Inside the Beltway: 4,383 days after 9/11

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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“Run, Ted, run.”

— Group chant during the “Exempt America Rally” against the Affordable Care Act at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. Yes, Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, was speaking at the time.

WRANGLING WITH OBAMACARE

The Affordable Care Act still weighs heavily on the minds of grass-roots folks who are braced for impact as the health care law goes from legislative monster to public reality. Fiscal conservatives from FreedomWorks reveal all: the U.S. House plans to “sidestep” regular order and enable the Senate to fund Obamacare, they say.

“House Speaker John Boehner is using a procedural trick called ‘deem and pass’ to pass a continuing resolution defunding Obamacare in the House, while working out a deal that allows the Senate to remove defunding Obamacare from the continuing resolution before their vote,” says Matt Kibbe, president of the organization.

Oh, but it’s complicated. Many moving parts, many interpretive dances here.

In assorted communications, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina have called their GOP peers to block any government funding resolution that includes money for the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, however, caution that such a rigid approach could backfire, prompting voters to blame the Republican Party if the federal government shuts down.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia now proposes a continuing resolution that funds the government and the health care law into December, plus a separate concurrent resolution that defunds Obamacare.

The mind reels.

“This is a classic ‘Boehner bait-and-switch’ that allows House Republicans to blink on Obamacare funding, while telling their constituents the opposite,” Mr. Kibbe complains. “The entire purpose of the Lee-Meadows letters was to link the defunding of Obamacare to the best leverage the Republicans have, the continuing resolution. Speaker Boehner is giving the Senate a ‘hall pass’ to separate the two, inevitably funding Obamacare as a result.”

And among the many petitions now in circulation comes this one from Americans for Prosperity, a free-market group.

“Now that Obamacare is about to take effect, it seems like Congress and all of President Obama’s friends are receiving exemptions. I want the president to exempt me, too,” says a brand new petition from Americans for Prosperity, a free-market grass-roots group.

“Ever since Obamacare’s inception, people have been fighting against this job-killing, bureaucratic nightmare, while a special few sought and won exemptions. With Congress’ recent action to exempt themselves, it’s time to ask the question: If Obamacare isn’t good enough for Congress, then why force it upon the American people?” says Tim Phillips, president of the organization.

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of U.S. voters say the U.S. is safer today than it was before 9/11; 38 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of conservatives, 64 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of liberals agree.

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