Just weeks after Republicans cynically used children’s health insurance funding to lure Democrats into voting for a short-term spending bill, the GOP confirmed on Monday that their hostage this time around—with a possible government shutdown looming on Thursday—will be the community health centers that provide “a lifeline” for 27 million Americans.
“Community health centers have replaced children’s insurance as the hostage that the GOP does not own up to opposing and yet wants counted as their concession.”
The House GOP announced late Monday that two years of funding for the Community Health Center program will be included in a spending measure that also proposes a full year of funding for the Pentagon.
The bill, which does not include a DACA fix, could reach the House floor for a vote as early as Tuesday evening.
Given that Republicans have not previously shown any urgency to provide money for the health centers—allowing funding to lapse over four months ago, creating a what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called a “healthcare crisis no one is talking about”—critics were quick to denounce the GOP’s newfound concern for the centers as a “bad faith” attempt to coerce Democrats into choosing between fighting for Dreamers and funding a crucial healthcare program.
“This only makes sense as a way of running the government if you want to continually reserve the right to create a crisis or bankrupt a program,” wrote MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes on Twitter Monday, highlighting the fact that the GOP’s proposed stopgap measure would only fund the government through March 23. “If they thought Community Health Centers should be funded for two years, they, obviously, could have done that in the last [continuing resolution], but it was taken as a hostage.”
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