Eric Cantor: Obama "Ought to Be Putting Obamacare on the Table"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 26 2012 1:29 PM

Eric Cantor: Obama "Ought to Be Putting Obamacare on the Table"

Let's ignore the Republican Senators Who Dare to Break With Norquist, shall we? I mean no offense. They're all perfectly nice guys. But their votes don't really matter when it comes to passing a compromise tax/spending Fiscal Cliff bill. The Republican House, the last redoubt of Norquistians, has shown no signs of breaking. In an op-ed last week, John Boehner made a little news when he wrote Obamacare should be "on the table" in a Cliff debate, something totally anathema to Democrats who have now defended the law in two electons. Today on Fox News, Eric Cantor echoed Boehner.

"If the President is serious about joining us and fixing the problem he ought to be putting ObamaCare on the table," he told Bill Hemmer. "There is no question in my mind, that is the largest expansion of government programs that we've seen."

Hemmer asked how far Cantor might go with this. "All I can say is that the president has got to get serious," said Cantor. "The speaker is correct that Obamacare is such an expansion of government spending that it ought to be on the table." Unlike Boehner, he got somewhat specific about what might be slashed. The medical device tax, for example, and IPAB, "the essence of Washington controlling all that health care is about."

Some Democrats, like incoming Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are open to cutting the device tax. But cutting back either that tax or IPAB costs money. Getting rid of them doesn't actually bring down the deficit at all -- it does the exact opposite. And in the past, Obamacare "on the table" has meant full repeal or full defunding. Never mind Norquist -- that's just not going to be a workable compromise.

Video here:

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.