KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As Defunding Vote Triggers GOP ‘Family Feud,’ Strong Personalities And Tough Talk Take Center Stage

Conservatives in the House have pressured Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to advance their goal of defunding the health law and criticized Senate conservative colleagues for caving on the issue. There are also threats of filibuster and concerns about the impact this strategy could have on the Republican Party.

The New York Times: Conservatives Take Turns Standing Up To The Speaker
Those in the circle of fiery House conservatives who are spearheading a fiscal showdown that threatens to shut down the government see themselves in vaunted company. "It only takes one with passion — look at Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa, Martin Luther King,” said Representative Ted Yoho of Florida, one of the rank-and-file House Republicans who have risen up to challenge their party’s leadership over whether to confront the Senate and President Obama with their demands to cut off funding for the president’s health care law. "People with passion that speak up, they’ll have people follow them because they believe the same way, and smart leadership listens to that" (Parker and Weisman, 9/19).

Politico: Conservatives Rally Around Defunding Vote
House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to allow a vote on a spending plan defunding Obamacare energized conservatives on Thursday even though their chances of actually stripping the law’s funds remain dim. Conservative House members heaped praise on their leader, saying his decision has brought back the Boehner of the good ol’ days (Cunningham, 9/19).

Fox News: House Republicans Accuse Senate Colleagues Of Caving On Push To Defund Obamacare
House Republicans, in an unusually caustic intra-party squabble, are ripping their conservative colleagues in the Senate for what they see as an abrupt cave-in on the push to defund Obamacare. The squabble started after House Speaker John Boehner earlier in the day announced he would agree to the demands of Tea Party-aligned lawmakers to tie a vote on defunding the health care law to a vote on a must-pass budget bill (9/19).

The Wall Street Journal: Spending Battle Set For The Senate
The Senate began girding for a contentious fight over a bill to fund the government after conservatives on Thursday threatened to use delaying tactics in an effort to eliminate money for the new federal healthcare law. The vow from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a leading foe of the health law, pointed to a protracted and uncertain Senate battle that could drag Congress close to the Oct. 1 deadline for avoiding a partial government shutdown (Hook and Peterson, 9/19).

Los Angeles Times: Cruz Vows To Do 'Everything Necessary' To Defund Health Law
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) vowed to do "everything necessary and anything possible" to ensure passage of legislation that would strip the new healthcare law of some of its funding, assuring House Republicans of his full support for a strategy that could risk a government shutdown. At a news conference Thursday, Cruz locked arms with House Republicans who have championed the "defund Obamacare" strategy, one day after conservative lawmakers bristled at a statement Cruz issued that acknowledged Republicans had little chance of succeeding in the Senate (Memoli, 9/19).

Politico: Ted Cruz In Middle Of GOP Civil War
Ted Cruz is in the middle of an escalating GOP civil war on Obamacare, a risk that could turn into a major public relations debacle for the prospective presidential hopeful. For the past few months, Cruz has been riling up the right, urging Republicans to use a government funding bill as leverage to defund Obamacare. But given Democratic control of the Senate and White House — and growing Republican reticence about shutting down the government — even Cruz’s GOP supporters acknowledge there’s virtually no chance his tactics will succeed (Raju, Everett and Sherman, 9/19).

The Washington Post: Rand Paul: Filibuster May Not Stop Obamacare Funding
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday defended "Defund Obamacare" supporters in the Senate, who have come under criticism from House Republicans for suggesting they may not be able to stop a budget that includes funding for Obamacare. Paul noted that even his 13-hour filibuster against the Obama administration's drone policies wasn't able to stop the Senate from approving the nomination of CIA director John Brennan (Blake, 9/19).

Politico: John McCain: Defund Effort 'Not Rational'
Sen. John McCain said Thursday that it is "not rational" to think the Senate will vote to defund Obamacare. “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational,” McCain said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" (Arkin, 9/19).

McClatchy: Republican Move Could Kill Obamacare – Or The GOP
Republicans will proclaim solidarity Friday when the House of Representatives votes to defund the 2010 health care law. Don’t be fooled: The party is bitterly divided about how and when to get rid of Obamacare. The struggle over tactics could well determine who controls the Republican Party – and just as important, its image – for years to come (Lightman, 9/19).

The Washington Post: Scott Walker Opposes Government Shutdown Over Obamacare
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been an outspoken opponent of Obamacare, challenging its constitutionality in court and rejecting federal funds to expand Medicaid under the program. But that doesn't mean he backs the current House GOP strategy to risk shutting down the government over the issue (Eilperin, 9/19).

Roll Call: Corker Warns Of Inflated Expectations From Push To Defund Obamacare
Sen. Bob Corker is saying openly what other Republicans seem to be thinking behind the scenes: The strategy to defund Obamacare is raising expectations among conservatives to unrealistic levels (Lesniewski, 9/19).

Politico: Reid: ‘Any Bill That Defunds Obamacare Is Dead’
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared Thursday that any government-funding legislation that takes away money for Obamacare has no chance of becoming law. Pushed by the conservative wing of their party, House Republican leaders have settled on a continuing resolution to keep the government open, or a CR, with specific language to defund the health care law. The House is slated to vote on that bill Friday (Kim, 9/19).

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