wisely commented:
"In reflecting on nearly 50 years of public service, I can hardly think of a time when a group of lawmakers have acted so recklessly as now. Overseeing the operations of our federal government is a profoundly serious responsibility, entrusted to Congress by the American people. And today, a very vocal few are abdicating that moral and constitutional responsibility through a vicious campaign to deny health-care coverage to millions of Americans."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said GOP "anarchists" are "holding the government hostage because of some imaginary health-care boogeyman."
Paula Dockery, a Republican in Florida's legislature for 16 years, wrote Thursday in The Miami Herald:
"Seriously, what the hell happened to my party? I watched in disbelief as my Republican Party, the party of fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility, gleefully caused the federal government to shut down .... House Republicans were whipped into a frenzy by some three dozen members whose political ideology and hatred of all things Obama trumped their ability or desire to govern."
She said "House Republicans own this mess" and added that "this ill-conceived action by House Republicans was done at the expense of the American people."