The President of the United States turned his back on reporters’ questions about budget talks Tuesday after insisting that he has no role to play in the budget impasse and the partial shutdown of government.
“If you won’t negotiate, how can you get a solution?” one reporter yelled out.
“Would a [joint] House/Senate conference help?” yelled another reporter.
The questions echo requests by GOP legislators for negotiations and compromises to end the impasse over the GOP’s proposed reforms to Obamacare.
Obama refused to answer the questions, but instead hugged several of the people who had been invited to stand behind him during his 10-minute, campaign-style speech in the Rose Garden.
Obama’s refusal to address the issue of negotiations reflects the Democrats’ view — partially backed by polls — that they will gain political rewards from the impasse, and highlights their hope that a public backlash will help elect a Democratic majority to the House in November 2014.
Throughout his 10-minute statement, Obama repeatedly complained that Republican legislators elected in 2010 and 2012 have refused to accept the Obamacare law passed by Democratic legislators three years ago, and he insisted that only the Republicans were responsible for the GOP-Democratic disagreement.
“The Republican shutdown didn’t have to happen,” Obama claimed.
“I want every American to understand why it did happen… they’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions,” he claimed.
“They’ve demanded ransom just to do their jobs… rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it… seems more than anything else, to be what the Republicans stand for these days,” he announced.
But Obama insisted his eponymous health-sector takeover is permanent, and seemed to goad GOP advocates into taking steps that would anger swing voters.
Obamacare “is settled, it is here to stay,” he claimed.
“You’ll find more choices, more competition, and in many cases, lower prices,” he said. The policies are offered in more than “150 different languages,” he boasted.
GOP legislators, however, have developed an alternative bill that would provide federal subsidies for people with pre-existing conditions, create a national marketplace for state-regulated health insurance companies, and provide large tax-breaks to help American buy insurance with pre-tax income.
If enacted, the GOP bill would displace Obamacare, which was passed in 2010 on a party-line vote.
Obamacare forces Americans to buy federally-approved insurance plans, raises taxes to fund subsidies that intended to partially offset the increased costs to younger Americans and to married people, and gives the Democratic Party unprecedented control over the nation’s health-care sector and over AMericans’ personal medical information.
Over the last several days, the Democratic majority in the Senate, backed by Obama, has rejected a series of Obamacare reform proposals that were added to the 2014 budget bills by the GOP majority in the House.
Those GOP reforms would allow young people and married people a one-year exemption from requirement to buy federally-designed insurance, and would have ended special subsidies awarded by Obama to his administration and congressional aides.