News / USA

Obama Mocks Republicans for Opposing Health Care Law

Capitol building in Washington D.C., Sept. 19, 2013.
Capitol building in Washington D.C., Sept. 19, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama has ridiculed congressional Republicans who continue to oppose his signature health care law set to take effect on Tuesday, October 1.

In a speech Thursday, Obama described Republican tactics to block the law as "crazy," and said they are worried the law will succeed, not that it will fail.

He accused the Republican opposition of trying to blackmail him into repealing or defunding the Affordable Care Act by threatening a partial government shutdown starting October 1.

Meanwhile, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, said it is unlikely the Republican-controlled House will pass a temporary spending bill that will fund the government beyond Tuesday.

Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled Senate are preparing to vote on the bill.

The House is expected to approve a measure later this week that would allow the Treasury Department to increase its borrowing authority to pay the government's debts, while imposing a one-year delay on the Affordable Care Act, which expands health care coverage to millions of currently uninsured Americans.

Some polls show the American public is largely skeptical about the law, also known as Obamacare.

The temporary spending bill would fund the government, including the new health care law, until mid-November. But a vote probably will not occur until Friday, which would give House lawmakers little time to consider it before current funding levels run out on Monday at midnight.

The government could partially shut down if the House rejects the Senate's version.

The Senate began work on the funding measure Wednesday after Texas Republican Ted Cruz ended a marathon 21-hour speech in support of the bill passed by the House that would defund the health care act.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senior lawmakers refused to support Cruz's approach.   

Republican leaders fear a partial shutdown of the federal government would hurt the party's standing heading into next year's congressional elections. A government shutdown in the mid-1990s, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, boosted then-president Bill Clinton's re-election chances.

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