Republicans at odds as 'Obamacare' showdown nears

Senator vows to do "everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare."
Associated Press
Sep 20, 2013

Congressional Republicans struggled to tamp down a family feud Thursday as they approached a politically charged showdown with the White House that combines the threat of a government shutdown, a possible first-ever federal default and the GOP's bid to repeal the nation's three-year-old health care law.

One day after conceding that the Democratic-controlled Senate probably would prevail on the last part, Sen. Ted Cruz still vowed to do "everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare." That includes a possible filibuster of legislation to prevent a partial government shutdown, added the Texas Republican.

That was a step further than Sen. Mike Lee of Utah — Cruz's partner in a summertime run of "Defund Obamacare" television commercials — was willing to go. President Barack Obama's health care law "is not worth causing a shutdown over," he said.

The two men spoke at a news conference with several House Republicans where lawmakers stressed they were unified and thanked Speaker John Boehner for agreeing to tie the anti-shutdown and anti-Obamacare provisions into one bill.

That bill is on track for House passage on Friday, with a Senate showdown to follow.

The House intends to move quickly next week with a separate bill to put the health care law on ice, this one a measure that also would allow the Treasury to avoid a default that could destabilize the economy.

Boehner himself sought to redirect the political fire at Obama, accusing him of being ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Syria but not engage with Republicans on raising the nation's debt limit, an issue that could lead to national default.

But he also got in a subtle jab at Cruz and Senate conservatives who have been clamoring for weeks for a showdown on the health care law.

"I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle," he said.

The prospect is for a 10-day period of intense uncertainty, with Boehner pledging to avoid a shutdown yet also hoping to come away with a bite out of the health care law, even if less than complete defunding.

Congressional aides pointed out during the day, for example, that if the Senate rewrites the House-passed bill to leave the health care law in place, Boehner and the rest of the House leadership could still seek further changes before passing it a second time.

For their part, the White House and majority Democrats in the Senate will be trying to protect the health care law that stands as Obama's signature domestic accomplishment — without complicating the re-election chances of senators on the 2014 ballot in swing states.

The White House intruded briefly on the Republican feud, pledging that Obama would veto any legislation that blocks the health care law from taking full effect. The defunding drive "advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class" and would deny "millions of hard-working, middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage," it said.

The effort seeking virtual repeal of the law as part of a government funding bill gained powerful momentum over the summer when the Senate Conservatives Fund, Heritage Action and other groups with tea party ties launched a nationwide campaign.

Cruz and Lee played prominent roles, each appearing in television ads aimed at pressuring Republican lawmakers not to yield. "Republicans in Congress can stop Obamacare if they simply refuse to fund it," Lee says in one SCF-funded commercial.

On the other hand, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has urged Republicans to fund the government and prevent a default, then double back and try and work out changes to the health care law later.

In a tea party age, it is unclear how much political clout establishment groups carry with individual GOP lawmakers.

At the same time, many Republicans fear a replay of twin government shutdowns nearly two decades ago that inflicted significant damage on their party and helped resurrect then-President Bill Clinton's political fortunes.

"When it comes to shutting the government down, that is not going to succeed because people don't want a government shutdown. And they'll blame Congress. They did before," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Another Republican, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, agreed. "I'm one who doesn't believe that a shutdown does anything except divert attention from a president and his policies, which are rightfully unpopular, to congressional incompetence," he said.

Cruz saw it differently hours earlier.

He told the National Automobile Dealers Association that the 1995-96 episode was just a "partial, temporary government shutdown" that didn't hurt Republicans politically as much as most people think and that it helped bring welfare reform in 1996 and a budget deal in 1997.

"Nobody likes that outcome. But it also wasn't the end of the world," he said of a possible shutdown.

Ironically, it was a Cruz comment that ignited anger among House conservatives on Wednesday evening.

As word spread that the House would pass legislation to fund the government and cut off money for the health care law, he issued a statement that said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "likely has the votes" to delete the health care provision. "At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people," he said.

House Republican aides said rank-and-file lawmakers on the House floor at the time vented their anger at what appeared to be a pre-emptive surrender.

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., tweeted that Lee and Cruz "refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender."

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., tweeted, "Senate R's already declare defeat... before the battle even begins. So much for standing up for the American people."

 

Comments

Darwin's choice

An Ohio clinic that was touted by Obama while he was speaking on health care reform is now blaming ObamaCare after it was forced to cut $330 million from its budget.

"Fox 8 reports the Cleveland Clinic, which is the largest employer in Northeast Ohio with about 39,000 workers in the region, announced the cuts to its 2014 budget at a meeting Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the clinic tells Fox News the clinic is being forced to cut back to prepare for increased costs and decreased revenue under the health care reform law.

These changes will include offering early retirement to approximately 3,000 employees, reducing operational costs, and then layoffs as needed"

Obama fail.....!

Contango

Re: "increased costs and decreased revenue,"

Part of Obama☭are's "magic" of reducing health care costs is to reduce the amount that Medicare will pay (reimbursement schedule) for medical services.

"Doctors Will Have To Take A Pay Cut Under Obamacare":

http://www.forbes.com/sites/scot...

Coverage,
Price,
Service.

Pick two 'cause you can't have all three - it ain't financially possible.

coasterfan

And meanwhile, in California and New York (2 states that have embraced Obamacare), insurers are charging even lower-than-expected premiums for individual policies sold under the law. In short the insurance changes are working - in states that WANT them to work.

Cleveland Clinic is one of the top 3 money-earning hospitals in the nation. Clearly, they do not need to make any cuts, but have chosen to do so, simply because they don't want anything to affect their obscene profit margin. I urge everyone to read the recent expose on the medical industry in TIME magazine.

The problem is not Obamacare, it's extreme greed with the 1% who run Cleveland Clinic. These are people who, instead of having 3 yachts instead of 4, would rather make their rank-and-file workers tighten their belts. Anyone surprised that Fox didn't report THAT angle?

Darwin's choice

And, the Obambot has spoken! Have any proof of your stupid remarks? 3 yachts instead of 4? California and New York? Two of the biggest failures of government, and ready to cave in? Your constant cheerleading is ignorant.

Contango

Re: "insurers are charging even lower-than-expected premiums for individual policies sold under the law."

Many have no experience in the market place.

In CA, 8 of the 12 insurers are new insurers who have never been in commercial markets.

In NY, 8 of the 16 insurers are newcomers.

"Big Insurers Skip Health Exchanges
Some Lesser-Known Insurance Firms Will Offer Comparatively Lower Rates"

Said the CEO of a NY "newcomer":

"'We stay up at night worrying if we've priced this right,' said Rev. Patrick J. Frawley, chief executive at Fidelis."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB...

Price,
Quality,
Service.

When picking a health care plan, pick two, 'cause you can't have all three.

Contango

Re: "These are people who, instead of having 3 yachts instead of 4,"

Typical Marxist class warfare nonsensical hyperbole.

Besides, what do you care Comrade? Your health and welfare benefits are GUARANTEED (with COLAs) by OH taxpayers.

You're part of the ELITE Comrade REJOICE!

SamAdams

Wrong again, coasterfan! Do a little googling on California's healthcare exchange and learn for yourself that the most affordable premiums on the exchange (comparatively speaking, anyway) sport dramatically smaller provider lists and extremely long waits are already predicted. Premiums on California have, on average, gone up, and they've gone up dramatically. That state's also a really bad example to use for ANYthing related to dollars and cents since it's in deep financial doo doo thanks to it's many entitlement programs...

New York? Extremely high taxes already, and an exodus of residents has been underway for some time now (meaning that those who remain will be liable for still MORE of the tax burden).

Is SOME healthcare reform needed? Yes. Is Obamacare needed? No. It'll create more problems than it solves, and make plenty of existing problems even worse. Leave Obamacare in effect long enough, and some of those problems will be irreversible. Even the current system is far, far better than rationing, long waits, or unaffordability for a greater population than ever!

arnmcrmn

coaster is owned again and watch this person just skate on by to the next topic proclaiming they know it all. Hilarious.

Contango

The "defunding" is largely symbolic.

The Repubs want RINOs and Dems that were elected in Red states to go on record that they support Obama☭are.

Their support will be used by their Tea Party and libertarian opponents as a campaign issue for the 2014 congressional elections.

Polls have shown that Independents and Seniors overwhelmingly don't like the ACA.

coasterfan

Yeah, that's as good as it gets with today's GOP. They can't get anything done, but they can do something "symbolic", like bills to rename local Post Offices. And, as we've seen, they can filibuster the heck out of anyone else's attempt to get anything done.

Contango's comment is very telling. He admits that the Repub congressmen are merely voting the way they do, to ensure their own electability in the 2014 election. They don't give a hoot about Americans who don't have healthcare. The same hypocrites, of course, don't vote to defund their OWN government-provided health care. These are people with even fewer scruples than we would expect from a politician.

Why anyone - who is part of the 99% - would vote for these plutocrats is beyond me.

Contango

Re: "He admits that the Repub congressmen,"

My supposition.

Few scruples? This whole Obama☭are abortion was shoved down the throats of Americans by Democrat legislative gimmickry.

Peninsula Pundit

Oh, he's got the hammer and sickle to print!
Isn't that adorable?
Supposition or suppository?
With you guys, there is really no difference.
Both are a pain in the rump.

Contango

Re: "Both are a pain in the rump."

Agree. Democrat and Republican - Socialist and Socialist-light.

shucks

Libertarianism is shhit.

There you go again

How in the world does Obama plan to fund the rising cost (it's doubled already) of Odumbacare? Raising the debt ceiling is not a viable strategy!

coasterfan

How in the world does the GOP ever plan to win another presidential election, while campaigning to REMOVE healthcare from 30+ million Americans who never had healthcare until the Affordable Care Act? How in the world do they plan to win an election when they move to cut $40 billion in funding to food stamps, when it was THEIR president who brought the recession and resultant job losses upon us?

The continued callousness of the 'me first' party continues to shock the rest of us.

Darwin's choice

And, in another failure, it's been over 1000 days of gasoline prices ABOVE $3.00 per gallon. This administration's across the board failures should keep you employed for years telling us how it's "better" under Obama......fail

coasterfan

Darwin, we all know that presidents do not control gas prices. They went up to an alltime average high of $4.28 per gallon in August, 2008, under George Bush, then - with no control by him - briefly dropped to below $2.00 a gallon towards the end of his term in office.

The across the board failures of the previous president were far bigger. The entire economy crashed, we got into 2 unnecessary, unfunded wars, and the president ignored obvious warnings for 9/11 and returned to his extended vacation at his ranch in Texas.

Most of the problems America has faced under Obama are of 2 varieties: residual problems from the disastrous Bush presidency, and self-inflicted wounds (see: sequester, government shutdowns) inflicted by irresponsible conservatives of the teaparty faction. As this article shows, the same idiots are up to their same games.

Darwin's choice

"Liberalism 101 Lesson 17:

Distort, bend, fold, staple and mutilate the truth, after all:

By any means necessary means by ANY means.

Liberalism 101 Lesson (amended) 17B:

Flaunt, ignore, dodge and break the law, after all:

By any means necessary means by ANY means."

Written by you? Or for you?

anthras

That is not the way Obama tells it about gas prices. In his April 25, 2008 speech in front of a gas station in Indianapolis, Obama PROMISED he would lower gas prices, if elected, and blamed Bush and Cheney for the high gas prices. Tell me was Obama lying when he said that or was he ignorant of the system or was it just another broken campaign promise???

Also Obama also promised in a campaign speech that Obamacare would not add one dime to the deficit. Ignorant, lying or again breaking a promise.

You did mention that many would now be able to obtain insurance and that may be true but what about the millions that are now losing insurance and in many cases losing their jobs or hours cut from 40 hours per week to less than 30 hours per week. Like the announcemtnt that IBM will stop providing insurance to 110000 retirees in this country. They will just pay them what they have been paying them for the coverage and they will then have to obtain coverage on their own.

I also learned that many primiums will be more affordable due to tax credits. Really now who is going to foot the bill for the tax credits, seems it is really going to be more affordable for some persons at the expense of others. As it is said that the government will give you anything you want as long as they are using your money.

arnmcrmn

coaster owned again.

Contango

Re: "30+ million Americans who never had healthcare until the Affordable Care Act?"

You NAIVELY assume that coverage equals access.

coasterfan

You naively assume that NO coverage for those 30 million people would be better than attempting to address the issue - which is what Obamacare is.

Bottom line: Republicans were FOR universal health care - until Obama proposed it.

Contango

Re: "NO coverage for those 30 million people"

It's absurd to upend the entire health care system for a minority. There were/are other ways to handle it.

You're a member of the ELITE Comrade with no worry - your benefits are GUARANTEED by OH taxpayers.

The Bizness

Typical right winger, who cares about minorities as long as your life is fine and good. You have no compassion Contango.

Contango

Re: "who cares about minorities as long as your life is fine and good."

You STILL can read can't you?

"A minority" not "minorities."

Again: There were/are other ways to handle it.

The Bizness

Obama originally wanted single payer health care, Republicans originally wanted to go for that until the tea party got involved.

As far as I can see the health care exchanges are still being handled in a free market system.

I really think you are uninformed about all the good things that the Affordable Care Act does.

Contango

Re: "single payer health care,"

Again: Medicare ALONE loses an estimated $60B annually in waste, fraud and abuse.

Gotta figure that the ACA losses will be an extrapolation of that number.

You were complaining' before about your generation, picking up the tab.

Without the youth buying health ins., this whole thing blows up!

The HC exchanges are NOT a part of a "free market system," they are an example of corporatism or fascism if you like.

shucks

Libertarianism is shhit.

arnmcrmn

@The Bizz......and you know all the good things? Hell, Washington and Obama and Pelosi don't even know whats in it.....remember, we have to pass it to see whats in it.....and they still do not even know.

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