In a week that already has seen President Barack Obama chide proponents of the ‘defund Obamacare’ effort as “desperate” and too into Fox News, he broke out a new over-the-top label Friday: saboteur.
With the Senate slowly moving in the direction of advancing a House-passed ‘continuing resolution’ (CR) to stave off a government shutdown and act on an amendment to restore funding for the Affordable Care Act, the President made sure there was no love lost between he and the congressional GOP in an Organizing for America email.
“Right now, the hard work we’ve put in to get our economy back on track is at risk. And there’s only one reason for it: A group of far-right Republicans in Congress is obsessed with making an ideological point,” Obama wrote in the message. “They refuse to pass a budget unless I let them sabotage Obamacare, something they know is not going to happen.”
Despite the ‘sabotage’ allegation, Obamacare recently has been its own undoing. Just yesterday, the administration delayed enrollment in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges for small businesses and Spanish speakers, and it already has delayed the law’s employer mandate for a year. With piling anecdotes about businesses reducing employee hours to avoid costs under Obamacare and difficulties with rolling out the exchanges, the law hasn’t needed such a saboteur.
That doesn’t mean the President still isn’t pent on finding one to blame.
Perhaps anticipating that the Senate will complete an amended funding bill to send back to the House, Obama shifted the onus to the Speaker and his caucus.
“I called House Speaker John Boehner the other night to tell him that Americans like you have worked too long and too hard to dig our nation out of the financial crisis, and the last thing we need is for Washington to manufacture another,” Obama continued. “I want to make sure that message gets through. Add your voice — remind Speaker Boehner that Congress has a job to do.
The message then provided a link to a fundraising portal, asking Congress to ‘pass a budget.’
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer joined President Obama’s name-calling efforts, comparing Republicans to terrorists and kidnappers on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
“We are for cutting spending. We are for reforming our tax code. We’re for reforming our entitlements. What we’re not for is negotiating with people who have a bomb strapped to their chest,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re not going to do that so if they want to have a discussion with how to reduce our deficits, how do we help the middle class, how we give them a better bargain, lift the debt ceiling, take the full faith and credit of the United States off the table, and let’s have a discussion.”
He continued, saying Republicans have provided a “laundry list of essentially ransom demands” on negotiations for the debt ceiling.
The Senate voted 54-44 Friday afternoon to pass a continuing resolution that would keep the federal government funded through Nov. 15, but also stripped it of a provision defunding the Affordable Care Act.
Shortly after the vote concluded, President Obama pleaded with Congressional Republicans in a press conference to approve the Senate’s CR, warning them that shutting down the federal government over Obamacare funding isn’t going to stop the law’s implementation come January 1.
“If Congress chooses not to pass a budget by Monday, the end of the fiscal year, they will shut down the government along with many vital services that the American people depend on,” Obama said from the White House briefing room.
“So over the next three days House Republicans will have to decide whether to join the Senate and keep the government open or shut it down because they can’t get their way on an issue that has nothing to do with the deficit.”
This piece has been updated to include new information.