WASHINGTON — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush cautioned House Republicans on Wednesday to be aware of their limits in the latest fight over funding the government and defunding Obamacare.
House Republicans will vote later this week on a continuing resolution that would fund the government through the end of 2013 and defund the Affordable Care Act to prevent it from being implemented. The Democrat controlled Senate is highly unlikely to vote to defund the healthcare law, and if they take up the bill, they will send it back to the House looking very different. Republicans will then try to muster the votes to pass a clean CR, and kick the fight over Obamacare into the debt ceiling negotiations.
If the House and Senate fail to pass a CR, the government will shut down on October 1.
Asked if the fight to defund Obamacare was worth risking a government shutdown while appearing at an event on education with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Bush said the law was bad, but Republicans should be practical
“I’d just add a little dose of reality. If you control one-half of one-third of the leverage in Washington, D.C., your ability to influence things are also relative to the fact that you have one-half of one-third of the government. It’s a reality. This isn’t a hypothetical,” Bush said.
“So as we get closer to these deadlines, there needs to be an understanding of that, or, politically, it’s quite dicey for the Republican Party,” Bush added.
Bush said Obamacare “is so dysfunctional it could collapse under its own weight,” but said that if Republicans wanted to repeal it, they had better have something to replace it
“This debate will go on because this is not going to work. And if it’s not going to work, … Republicans better have a clear, easy-to-understand alternative that’s based on some guiding principles that we know will work because our country desperately needs a completely different healthcare system than we have today and the one we will start having October 1,” he said.
Jindal agreed that Republicans needed to provide an alternative, but said that no option should be ruled out as Republicans attempt to get rid of the law.
“I don’t know why as a party we would ever try to negotiate with ourselves by taking the option off the table,” Jindal said. “It is certainly presumptuous for us to think that the president would choose to shut down the government over this.”
“I do think the party needs to be more than just … repeal and defund. I think it needs to be replaced,” he said.
But, he went on, he believed that it was “a fight worth having.”