Will Heitkamp Vote to Shutdown the Government to Protect Illegal Immigrants and Drive up Health Insurance Costs?


U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp talks about the prospect of temporarily housing refugee children at the Grand Forks Air Force Base during a recent visit to the Grand Forks Herald Editorial Board. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Over the many years of budget brinksmanship our friends on the left have told us, repeatedly, that shutting down the government is extremely dangerous. Mainstream Democrats have even claimed that a government shutdown could literally kill people.

But now Congress – the Senate, specifically – is on the verge of allowing a shutdown to happen because Democrats want amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Last night the House passed legislation to keep the government open on a bipartisan basis (as a point of reference, Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) voted for the bill). Now it’s up to the Senate to do something, but Democrats are holding back because they want a deal on amnesty for so-called “DREAMers.”

Selling North Dakota voters on shutting down the government to promote amnesty for illegal immigrants is going to be tough for Heitkamp, coming as it does on top of her vote against a tax bill that is growing swiftly in popularity.

But there’s another issue tied up in all this which could have a major impact on North Dakotans. The HIT Tax is a tax on health insurers that was a part of Obamacare. It’s never gone into effect. Congress put a moratorium on its implementation. But that moratorium expired last year. In 2018 the tax applies, and the impact on premium payers here in North Dakota is significant as insurers pass on the cost of the tax.

According to a study by Oliver Wyman, North Dakota families will see an average $479 increase in their premiums this year if HIT stays in place.

The legislation passed by the House last night suspends the HIT.

Which puts Heitkamp in a tough position. Does she vote en bloc with the rest of her party to block a bipartisan House bill which averts a government shutdown? If she does so she’ll be doing so for the sake of amnesty for illegal immigrants and simultaneously leaving North Dakotans exposed to heavy increases in health insurance costs.