Report: Boehner Intends to Avoid Obamacare Defunding Fight

Report: Boehner Intends to Avoid Obamacare Defunding Fight

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reportedly hinted on a Thursday conference call with House Republicans that he intends to “move quickly” on a short-term resolution to fund the government before the September 30 deadline instead of threatening to shut down the government to defund Obamacare.

When Representatives return to Washington from the August recess, there will nine legislative days to hammer out an agreement before the current continuing resolution expires. 

According to National Review, Boehner did not unequivocally rule out trying to defund Obamacare through the continuing resolution–as Senators like Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have suggested–but noted he felt it was not the best strategy. Cruz and Lee have argued that House Republicans should pass a budget that funds everything except for Obamacare and then convince Americans that President Barack Obama and Democrats would rather shut down the government than give Americans the same exemptions big businesses have received. 

“Our intent is to move quickly on a short-term continuing resolution [CR] that keeps the government running and maintains current sequester spending levels,” Boehner said, according to National Review‘s report.

On the sequester, Boehner reportedly said Obama is so “desperate to get rid of the sequester” that “he’ll shut down the government if Congress follows the law and funds the government at the levels his sequester mandates.”

“The president’s threat to shut down the government if we implement his sequester is not a defensible position,” Boehner reportedly said, insisting that the sequester Obama proposed should stay in place until Obama agrees to reforms that will put the country on a path toward a balanced budget. “The American people won’t stand for it, and we’re not going to be swayed by it.”

On Obamacare, Boehner reportedly said the delays Obama has been “forced to implement” give Republicans a “golden opportunity” to talk about “fairness” and tell the American people that, “If big business gets relief from the president’s health-care law, families and small businesses should, too.” 

“This message strikes a chord with Americans. When people hear it, it resonates,” he reportedly said. “The president has already signed seven bills delaying or repealing parts of his health-care law. We’re going to keep the pressure on the president and Senate to act on the delay bills that passed the House in July with significant bipartisan support.”