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Four predictions for post-shutdown US politics (+video)

While there's no deal in the offing to bring an end to the government shutdown, it's already apparent what the political situation will be after there is one. Here's four things to expect.

By Staff Writer / October 4, 2013



Washington

The government shutdown is now a work week old. Both sides seem dug in; there’s no deal on the horizon that would allow a funding bill to advance. We don’t know how this will end, but we do know this: at some point, end it will.

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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Taking into account some things we’ve learned in the last few days, here are some thoughts on what the post-shutdown American political situation will look like.

OBAMACARE SURVIVES. This is a foregone conclusion that’s worth repeating. Nothing President Obama has said in recent days has hinted at any retreat from the position that he would never sign legislation defunding his signature domestic policy achievement.

Yet House Republicans have already scaled back their Obamacare position. First they demanded defunding the Affordable Care Act as the cost of advancing a continuing resolution to fund the government. Then they moved to a one-year delay in implementation.

Given that on this issue Obama is obdurate and the House leadership is not, it’s not hard to see that defunding per se is off the table.

TEA PARTY CONSERVATIVES CONSIDER THAT A DEFEAT. Despite the fact that it looked pretty much impossible to derail Obamacare from the beginning, the hard core on the right who pushed House Speaker John Boehner to link the health law and continued government funding in the first place may well consider its continued existence a stinging loss.

They won’t be consoled by what they consider just tweaks to the law, such as a repeal of its tax on medical devices, or passage of the so-called “Vitter amendment,” which would bar Congress from contributing to the purchase of health insurance on Obamacare exchanges by lawmakers and staff.

“This fight needs to be about defunding Obamacare. We need to keep fighting on that ground,” tweeted conservative pundit Erick Erickson on Friday.

OBAMACARE FACES CONTINUED ATTACKS. What follows from the above points is that the Affordable Care Act, one of the biggest changes in the American social contract in a generation, will begin its implementation period while a significant percentage of Congress continues to attempt to undo it or scale the program back. Remember, the GOP establishment says it differs from the tea party on this issue only on tactics, not the end goal. Senate Republicans want to defund Obamacare too; they just don’t want to shut down the government or not raise the US debt ceiling as part of that effort.

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