GOP Seeks Delay in Health Care Reform

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 28 2013 1:48 PM

Republicans Seek Obamacare Delay in Move That Would Make Shutdown More Likely

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US House Speaker John Boehner (L) arrives at a meeting of Republican members of the House of Representatives at the US Capitol on September 28

Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

In a rare weekend meeting in the Capitol, Republicans seem to be getting ready to double down. House Republican leaders are calling on their rank-and-file to approve funding for the federal government as long as Obamacare is delayed for a year and the medical device tax used to fund part of health care reform is repealed. Those two measures would be attached to a spending bill that would fund the federal government through Dec. 15, reports the Wall Street Journal. That proposal immediately seems to make a government shutdown on Tuesday far more likely because President Obama and Democrats in the Senate have long said they would reject any effort to limit the health care reform.

The Washington Post points out that even as Republican leaders are advocating an aggressive stance on the shutdown question, they’re still “trying to put in a few sweeteners to deal with the fallout of when the government shuts down.” A key sweetener would be a measure that funds the military in the event of a shutdown. So far at least, it seems Republicans aren’t really that worried about causing a shutdown. After Speaker John Boehner outlined the plan to Republicans in a closed-door meeting, “members could be heard cheering outside the room in a Capitol basement,” reports the Hill. Lawmakers apparently chanted, "Vote! Vote! Vote!" after hearing the plan.

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Earlier, Obama said in his weekly address that the next phase in the health care reform would launch Tuesday, “no matter what,” saying that “the Affordable Care Act is one of the most important things we’ve done as a country in decades.” For now, Obama said, House Republicans seem “more concerned with appeasing an extreme faction of their party than working to pass a budget that creates new jobs or strengthens the middle class.” Over the next few days Republicans will have to make up their minds and “decide whether to join the Senate and keep the government open, or create a crisis that will hurt people for the sole purpose of advancing their ideological agenda.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.