Sen. Coons on Obamacare debate: ‘Insanely frustrating’

Delaware Senator Chris Coons urges his colleagues to work on real issues facing the nation, rather than “manufactured crises.”  

Chris Coons has been in the U.S. Senate for just three years, but what a tumultuous three years they have been.  He outlined his frustrations with what he termed “manufactured crises” in a Wednesday speech on the Senate floor.  “It would be hard to believe if it were not totally, completely believable,” said Coons of the string of  contentious debates in Congress that have threatened to bring the governing body to a complete halt.

Coons was presiding over the Senate chamber in 2011 when a government shutdown was narrowly averted just minutes before funding ran out.   Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2011, that’s when an agreement was reached on tax rates, the debt ceiling and government spending to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, again at the last minute.  And now with the debate over the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare by both supporters and detractors, another government shutdown is looming.

For Coons, Washington is a long way from achieving “the Delaware way.”  “It cannot pass laws, but Congress has become very good at manufacturing crises.” Coons said.  “Each minute this chamber spends on a futile effort to strip middle-class Americans of their access to affordable health care is a minute we are ignoring so many challenges.”

His address was somewhat of a follow up to the 21-hour speech delivered by Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that lasted through the night Tuesday into Wednesday.  Coons didn’t mention Cruz and his possible ambitions for higher office by name, but said, “I am not running for president, and I don’t have to impress the Tea Party, so maybe I am missing something here.  But we have to do better than this.”

Coons wrapped up his more than ten minute address with a simple question that summed up his frustrations,  “Is this working for anybody?”

The health care marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act will officially start taking applicants on Oct. 1.

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