Speaker John Boehner strongly hinted on a conference call with rank-and-file House Republicans that the upcoming continuing resolution will not be a do-or-die fight over Obamacare spending.
“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 told members, according to a person on the call.
While Boehner did not explicitly rule out using the CR for an Obamacare fight, other sources on the call said it was clear he preferred not to use the spending bill to draw a line in the sand. “He didn’t rule it out, but indicated to members that defund through CR is not the best strategy,” a second source said. Beyond the CR, in November or December, lies a needed debt-ceiling increase that the House GOP has long planned to use as leverage.
Boehner also told Republicans it’s important for the GOP to hang tough on the sequester spending cuts and said he will keep to the GOP’s current strategy of highlighting politically unpopular provisions of the health care law.
On the sequester:
The president is desperate to get rid of the sequester . . . so desperate that he says 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. The American people won’t stand for it, and we’re not going to be swayed by it. When we return, our intent is to move quickly on a short-term continuing resolution [CR] that keeps the government running and maintains current sequester spending levels. Our message will remain clear: Until the president agrees to better cuts and reforms that help grow the economy and put us on path to a balanced budget, his sequester — the sequester he himself proposed, insisted on, and signed into law — stays in place.
On Obamacare strategy:
We will also continue to implement the plan to stop Obamacare that I outlined last month. The delays the administration has been forced to implement in the health-care law have given us a golden opportunity to talk about fairness: “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. 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. You may have seen Shelly Moore Capito do this in Saturday’s GOP weekly address. We’re going to keep holding votes that chip away at the legislative coalition the president is using to force Obamacare on the nation.