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Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Welch Says Government Show Down Could Jeopardize Economy

Congressman Peter Welch is warning that a Republican plan to shut down the federal government over the future funding of the Affordable Care Act could have a very negative impact on the national economy.

Welch says if the GOP decides to take this course of action, it will destroy any hope to develop bi-partisan solutions to some of the country’s biggest problems.

Welch notes that the upcoming fight over the federal budget comes on the 5th anniversary of the 2008 financial collapse known as the “great recession,” and he says many of the economic gains that have occurred over the past 5 years could be lost if the federal government is shut down.

If we combine this now with the threat of a government shutdown and default on our debt you are going to see a Congress that goes from dysfunction to disintegration - Rep. Peter Welch

A group of roughly 40 GOP House members say they won’t vote to continue spending beyond October 1st unless the plan also includes a provision that defunds the President’s signature health care law known as the Affordable Care Act. 

If House Republican leaders can’t get this group to support a continuing budget resolution, Welch says these leaders will have to appeal to Democrats and he says that approach could cause a major crisis in the GOP caucus.

“Their view is that Obamacare is such a threat to the country that they’re willing to shut the country down and it almost reminds me of Vietnam you know we’re going to destroy the village to save it,” said Welch. “We’re going to destroy the country in order to save it from Obamacare. It makes absolutely no sense and it’s a very dangerous moment.”

And Welch is concerned that Wall Street will react very badly if Congress allows the federal government to shut down on October first.

“In the end of the day I think if Congress is so reckless that it doesn’t pass a budget and pay the bills then you’re going to see the markets react violently and Congress ultimately will get pistol whipped by the markets into doing what it should do right up front and that is keep government going and pay our bills.”

Welch thinks Congress will become a largely irrelevant institution if the Republicans insist on trying to defund the Affordable Care Act.

“This is a Congress that’s in denial and if we combine this now with the threat of a government shutdown and default on our debt you’re going to see a Congress that goes from dysfunction to disintegration.”

Several Republicans leaders say they believe that President Obama has been weakened by the crisis with Syria and that this is the best time to confront him over the future of his health care law.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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