President Obama isn’t fighting with House Republicans on the debt ceiling. He is wiping the floor with them. Today in Missouri, the president said, ‘They want to threaten default just to make sure that tens of millions of Americans continue not to have health care.’
THE PRESIDENT: Unfortunately, there is a faction on the far right of the Republican Party right now — it’s not everybody, but it’s a pretty big faction — who convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown and potentially threaten to not raise the debt ceiling if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Now, think about this. They’re not talking now about spending cuts. They’re not talking about entitlement reform. They’re not talking about any of that. Now they’re talking about something that has nothing to do with the budget — right? They’re actually willing to plunge America into default if we can’t defund the Affordable Care Act.
Now, let’s put this in perspective. The Affordable Care Act has been in law for three and a half years. It passed both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was an issue in last year’s elections. The guy who was running against me said he was going to repeal it. We won. So the voters were pretty clear on this.
They want to repeal all that, and they’re saying, we’re going to hold our breath, and if you don’t repeal it — which I’ve already said I’m not going to do — we’re going to send the economy into default. They will send our economy into a tailspin, just like Speaker Boehner said. They want to threaten default just to make sure that tens of millions of Americans continue not to have health care.
Defunding Affordable Health Care would rob 25 million Americans of the chance to get health care coverage. It would cut basic health care services for tens of millions of seniors on Medicare already. That’s what House Republicans are fighting for.
And now they’ve gone beyond just holding Congress hostage, they’re holding the whole country hostage. One Republican senator called shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” I agree with him. But that’s the strategy they’re pursuing. House of Representatives just voted on it today.
Now, I tell you what, Missouri. The American people have worked too hard for too long, digging out of a real crisis just to let politicians in Washington cause another crisis.
This is the United States of America. We’re not some banana republic. This is not a deadbeat nation. We don’t run out on our tab. We’re the world’s bedrock investment. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable. We can’t just not pay our bills. And even threatening something like that is the height of irresponsibility.
So what I’ve said is I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States. I am not going to allow anyone to harm this country’s reputation. I’m not going to allow them to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people just so they can make an ideological point.
Republicans don’t get it. This isn’t 2009-2010 anymore. People can see the benefits that they are getting from Obamacare. Republicans can’t get away with only telling lies anymore. The president’s whole speech is worth watching because Obama broke down all of the issues in easy to understand terms. The president was able to boil his point down to one important sentence. When Obama said, “They want to threaten default just to make sure that tens of millions of Americans continue not to have health care,” he shifted the discussion away from Obamacare and towards the morality of denying people access to healthcare.
President Obama is taking the Republicans apart piece by piece on the debt ceiling. Republicans are going to regret ever tying the debt ceiling to defunding Obamacare. Unlike the last debt ceiling fight, this won’t be about debt and numbers. The president can use the ACA to make the argument on human terms. The debate isn’t about debt anymore. It’s about preexisting conditions, kids staying on their parents’ health insurance, and access to healthcare for tens of millions of Americans.
Obama is dominating over both the fiscally responsible argument, and the moral argument. Republicans have nothing to stand on, except their usual Obamacare tantrums. President Obama is routing the Republicans on both the debt ceiling and Obamacare.
The early signs are that this is not going to end well for the Republican Party.