KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Cruz Makes Republican And Democratic Enemies With Defunding Fight

The freshman senator from Texas has led the charge to tie government financing to defunding the health law. The New York Times looks at the role of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the effort. Other media outlets explore Sen. Rand Paul's suggestions of a compromise and Karl Rove calling out Cruz for misstatements.

The New York Times: McConnell's Deal-Making Yields To Politicking
Democrats and, increasingly, Republicans are complaining that the minority leader’s absence from many of this year’s most intense and consequential negotiations — from the immigration overhaul to the budget to a fight over internal rule changes that almost paralyzed the Senate — has created a power vacuum and left Democrats without a bargaining partner. They worry that Mr. McConnell is too hamstrung by political concerns in the Capitol and back home in Kentucky. In Washington, a rebellious crop of new Republican senators, led by Ted Cruz of Texas, has rejected his compromising brand of politics. Mr. Cruz has led the charge to tie any further government financing to gutting President Obama’s health care law, a movement that has angered many veteran Republicans and brought the federal government to the brink of a shutdown (Weisman and Peters, 9/23).

The Washington Post: Sen. Ted Cruz Happy To Be Outlier In Shutdown Showdown
Ted Cruz began a frantic effort Monday to bend the Senate to his will by employing tactics that have earned him mostly enemies in his less than nine months in the chamber. A master of fiery conservative oratory, the freshman senator is trying to block funding for President Obama’s health-care law with a strategy that, if successful, will almost certainly lead to a partial government shutdown next week. The Texan has become the face of an effort variously described as the "dumbest idea," leading Republicans to a "box canyon" and ending with their political "suicide note" (Kane, 9/23).

Los Angeles Times: Karl Rove Calls Out Fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz On Healthcare
When Karl Rove starts truth-squadding fellow Texas Republicans over the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, you know there are some tall tales floating around. On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Chris Wallace of Fox News: "You know what's interesting? Last week, the Wall Street Journal, for the first time in years, found Republicans are leading on healthcare. Americans trust Republicans more than Democrats on healthcare" (Abcarian, 9/23).

Politico: Rand Paul On Obamacare Compromise: 'Maybe'
Sen. Rand Paul acknowledged Monday the uphill battle for Republicans looking to fully defund Obamcare and said "there could be a compromise in the middle." "The president wants 100 percent of Obamacare, we want zero. Maybe we make it less bad through a compromise. So if the Republicans in the House pass defund, Democrats in the Senate continue to fund, maybe there could be a compromise in the middle where we get some rid of the taxes, and get rid of some of the bad parts of Obamacare," Paul (R-Ky.) said on Fox News’s "Fox and Friends" (McCalmont, 9/23).

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