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Obama Urges Republicans to Drop Health Law Fight

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Obama Urges Republicans to Drop Health Law Fight

Сообщение автор Б&П в Ср 02 Окт 2013, 10:50 am

Obama Urges Republicans to Drop Health Law Fight
The New York Times, USA

Jackie Calmes

WASHINGTON — Flanked by new beneficiaries of his health law, President Obama on Tuesday publicly admonished Republicans in the House to “reopen the government” rather than continue to block federal spending to battle the three-year-old Affordable Care Act.

“As long as I am president, I will not give in to reckless demands by some in the Republican Party to deny affordable health insurance to millions of hard-working Americans,” Mr. Obama said, adding with a gesture toward his guests in the sunny Rose Garden, “I want Republicans in Congress to know – these are the Americans you’d hurt if you were allowed to dismantle this law.”

The president’s televised appearance captured the split-screen aspect of the first day of October: The first day of a new fiscal year dawned to a government shuttered for lack of new funding, yet for the first time putting into effect a key piece of the health-care law that is at the center of the budget showdown between the parties. Tuesday was the first day that uninsured Americans, about 15 percent of the population, could start enrolling in the state-based insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, created by the 2010 law.

Mr. Obama said the full economic impact of the shutdown would depend on how long it goes on – something neither party was willing to predict on Tuesday. But, he said, “We know that the last time Republicans shut down the government in 1996, it hurt our economy. And unlike 1996, our economy is still recovering from the worst recession in generations.”

Making maximum use of the presidential megaphone, Mr. Obama continued to blame Republicans for the loss of government services as both early polls and anecdotal evidence from around the nation suggested that many Americans were doing the same. More precisely, he – echoed by Democrats in Congress – has taken to describing the impasse as one forced by scores of militantly conservative lawmakers, who have cowed Republican leaders to take their uncompromising stand.

“At midnight last night for the first time in 17 years the Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal government,” Mr. Obama said. “Let me be more specific: One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government, all because they did not like one law.”

“They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans,” he added. “In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their jobs”

Within the White House, after the president and senior aides spent a late Monday night monitoring Congress’s final actions before the shutdown at 12:01 a.m., the mood was described by aides as pumped up and enthusiastic despite the controversy. Officials were pleased that the so-called insurance exchanges were finally becoming a reality, to be judged on their merits – kinks and all — and not on Republicans’ hypothetical attacks.

Even more, however, the White House was buoyed by a sense that Republicans were plainly on the defensive – in the media, in their states and among others in their party – when administration officials typically complain that coverage of political fights amounts to “a pox on both your houses” – suggesting both sides equally to blame.

“We’ve got the simplest of messaging: Reopen the government,” said one official, who like others did not want to be identified discussing strategy.

And that indeed was Mr. Obama’s message: “I urge House Republicans to reopen the government, restart the services Americans depend on and allow the public servants who have been sent home to return to work,” he said. “This is only going to happen when Republicans realize they don’t get to hold the entire economy hostage over ideological demands.”

Original:  http://www.nytimes.com/

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