Obama blocks agencies’ funding to stop Obamacare reforms

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama is threatening to deny funding to all unfunded federal agencies until GOP legislators abandon their reforms to the Obamacare law that regulates the nation’s health-sector.

The threatening statement, issued Wednesday, clashes with the president’s efforts to portray the budget impasse as the “Republican shutdown” of the federal government.

“The Administration strongly opposes House passage … [of] fiscal year 2014 appropriations for very limited activities,” said the statement, which was issued after GOP leaders said they would pass multiple small-scale bills to fund individual agencies during the budget impasse.

That GOP mini-bill strategy allows them to continue their advocacy for Obamcare reforms, while also highlighting Obama’s strategy of shutting down government.

Obama’s hard line reflects his expectation that media coverage of the budget impasse will blame the GOP for the impasse, boost his poll ratings and help Democrats in their effort to win a House majority in November 2014.

“Consideration of appropriations bills in a piecemeal fashion is not a serious or responsible way to run the United States Government,” said the Oct. 2 statement, which comes only one day after Obama signed a law allowing continued payment of salaries for the the nation’s military.

“Instead of opening up a few Government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the Government,” the statement insisted.

So far, Obama’s plan is working, partially.

Daily tracking polls by Rasmussen Reports show that the president’s ratings have nudged up from a few points to 50 percent, likely reflecting the normal shift toward greater reliance on government when swing voters are worried about their jobs and the economy.

Obama and his allied Democrats oppose the GOP’s reforms of Obamacare, which include ending a tax on high-tech medical-device makers, ending lucrative exemptions for White House and congressional staffers, and setting a one-year delay in the 2010 law’s requirement that all adults buy health-insurance, no matter their age, health or other priorities.

Obama has already granted an informal one-year exemption to some companies.

The company exemption allows them to delay required reports about their employees’ pay and health-care benefits. The reporting requirement was partly intended to prevent fraudulent claims by employees for taxpayer-funded subsidies.

To counter the GOP effort to pass multiple small bills, the White House is expected to claim the GOP is harming the economy and voters.

“The harmful impacts of a shutdown extend across Government, affecting services that are critical to small businesses, women, children, seniors, and others across the Nation,” claimed the Oct. 2 statement.

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