House Republican leaders are once again calling on President Barack Obama to negotiate to end the government shutdown. Speaker John Boehner held a media conference today and made a simple request: that President Obama just do what every single president before him has done, and negotiate with Congress. All 17 previous shutdowns have included presidents who negotiated with Congress, as Congress represents the people and the House is empowered by the Constitution with power over federal spending.
Boehner said “Frankly by refusing to negotiate, Harry Reid and the president are putting our country on a pretty dangerous path. There has never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit. Never. Not once. As a matter of fact, President Obama negotiated with me over the debt limit in 2011. He also negotiated with the blue dog Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in 2010. The way to resolve this, is to sit down, and have a conversation to resolve our differences.”
House Minority Leader Eric Cantor called out a specific item to negotiate, the Obamacare individual mandate.
“In our last effort to fully fund the government, we asked for an end of special treatment for Congress,” Cantor said. “And we said if you are having a hard time using ObamaCare’s broken website, you shouldn’t be penalized for not signing up this year. Very simple, that’s all we were asking for. A one-year delay of that tax is more than fair given how poorly the rollout of ObamaCare has been. President Obama gave the same relief we are asking for to big businesses. But the president and Senator Reid wanted to protect that tax.”
The Obama administration’s position on the individual mandate even baffles left wing fake newsman Jon Stewart, who grilled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about it on The Daily Show Monday.
Obama’s position is that Obamacare is law and therefore there is nothing to negotiate. But laws have always been subject to revision. Even the Constitution itself can be amended. Obama himself has frequently sought to curb the constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms, enshrined clearly in the Second Amendment. Obama’s position that once a law is on the books it can no longer be negotiated or changed has no grounding in American tradition or history.
Watch video of Boehner’s and Cantor’s remarks here.