Tags: thune | debt | obamacare

Thune: Obamacare Costs Will Be Factor in Debt Debate

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 01:36 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Sen. John Thune said Thursday the upcoming debate in Congress over the debt ceiling would tie into Obamacare because the healthcare law is "dramatically expanding the size of government."

"I think that the debt limit, in some respects, sort of ties into [the debt ceiling], because I think it reminds people . . . we are dramatically expanding the size of government, and taking over, literally, one-sixth of the American economy with healthcare. And, adding significantly to the debt," the South Dakota Republican said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Debt limit talks are set to resume in February, following a short-term agreement this fall that ended the government shutdown. Thune indicated extraordinary measures by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew could push the talks to May or June.

Story continues below video.



Thune listed Obamacare, government spending, and the debt as the primary issues on which Republicans should be focused headed into next year's elections. He said the healthcare law is one thing that "unites Republicans of all stripes."

Thune also predicted a "fairly spirited debate" about unemployment benefits next year in Congress. The benefits, set to expire Dec. 28, were not extended in the budget plan the Senate passed this week, but Democratic leaders have said they plan to address the issue after the holiday recess.

Republicans should also be focused on policies to create jobs and get people back to work, Thune said. He called that "the best solution to the high unemployment rate."

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