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If Obama threatens to veto a bill that defunds his signature health care law, “then he shuts down the government,” Cornyn said. “Do you think the president would really do that? The president would have to be pretty brazen to do that in a fit of pique.”
Other Republicans said a shutdown isn’t in the cards.
“I don’t think anybody’s talking about a government shutdown over health care,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said at a news conference last week to mark the upcoming anniversary of the health care law, which was enacted March 23, 2010. Hatch, who voted last week against the current short-term CR because he said it contained too much spending, noted that he has been a leading backer of court efforts to overturn the health care law as unconstitutional.
House Republicans are working on legislation to replace the law with their own language. In addition, they are holding numerous oversight hearings to highlight the costs and regulations created by the law, as well as the numerous waivers that are being given out by the Obama administration.
They’re also going on the road, with the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health heading to Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday for a hearing on the costs of the law.
“The House has passed a full repeal of Washington Democrats’ job-destroying health care law, as well as numerous provisions to restrict and defund it in the continuing resolution for the remainder of the year,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “We will continue to do everything we can to protect the American people from it.”
But Democrats are starting to sense that Republicans are getting defensive about the repeal effort, and the Democrats insist it is going nowhere.
“Republicans aren’t talking much about health care because their efforts keep failing, while Democrats have largely remained unified,” one senior Democratic aide said. “First they tried to repeal it, and they faced pushing forward a bill that increases the deficit by a whopping $1 trillion. Then they tried to defund it, and they found out it would kill their own program — Medicare Advantage. They know they can’t try to take away all the new benefits and protections in the law, so they are pretty much stuck.”