White House Still Calls Just Minor Tweaks to Obamacare Demanding 'Ransom'
House Republicans have watered down the Obamacare-related demands in the continuing resolution from an all-out defunding to what nearly everyone on the Hill is calling minor tweaks to the bill, and yet the White House just said it refuses to budge.
"Our leadership team met with our members today trying to find a way forward in a bipartisan way that would continue to provide fairness to the American people under Obamacare. There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go. There have been no decisions about what exactly we will do. But we're going to continue to work with our members on both sides of the aisle to try to make sure that there's no issue of default and to get our government reopened," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters this morning after a closed caucus meeting.
"It's very clear in our discussions that we think individuals should be treated fairly; that big business should not have special treatment and members of Congress should not have special treatment," Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) added, noting, "we are very cognizant of the calendar. We want to find a solution to this in a bipartisan manner that gets us moving forward, and gets American back working again."
Details of the tweaks that emerged after the meeting include a two-year delay on the medical device tax and some language from an amendment by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), which seeks to not exclude Congress and the White House from Obamacare exchange requirements.
“The President has said repeatedly that Members of Congress don’t get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation’s bills. Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in response to the House GOP plan. "Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been working in a bipartisan, good-faith effort to end the manufactured crises that have already harmed American families and business owners. With only a couple days remaining until the United States exhausts its borrowing authority, it’s time for the House to do the same."
Obama just updated his schedule to add a meeting with House Democratic leadership at 3:15 p.m. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) will attend the meeting.
"It is time for reasonable men and women on the Republican side of the aisle in the House of Representatives to step forward and tell the speaker that regardless of the small minority in their party maybe those who are enabling that small minority, it's time to push them aside and to do what is right and just for the American people and for the world," Crowley said at a morning press conference.