News Column

Boehner Won't Rule Out Gov't Shutdown Over Obamacare

August 8, 2013
House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)

Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday presented House Republicans with a strategy for blocking Obamacare this fall after Congress returns from its August recess, and declined to rule out shutting down the government if President Obama doesn't agree to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Boehner, R-Ohio, laid out his detailed legislative and political blueprint to blunt the implementation of Obamacare during a private morning meeting of the House Republican conference, according to a source who was in the room.

This source emphasized that Bohener did not dismiss a plan pushed by some congressional Republicans under which the GOP would shut down the government if Obama does not agree to defund Obamacare by refusing to back legislation needed to keep the government funded beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. Republicans are unified in their opposition to Obamacare, but disagree on the political effectiveness of the defund-or-shutdown tactic.

Boehner's strategy includes holding several votes designed to build on public dissatisfaction with Obamacare and undermine the statute, while also forcing Democrats to cast a series of tough votes that would require them to side with Obama or the public.

"We've got a strategy," Boehner reportedly told his colleagues. "This month has arguably been the most important moment in the three years since the law was signed. We passed bills to delay the employer mandate, and the individual mandate, the core of the law. Thirty-five Democrats defied the president and voted with us on ... [a] bill to authorize the delay of the employer mandate. Twenty-two Democrats defied the president and voted with us on ... [a] bill to delay the individual mandate. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich called these votes 'the beginning of the end' for Obamacare. We should view the delay votes this month as the opening salvo in a series of well- placed, targeted strikes that will ultimately dissolve the Obamacare coalition and topple this train wreck of a law."

Boehner said his strategy is achievable and told his members that the best way to defeat Obamacare is to remain unified. But the speaker also said that his plan is intended to demonstrate that there are additional avenues for blocking Obamacare beyond the defund-or-shutdown strategy now backed by more than 60 House Republicans.

"The president is fond of saying these Obamacare votes are 'meaningless,'" Boehner said, according to the source who was present for the speaker's remarks. "But I'd remind you he's already signed seven bills repealing or delaying parts of the law. We'll have to stick together and communicate. But this strategy is achievable. And it's our best shot at actually getting rid of Obamacare. Executing this strategy doesn't mean we can't do other things on Obamacare as well. This is designed to be a strategy we can build on."

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Source: Copyright Examiner, The (Washington, DC)

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