KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Boehner, Republicans Standing Ground: No End To Shutdown Until Changes To Obamacare

News outlets covered the testy debates on the Sunday talk shows.

The Associated Press: Weekend In Washington Yields Little On Shutdown
House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday he sees no way out of the government shutdown unless President Barack Obama is willing to engage in negotiations with Republicans. But Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew rejected that approach ... Boehner and Lew in separate television interviews gave no hint of any compromise to end a budget impasse that has shut down part of the government since Tuesday and is running the risk of a first-ever default on the government's debt ... House Republicans are demanding significant changes to Obama's signature health care law in exchange for reopening the government, a demand that Democrats say is absurd (Ohlemacher and Babington, 10/6).

The New York Times: Boehner Stands Firm on Demand for Concessions From Obama 
Describing the dialogue he wanted with the president, Mr. Boehner seemed to shift from demands that Mr. Obama agree to negotiations about defunding or delaying his signature health insurance law — a nonnegotiable condition, as the White House sees it — to calling once again for deficit-reduction talks aimed at reducing spending for fast-growing entitlement programs, chiefly Medicare and Medicaid (Calmes, 10/6).

ABC News: Boehner: No 'Clean' Votes On Reopening Government Or Debt Ceiling Without Negotiations with President Obama
Boehner acknowledged that the showdown over government funding, aimed at scaling back the Obama health care law, isn't a fight that he chose. He also appeared to confirm that, in conversations with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he had previously sought to ensure full government funding, only to be convinced to take a different course after consulting with his fellow House Republicans. "I and my members decided that the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand," he said (Klein, 10/6). 

The Wall Street Journal: Boehner Shifts to Long-Term Fiscal Challenges 
On Saturday, the House voted 407-0 vote to provide back pay to all furloughed federal workers once the shutdown ends. Yet neither party seems ready to abandon its terms for ending the shutdown. Appearing on four morning talk shows, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew blamed "some very extreme parts of Congress" for the situation, and said the government will have almost zero wiggle room to operate after it hits the federal borrowing limit later this month. ... Republicans have sought to delay or cut off funding for the health-care law as a condition for reopening the government—an idea Mr. Obama has rejected (Zibel and Nicholas, 10/6).

The Hill: Cruz Calls On Lawmakers To Tie Debt Ceiling To ObamaCare 
Texas Republican [Sen. Ted Cruz] said any deal on raising the nation's borrowing authority should include some "significant structural" plans to reduce government spending, avoid new taxes and "look for ways to mitigate the harm from ObamaCare." "The debt ceiling historically has been among the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the executive," he said on CNN's "State of the Union" (Neeham, 10/6).  

And, here's a story explaining how this all happened:

The New York Times: A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning
Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. ... Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” ... The groups have also sought to pressure vulnerable Republican members of Congress with scorecards keeping track of their health care votes; have burned faux “Obamacare cards” on college campuses; and have distributed scripts for phone calls to Congressional offices (Stolberg and McIntire, 10/5).

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