President Obama’s assistant today compared negotiating with Republicans to negotiating with suicide bombers.
Senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer told CNN that Obamacare is “absolutely ready” to launch. “On October 1, you can talk to folks on the phone. The only thing that’s being delayed is the Web site. And there’s no deadline on the back end,” he said. “So, what we’re making sure is the experience people have is the right experience. We’re doing it in a time that makes sense.”
“The process for applying for affordable health care is going to be tremendous compared on its own, but also compared to what people are dealing with right now.”
Pfeiffer said he’s “not worried about the politics of this today, tomorrow, five days from now.”
“I don’t care what the Gallup daily track says, the CNN poll. What we’re worried about is five years from now, 10 years, 15 years from now, people who never had health care have access to it, it has become part of the fabric of how we provide — part of the fabric of the social contract in this country,” he continued.
When asked by Jake Tapper about companies cutting back their workers’ hours to kick them into the exchanges, Pfeiffer said we have to “compare what’s happening now with what’s been happening for 10 years, long before Obamacare was even something that was possible to be law, is companies were dropping health insurance. The tens of millions of Americans have had their health insurance dropped, many of them in small businesses, long — because healthcare costs were skyrocketing.”
On the effort to defund Obamacare, he said “whether we shut down or not is a decision that is entirely within the hands of Speaker Boehner and the Republicans.”
“The House Republicans are not asking for negotiation. It’s a negotiation if I’m trying to sell you my house and we are just debating the price of it. It is not a negotiation if I show up at your house and say give me everything inside or I’m going to burn it down,” Pfeiffer said. “The Republicans have provided a laundry list of essentially ransom demands of things that were essentially the Romney agenda that was rejected by voters that they know can’t pass in normal circumstances. They say give us these things or we will blow up the economy. We’re not going to participate in that because that has dramatic consequences for how we govern going forward.”
Tapper asked why the White House isn’t open to cutting some spending in debt-ceiling negotiations.
“What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest. We’re not going to do that,” Pfeiffer said. “So, if they want to have a discussion about how we reduce our deficits, how we help the middle class, how we give them a better bargain, lift the debt ceiling, take the full faith and credit of the United States off the table and let’s have a discussion.”