KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Split On Government Shutdown to ‘Defund’ Obamacare

News outlets covered the Sunday talk shows, where Republican Reps. Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan said they disagreed with the strategy of Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz.

CNN: GOP Lawmakers Split On Threat To Shut Down Government Over Obamacare
After members of Congress return from their monthlong recess, Washington will brace for yet another budget battle that entails reaching an agreement to continue funding the government beyond September 30. The debate will probably center on whether Republicans should attach a measure to defund Obamacare to the upcoming spending bill. But Democrats and some Republicans argued Sunday morning that taking such an approach will almost guarantee more gridlock in Congress (Killough, 8/4).

Reuters: Republican Ryan Wary Of Shutdown Strategy On Obamacare
Influential Republican congressman Paul Ryan disagreed on Sunday with the idea of using the threat of a government shutdown as a means of trying to get rid of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law known as "Obamacare." Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a former vice presidential candidate, said he strongly backs the goal of repealing Obamacare but added there were other, more effective ways of achieving it (Bohan, 8/4).

CBS News: Ryan: "More Effective Ways" To Repeal Obamacare Than Government Shutdown
"You know, rather than sort of swinging for the fences and trying to take this entire law out with discretionary spending, I think there are more effective ways of achieving that goal," Ryan said [on CBS' "Face the Nation"]. "We think that we can do better by delaying this law. ..." An initiative spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to block any government funding bill that includes money toward the implementation of Obamacare would presumably give conservatives leverage in an upcoming budget fight (Boerma, 8/4).

Bloomberg: Republicans Split on Efforts to Defund Obama Health-Care Law
"... shutting down the government and playing into the hands of the president politically is not the right thing to do,” Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. ... Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said on “Meet the Press” that Cruz’s efforts have held up otherwise bipartisan appropriations bills. “Senator Cruz is part of the few extreme people in the Senate when it comes to this subject, calling for shutting down the government of the United States, even shutting down the American economy to make his political point,” Durbin said on the program (Jamrisko, 8/4).

Fox News: House Republican Leaders Outline Agenda For Immigration, ObamaCare, Budget Talks
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suggested that congressional Republicans are open to a compromise to end the deep, undiscerning cuts to the federal budget known as sequester but said the deal would require Democrats agreeing to entitlement cuts. The Virginia Republican’s statement on “Fox News Sunday” knocks down criticism that his party wanted the cuts and is determined to keep them when Congress returns next month to negotiate a budget deal before the September 30 deadline (8/4).

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