FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Just hours before a possible government shutdown, members of the House and Senate are still not budging on their perspective takes on the Affordable Care Act.
It's causing many lawmakers to believe a government shutdown is likely, and it will be worse than the last time the government shut down almost 17 years ago during the Clinton Administration.
"I have been there before," said Sen. Dan Coats, who was in Congress during the Clinton Administration. "It's not pretty."
The Democratic led Senate has denied the last two bills the Republican led House has passed which both included delaying The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The House sent a third bill to the Senate which included a proposal to meet for a conference to work out differences, but the Senate rejected that as well. Coats said the back and forth is because the president and Democrats won't negotiate.
"Until [the president] is willing, we will keep careening towards a shutdown," Sen. Coats said.
Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of Congress.
"It's a reckless move," Hamilton said. "It's wasteful. It's a dereliction of that leadership."
The government shut down twice in the 90s: for 5 days in November of '95, and then again from Dec. 16 to Jan 6, 1996.
"Unlike before, when we had funded more than half the government through our appropriations process, this time, nothing is funded, so every agency is affected," Sen. Coats said.
Likewise, Hamilton said, "The major risks are to the economy which today unlike the 1995 situation is very fragile."
Coats said the last shutdown didn't last long and the damage was pretty restricted. However, it did cost Americans more than a billion dollars. Members of Congress said one of the arguments in the 90s was over Medicare spending. Now, the center of the conflict is the Affordable Care Act.
NewsChannel 15 asked Republicans if a shutdown would be more costly then just going ahead and implementing Obamacare.
"Eventually, [a shutdown is] going to have a major economic cost, and the reason why we want to repeal and replace Obamacare is that it is an enormous cost to the American taxpayers," Sen. Coats said.
However, recent studies have found that Obamacare will actually cost Americans less than expected.
Some lawmakers said if the government shuts down this time, it will be more threatening than before because Congress has shown that they cannot work together.
"Congress has become accustomed to moving from crisis to crisis, back then it was an occasional event," Hamilton said.
Recent polls show the American people are upset with the way this is being handled and will feel the same way even if an agreement is reached.
"The American people are still going to be disappointed," Hamilton said. "They will obviously be relieved because the worst consequences have been avoided, but on the other hand, the underlying problems have not been solved."
If Congress does not reach an agreement by midnight, agencies would start shutting down immediately.
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