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."




Re: "So you can put "your" money in an IRA but can't touch it until you are how old?"

Gawd are you financially ignorant!

The IRS determines the rules and regs of HSAs brain pan, NOT your employer.

The same goes for IRAs too Bambie:

One can make withdraws from an IRA at any time, but there are potential taxes and penalties.

I've had an HSA for almost a decade.

I've invested the money and am up 22% for the yr.

Thank you Fed Chairman Bernanke!


You are suggesting I am benefiting by being forced to roll "my" money into an IRA at 65 yrs. old. Then if I need it I have to give a large chunk of it to the government. "Gawd are you financially ignorant!"


Re: "Then if I need it I have to give a large chunk of it to the government."

You deducted it off your taxes dumb*ss. You don't think that you should pay taxes on it if you pull it out early?

And yes, you are (bleeping) financially ignorant!

Darwin's choice

And another cheerleader is about this, Rah Rah ?

Home depot cutting employees healthcare due to Obamacare

Working out pretty good huh?

Nice work.

Let's see. That's Home Depot, IBM, Trader Jo's, Walgreens, and I'm sure a whole bunch of other companies that we don't know about.

THere's a couple hundred thousand just in that list above.

I'm sure the number is well over a million now.


Darwin don't forget about UPS dropping spouses from their employee plans.


Is that Obama's fault?


“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” – Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (Letter to Col. William F. Elkins)


Re: "all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

On full display the other day when the Federal Reserve decided to continue QE.

The Federal Reserve is helping the wealthy that own investible assets get richer while giving the bill to the taxpayer.



Well said.



Why are healthcare costs coming down this yr.?

Lousy economy.

"The four-year slowdown in U.S. health-care spending will end next year, and there is no sign the Affordable Care Act will significantly curb the acceleration in costs, government actuaries said in a report. "


How can anyone say that the Affordable Health Care Plan is a failure when it doesn't go into effect until 2014. The parts that have gone into effect have been successful. Ask any young person who now has coverage on their families plan, or ask someone who now has no lifetime limit on their coverage. If I have to pay a little more so that someone else can be covered that's ok with me.

AJ Oliver

It is absolutely unprecented for the House of Reps to hold the government hostage to meet their demands that existing law be over-turned. Never, ever happened before. Why didn't Tip O'Neil do it to Reagan? It's because the game has NEVER been played this way before. If the GOP gets away with it, it will open up a whole new era of chaos and instability in Washington. Next, they will undoubtedly demand the end of Social Security, Medicare, the VA system, child labor laws, environmental regs, and God knows what else.


The Republicans are destroying America in their grab for power.

Darwin's choice

LOL !!!! Stop drinking from the urinal!!


The Republicans are destroying America in their grab for power.


They don't care about America. They only care about themselves!



The Big Dog's back

The ACA was overwhelmingly supported by the majority of Americans back in November of 2012.

Darwin's choice

Not by me! "We have to pass it to know whats in it..." You moron's bought into it hook, line and sheeple!


Please explain how the ACA has negatively affected you!


No, in fact, it wasn't. You're right that a MAJORITY supported it, but it was something like 51% to 49%. Now? NOW there's an overwhelming majority, and guess what? It ain't on the support side of the ACA! Apparently now that people took Nancy Pelosi's advice and are finding out what's actually in it, it doesn't look so good. Surprise, surprise.

The Big Dog's back

The ACA was overwhelmingly supported by the majority of Americans back in November of 2012.

Darwin's choice

"The ACA was overwhelmingly supported by the sheeple of America in 2012."

Fixed it for you....


Re: "November of 2012"

And Mohamed Morsi was popularly elected also.


Please explain how the ACA has negatively affected you!


Re: " how the ACA has negatively affected you!"

Premiums DOUBLED on our dental insurance in order to help the co. fund for the 26 yr. old parent's coverage requirement.

We dropped it and then had some expensive dental claims.


ACA only requires health insurance to cover up to age 26, not dental. If your dental insurance is doing that, it is by their choice. So you can blame your insurance carrier.


Re: "So you can blame your insurance carrier."

It's a self-funded trust.

The Big Dog's back

Put some more money in pooh. Once again, off topic.


Re: "Put some more money,"

It's a COMPANY self-funded health care trust, jamoke.

Follow the thread dunce; just answering Bambie's question:

"Please explain how the ACA has negatively affected you!"