McMorris Rodgers, GOP: 'Exposed' Obama Bows to Pressure in Obamacare About-Face

Image: McMorris Rodgers, GOP: 'Exposed' Obama Bows to Pressure in Obamacare About-Face From left, Rep. Eric Cantor, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 07:50 PM

By Todd Beamon and Sandy Fitzgerald

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Republicans blasted President Barack Obama's one-year delay for Obamacare on Thursday, charging that longstanding pressure — first from the GOP, now from members of his own party — was behind his about-face on the beleaguered healthcare law.

"The president is feeling the pressure right now," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who chairs the House Republican Conference, told reporters in an afternoon conference call. "He is being exposed, and he felt like he needed to take some action.

"We want to keep the pressure on the president, on the Senate, that this law needs to be repealed."

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

House Speaker John Boehner said that Obamacare could not be fixed and that the law should be scrapped.

"Promise after promise from this administration has turned out to not be true," Boehner said only minutes before Obama made his announcement. "When it comes to Obamacare, it's clear the American people can't trust the White House."

Many repeated promises, including vows that Americans could keep their insurance policies if they liked them, have proven to be false, Boehner said.

"The only way to fully protect the American people is to scrap this law once and for all," he said. "There is no way to fix this."

Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh likened Obama to a "dictator" who "waved his magic wand in fantasyland" to try to protect vulnerable Democrats in next year's congressional elections.

"What was done today, of course,  [was] a purely political move designed to make you think that the president has dictatorial powers to your benefit," Limbaugh said on his afternoon program. "He has found out that you like your plan, and so you're gonna get to keep that plan.

"This is to save the 2014 elections. That's all this was today," Limbaugh added. "This save is for Obama. He necessarily has to help the Democrats.

"Incidentally, he's not doing this to help the Democrats first. He's doing this to help himself get two years of authoritarian, unquestioned, unstoppable presidency."

Bowing to pressure from the outrage of millions of Americans who have lost their health coverage since Obamacare took effect Oct. 1, the president said insurance companies could keep offering customers plans that would otherwise be canceled.

The move is good for one year, though administration officials said they could be extended if problems persisted with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

President Obama's announcement came as the Republican-controlled House planned to vote Friday on legislation proposed by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., that would ensure that any policy effective this year would be grandfathered into Obamacare for a year, allowing people to keep their policies should they choose to do so.

A similar proposal, sponsored by Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, is making its way through the Senate.

Landrieu, a three-term senator, is up for re-election next year. She is among five Senate Democrats in red states whose seats are being targeted by the GOP next year.

The others are Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Max Baucus of Montana.

But Obama's announcement only fueled stronger GOP attacks.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the move did not "even come close to fixing the problems" with Obamacare. "But it does represent the clearest acknowledgment yet that his oft-repeated pledge, 'If you like your plan, you can keep it,' was false all along.

"What makes this admission even worse is the fact that it was prompted not by the heartbreaking stories of millions of Americans, but by the private pleadings of a handful of endangered Democrats," McConnell said.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas charged Obama with "attempting to pick and choose more winners and losers.

"Hard-working Texans are not the president's personal puppets whose lives and livelihoods can be yanked around to satisfy his big-government experiment.

"Enough with temporary fixes and deadline extensions," said Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate. "We should dismantle this law so Americans can choose the insurance plan that works for them, not President Obama."

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, also of Texas, charged: "We cannot 'fix' Obamacare. The damage has been done, as millions of Americans have already been made to pay higher premiums and lose their jobs, wages, and healthcare plans."

However, tinkering with Obamacare will only make matters worse, Cruz said. "Obamacare is not working. It's time to start over.

"It must be repealed and at the same time, Republicans and Democrats should work together to adopt policies that will truly make healthcare more accessible by creating a true national market to make insurance more affordable, personal, and portable.

"The plan the president outlined today is not capable of undoing the damage; it is designed to mitigate his party's political pain," Cruz said.

In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said, "pointing fingers and claiming ignorance is not leadership," adding that Obama needed to admit that his signature domestic achievement is not workable.

"For four years, the president told the American people they could keep the plans they liked and costs would go down, and even he now acknowledges that was simply not true.

"The only way to stop Obamacare-related cancellation notices from being sent this year or in the future is to fully repeal Obamacare," Cantor said.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

And Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn called on Obama to stop tweaking Obamacare and work with Republicans to help Americans affected by the law.

"The president seems to think that he can go wave a magic wand and he can fix things by doing that," Blackburn told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"We are a nation of laws, we abide by the rule of law — and he needs to be working with us, not against us, on trying to get this straightened out."

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