As Deficit Talks Resume, Health Law Funding Fight Escalates

News outlets report little optimism that talks between a group of Republican senators and the White House will resolve the impasse. Meanwhile, House Republicans are expected to use the battle over raising the debt limit as leverage to block the health law -- either by stripping away its funds, or delaying implementation.

The New York Times: Deficit Talks Resuming, But Few Sound Hopeful
The two sides had said they would meet during the August recess, but the gathering will be the first in that time and is intended to take stock before Congress reconvenes in September. Neither side expressed optimism in interviews, with talks snagged on the same issues that killed past bipartisan efforts: Republicans' demands for deeper Medicare cuts and President Obama's insistence that they, in return, agree to higher taxes on the wealthy and some corporations (Calmes, 8/28).

The Washington Post: The House GOP Is Bracing For Debt-Limit Battle And Likely To Target Obamacare First
Boehner (R-Ohio) has proposed a short-term budget bill to keep the government open into the new fiscal year with relatively little fuss. But during a speech in Boise, Idaho, on Monday, he said House Republicans will draw a line in the sand over lifting the federal debt limit, demanding spending "cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit." … What kind of change? Senior Republican aides say it is becoming clear that Boehner will have to launch a concerted assault on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health-insurance initiative. The Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth and other conservative groups are demanding a full-on attempt to defund the law, and at least 80 House Republicans have signed on (Montgomery, 8/28).

The Hill: How The Obamacare Defunding Battle Exploded Into Political Showdown
The fight over defunding ObamaCare is a fight conservatives have spent months itching for. But few thought it could have intensified so fast, especially after President Obama’s reelection triumph and Democrats picking up seats in both chambers of Congress last November (Baker, 8/29).

Bloomberg: Republican Health-Care Attack Shifts From Defund To Delay
Republican congressional leaders, in a fresh strategy after repeatedly failing to dismantle President Barack Obama’s health-care law, are leaning toward an effort to postpone it rather than choke off funding. Freshmen Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have commanded the spotlight during this month’s congressional recess, saying they want to shut down the government unless the law is defunded (Przybyla, 8/29).

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