Republicans divided

Health law separates potential GOP 2016 contenders.
Associated Press
Sep 22, 2013

A clear divide over the health care law separates the emerging field of potential GOP candidates for the 2016 presidential race, previewing the battles ahead as they try to rebuild their party and seize the White House.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz says he will fight "with every breath" to stop President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, even if that means shutting down parts of the federal government. It's an approach that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush calls "quite dicey" politically for Republicans. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says flatly that a shutdown is "a dumb idea."

"I'm acknowledging we probably can't defeat or get rid of Obamacare," Paul told reporters Saturday while attending a Republican conference in Michigan. "But by starting with our position of not funding it maybe we get to a position where we make it less bad."

Allied on the other side with Cruz are U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and others who say they are making a principled stand, willing to oppose the law at all costs.

Then there are those taking what they call a pragmatic approach by accepting the law, if grudgingly, and moving on. This group includes Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who says a shutdown would violate the public trust.

"The government we have should work, so that's why I don't believe we should shut the government down," Walker told reporters at the Michigan conference.

The Republican-controlled House passed a short-term spending plan Friday that would continue funding government operations through mid-December while withholding money for the health law.

Some GOP lawmakers also advocate holding back on increasing the nation's borrowing limit, which could result in a first-ever default, unless the law is brought down.

Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to scold "a faction on the far right" of the Republican Party, and he said he would not allow "anyone to harm this country's reputation or threaten to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people, just to make an ideological point."

While attending the Michigan conference, Paul said Republicans could force a vote in both houses of Congress, then negotiate changes to legislation in a joint conference committee. But, he added, time is running out.

Less than one-quarter of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, about the same as approve of Republicans in Congress, according to recent national polls. Democrats poll slightly higher, and large majorities disapprove of the work of both.

Yet, only about a third of Americans say they approve of the health care act.

Christie has accepted for his state key provisions of the law, yet campaigned on behalf of candidates who support dismantling it. He has taken no public position on whether to fight the law to the point of government shutdown.

"He is either unwilling or unable to speak up against these guys," Democratic National Committee spokesman Mike Czin said.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, hosting the conference where Paul, Walker and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spoke Saturday, said a shutdown "reflects poorly on the national political culture."

Bush was more pointed. He said Republicans would be guilty of overplaying their hand if they passed a spending measure that did not include money for the health care law.

Noting that Republicans control only the U.S. House in Washington, or "one-half of one-third of the leverage" in the capital, Bush said Wednesday in Washington there "needs to be an understanding of that, or, politically, it gets quite dicey" for the GOP.

Cruz said concerns that voters would blame Republicans for a shutdown are unfounded.

"If history is a guide, the fear of deep political repercussions — I don't think the data bear that out," he said.

Republican lawmakers and Democratic President Bill Clinton failed to agree on spending in 1995, which resulted in two partial government shutdowns.

Clinton was re-elected the following year, but Cruz noted that Republicans held the majorities in both the House and Senate in 1996 and 1998, and collaborated with Clinton on spending cuts and other changes that preceded economic expansion.

Paul and Jindal are attempting to create some daylight between themselves and their would-be rivals. Paul may consider a shutdown dumb but says the fight over the health care law is worth having.

"I am for the debate, I am for fighting," Paul said. "I don't want to shut the government down, though. I think that's a bad solution."

Jindal, who opposes the health law, has said Republicans need to be "more than the party of 'no'" but that it's a bad idea to take any option off the table, including government shutdown.

"I don't think as Republicans we should be negotiating with ourselves," he said in an Associated Press interview, but stopped short of criticizing Paul for his comments.


Associated Press writer Philip Elliott in Washington contributed to this report.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Re: "BUSINESS! Like they should."

I asked: WHO WILL PAY? NOT who you stupidly THINK should pay dunce.


That's exactly what Obzocare does, the rest of us will pay for their healthcare, do you even read your own rants?


Where is your source for the lay offs? The only announcement I could find from Walgreens stated they were moving 160,000 employees off their company health plans and paying their employees to purchase insurance through the health exchanges. Other companies, like Trader Joe's, have done the same thing. TJ's said their company plan couldn't match the rates on the exchanges.


SSSHHHH, don't confuse the right wing wacko's with facts !! ;o)


Re: "they were moving 160,000 employees off their company health plans and paying their employees to purchase insurance through the health exchanges,"

Kinda like the 401(k) (defined contribution) model for pension plans. Cos. are trying to control their health care costs.

Also, many of the new health insurance providers have NEVER been in the commercial market before and only handled Medicaid subscribers - their network of doctors are lousy.

Some are coming in with dirt cheap premiums and will go bankrupt - just watch.

"Big Insurers Skip Health Exchanges

Some Lesser-Known Insurance Firms Will Offer Comparatively Lower Rates":


Re: "TJ's said their company plan couldn't match the rates on the exchanges."

Kinda like car ins.

Always take the co. with cheapest premium and then hope and pray that you never have an accident.

And then call the 1-800 number when you do.

The Big Dog's back

Deflect, deflect, deflect.

The Big Dog's back

If anyone had any doubts about the real death panels, {CONservatives)they voted for less food stamps and want to repeal healthcare for the working poor. Their slogan: Just die already will ya. You're breathing my air, using my water. What else do we have to do? Just die.

Darwin's choice


Pterocarya frax...

Thankfully conservatives never name call like you constantly accuse liberals of.

Darwin's choice

And wishing people dead is ok? You MORONS are unbelievable! Do you cheerleaders call each other for "practice" when there's an article written? Seems you have to prop each other up,to reassure your leaders failure's are hidden away under the piles of BS.....


Add up everything the Repubs have said and done , and the sum total is - DROP DEAD.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

The name calling commenters sling on both sides is unattractive and defeats their points. It can be discouraging at times to try and find an understanding of a topic from each point of view without my eyes glazing over at the unnecessary jabs.


BD IS RIGHT, that about sums it up!


I can hear the Big Dope's back now "I got a free Obamaphone, now ima gonna get a free booty lift and ENTER to win that $500 at the twerkin contest."

Darwin's choice

Obama's own words..."you can keep your dr. and insurance...and afford it"



One of my favs was when he played like a know-it-all doctor and suggested to a woman that instead of her elderly mother getting a by-pass that she take a pill.

What a bull sh*ting jamoke!


...and yet a couple of posters here suggest it's Republicans who want old people to die! That's still more proof that the progressives are in lock step with Dear Leader as opposed to thinking at ALL for themselves. Sort of makes the dumbing down of education make more sense, though, doesn't it?


The Republicans all sound alike.


"Doctors Brace for Health Law’s Surge of Ailing Patients":

"In effect, the 2010 health law’s biggest promise becomes its most formidable challenge: unprecedented access to care for a needy population when the nation is already grappling with overtaxed emergency rooms and a shortage of physicians."

Quality &

Pick two, 'cause only that 'economic genius' Barack Obama says that you can have all three for less money.


Some more information that has just been written about.

A quote from the article:

"Let us hope this family hasn’t already spent or borrowed the $22,500 in savings they might have expected over this same period had they taken candidate Obama’s promise at face value. In truth, no well-informed American ever should have believed this absurd promise. At the time, charitably deemed this claim as “overly optimistic, misleading and, to some extent, contradicted by one of his own advisers.” The Washington Post less charitably awarded it Two Pinocchios (“Significant omissions or exaggerations”). Yet rather than learn from his mistakes, President Obama on July 16, 2012 essentially doubled-down on his promise, assuring small business owners “your premiums will go down.” He made this assertion notwithstanding the fact that in three separate reports between April 2010 and June 2012, the Medicare actuaries had demonstrated that the ACA would increase health spending. To its credit, the Washington Post dutifully awarded the 2012 claim Three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”)"

And another quote from the article"

"In the interests of fair and honest reporting, perhaps it is time the mainstream media begin using “Affordable” Care Act whenever reference is made to this terribly misguided law. Anyone obviously is welcome to quarrel with the Medicare actuary about their numbers. I myself am hard-put to challenge their central conclusion: Obamacare will not save Americans one penny now or in the future. Perhaps the next time voters encounter a politician making such grandiose claims, they will learn to watch their wallet. Until then, let’s spare strapped Americans from having to find $657 in spare change between their couch cushions next year. Let’s delay this law for a year so that policymakers have time to fix the poorly designed Rube Goldberg device known as Obamacare. For a nation with the most complicated and expensive health system on the planet, making it even more complicated and even more expensive never was a good idea.

[1] The Medicare actuary first issued a report carefully estimating the cost impact of Obamacare on April 22, 2010. Its annual national health expenditure projections reports for 2010, 2011 and 2012 all have contained tabulations showing that Obamacare will increase health spending over the next 10 years compared to a counterfactual scenario in which the law was never enacted."


All the talk about Obamacare notwithstanding, the important rule to remember in any negotiation is coined by the acronym "BATNA": Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement". What this simply means is whichever side has the strongest back-up position usually wins out. And in this, Obama has the strongest back-up position should our so-called "leaders" in Congress not agree on a new federal budget as the White House would have broad latitude to decide which government workers were considered essential, which agencies would close entirely, and how chaotic the closings would be. In truth, Obama could simply declare the workings of the ACA essential, thereby funding the one effort the GOP is targeting while shutting down other parts of the government the GOP supports. As Michael Horowitz, former general counsel for Ronald Reagan's budget office during Reagan's term when a brief government shutdown occurred, put it, "For Congress to ask for a shutdown when the opposite political party is in charge of the White House is my definition of insanity". And you know it's really bad for the GOP when Karl Rove via the Wall Street Journal recently pleaded with his fellow Republicans to "recognize the reality that Obamacare can't be defunded".

We really are all caught in a pickle. The GOP doesn't want to have the government shut down as it then puts spending powers directly into the hands of the White House until a new budget is agreed-to.

Dark days . . . dark days . . . and I'm not talking about the approach of winter.