Effort To Defund Health Law Complicates Budget Talks

The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama administration officials are stepping up meetings with Senate Republicans in hopes of avoiding a deadline clash over federal spending this fall. One of the flashpoints is the Republican demand to defund Obamacare as part of any deal.

The Wall Street Journal: Grand Bargain Eludes Budget Negotiations
Top White House officials are stepping up meetings with Senate Republicans in hopes of averting a deadline-driven clash over federal spending this fall, according to people familiar with the sessions. But the two sides remain far apart on basic questions of whether to raise tax revenue and how to rein in the cost of Medicare (Nicholas and Peterson, 7/28).

The Wall Street Journal: Lew Urges Congress To Raise Debt Limit
Senior Republican lawmaker Peter King of New York addressed the debt ceiling fight in the context of a policy split in the GOP, saying, "We should not be closing the government down under any circumstances." He said that although Republicans should try to de-fund the healthcare act called Obamacare, they should not "threaten" to "bring down the government" over it (Mundy, 7/28).

Politico: No Shutdown Over Obamacare, Lee Says
Sen. Mike Lee says the government will inevitably get funded regardless of his efforts to limit funding for Obamacare. Pressed repeatedly on "Fox News Sunday" by host Chris Wallace on whether he's prepared to shut down the government over defunding the new health care law, Lee said that's an unlikely conclusion. ... "We all know the government is going to get funded. The only question is whether the government gets funded with Obamacare or without," Lee said on Sunday (Everett, 7/28).

The Hill: Lee Downplays ObamaCare Shutdown Threat: Government 'Going To Get Funded'
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Sunday defended his efforts to block any funding bill that provides money to roll out the president's healthcare reforms and downplayed the chances those efforts could shutdown the government. "We all know the government is going to get funded, the only question is if the government gets funded with ObamaCare or without it," said Lee on "Fox News Sunday" (Schroeder, 7/28).

Fox News: White House Doubles Down On Vow Obama Won't Agree To More Spending Cuts
The Obama administration dug in Sunday on its vow to reject proposed spending cuts by congressional Republicans in upcoming budget talks but declined to say whether the president would veto their proposals or allow a government shutdown. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told "Fox News Sunday" that President Obama will neither sign government funding bills that slash domestic spending nor negotiate with Republicans over spending cuts to raise the federal debt limit. … Some conservatives are making a last stand against Obama's new health care law, which includes plans not to fund ObamaCare in the continuing resolution (7/28).

Fox News: Democrats, Republicans Hint At Shutdown Before Budget Talks Involving ObamaCare, Sequester
The routine Capitol Hill negotiations in which Democrats and Republicans try to reach a short-term deal to fund the federal government after September is expected to be especially complex this year as both sides hint they will allow a government shutdown over such key issues as sequestration and ObamaCare. Republicans essentially have tried to dismantle the president's signature health-care legislation since he signed it into law in 2010, including 38 related votes in the GOP-led House. And Republicans say defunding it next year is their last, best chance (7/27).

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