Robert Reich: GOP Hardliners Using 'Blackmail' to Defund Obamacare

Sunday, 22 Sep 2013 12:09 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Republican hardliners are using "blackmail" to try to get Obamacare defunded, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said Sunday.

"I think the issue is whether one party in Congress is going to be allowed to use the entire system of government as basically blackmail to get its way," said Reich, who was part of a panel discussion on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Obamacare has already "passed both house of Congress, has already been put into law by the president," said Reich. "The constitutionality of that particular law has been undeniably affirmed by the Supreme Court. What's next? Social Security, Medicare, the Fair Labor Standards Act?"

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, appearing on the same show, had harsh words for the president.

President Barack Obama "goes three times this week for partisan attack speeches, and basically says 'I'm not going to negotiate,'" said Gingrich. "This isn't a dictatorship. Under our Constitution, there should be a period of tension and a compromise on both sides. The president says nobody gets 100 percent, but what is he going to give up? Under our constitutional system you're not allow to risk the entire system of government to get your way."

Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves, who earlier this month put forth a plan for a spending measure to defund and delay Obamacare until 2015, said Sunday his idea will keep the government open and operating for an entire year.

Graves said the main goal is to keep the government operating, so "we're going to do everything we can to protect our constituents."

Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland noted that even Republican senators like John McCain are saying that a federal government shutdown is "insane."

"They're going to shut down the government if they can't deny healthcare to millions of Americans, including millions of kids who are right now benefiting," said Van Hollen.


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