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Senator Harkin slams House Republicans over possible government shutdown

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is slamming as “nonsense” a plan that could bring about a federal government shutdown at the end of this month. Republicans, who hold a majority in the U.S. House, say they will not vote to keep funding the federal government beyond September 30th unless funding is stripped for the federal health care law.

Harkin, a Democrat, says that’s an unfortunate turn of events. “I’m very disappointed in that extremely partisan, not even partisan, right-wing Tea Party nonsense that the House is sending over to the Senate,” Harkin says. “It is not even partisan, most Republicans I don’t think really want to go that way, but I guess we’ll have to deal with it next week.”

Harkin says he’s disappointed the House Speaker John Boehner is “going to go with the Tea Party” in its efforts to financially strangle the Affordable Care Act. “They will pass a funding bill that includes defunding Obamacare,” Harkin says. “That sets up a very bad system of how we pay our debts when the debt ceiling is reached.” Harkin says many Republicans are referring to the federal health care law as “the failed Obamacare,” which he says isn’t even accurate.

“How could it have failed when it hasn’t started?” Harkin asks. “That is bizarre. Obviously, the exchanges come up in October, a lot of the insurance provisions kick in for the broad population beginning on January the 1st, so I have to wonder about this idea it’s failed when it hasn’t even started yet.” Without a compromise on the new budget, the federal government will have no money with which to operate starting October 1st.

While such a shutdown was threatened and avoided in 2011, the federal government was closed down for several weeks during late 1995 and into early 1996.