After several days of a partial U.S. Federal government shutdown, political leaders suggested that progress was made in their budget negotiations and that Obamacare was less of an issue in the process. Notably, the improved tone occurred after the October 9 release of a letter from Koch Industries to selected members of Congress stating that “Koch believes that Obamacare will increase deficits, lead to an overall lowering of the standard of health care in America, and raise taxes. However, Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”
The swift reversal in the political tone after the release of the Koch letter is another indication of the influence the Koch brothers and other wealthy powerbrokers have on the U.S. political process. While some uncertainty has been removed in the budget/debt ceiling negotiations, recent actions could simply be more “can kicking”. Market volatility may continue as the October 17 budget deadline approaches.