President Barack Obama charged House Republicans with threatening to “extort” Democrats over raising the country’s borrowing limit by eliminating funding for the health care reform law.
“You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling, or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling, being used to extort a president or a governing party and try to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt,” the president said during remarks to a business group in Washington on Wednesday. Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders pledged to move forward with a vote this week on a temporary spending plan that would defund the Affordable Care Act.
Boehner dismissed talk that the GOP plan, opposed by Senate Democrats and the president, would raise the prospect of a government shutdown in less than two weeks.
“There should be no conversation about shutting the government down. That’s not the goal here,” Boehner told reporters. “Our goal here is to cut spending and to protect the American people from Obamacare. It’s as simple as that. There is no interest on our part in shutting the government down.”
Senate Democrats would likely strip out the health care provision from the spending measure, forcing the House to vote on the revised version. House Republicans signaled they would then make blocking the health care law part of negotiations on increasing the debt limit. They also said they would include other GOP priorities such as building the Keystone XL pipeline and reforming the tax code.
For more context on the fight, read Wednesday’s Morning Line.