GOP says Obama will use ‘all options’ if Dems fail to defund ACA
GOP leaders on Thursday said President Barack Obama will invoke his constitutional power to veto any legislation that fails to defund the ACA.
The president’s veto power is limited to two-thirds of the Senate, meaning that the GOP can use the filibuster to block a legislative fix that would extend coverage to millions of Americans.
The measure has bipartisan support and is being pushed by Sens.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
The measure is also supported by some conservatives.
But GOP leaders said the president would use his veto power if a compromise is not reached with Democrats.
“The president is in a position of vetoing any measure that fails,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Fox News.
“We will not allow a partisan solution that would fail to provide coverage for Americans, and the president will use all options to protect our nation.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democrats have vowed to keep the measure alive in the Senate even if Republicans use the reconciliation process to strip funding from the law.
Republicans are not expected to use the power to pass a bill that is identical to the one the president vetoed in October.
The House bill would replace the ACA’s subsidies with tax credits that people can get to help them pay for premiums, deductibles and other costs.
The legislation also provides more money for state and local governments to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for people who are uninsured or underinsured.
Obama has also said he will veto any bill that doesn’t include a fix for the ACA, which has been beset by delays, steep losses and coverage cuts.
The White, House and Senate are trying to hammer out a deal on how to fund the law in a way that avoids major disruptions to the economy.
GOP leaders plan to unveil their proposal Thursday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) expected to unveil the plan during a televised address to the nation.
Republicans have been struggling to come up with a way to avoid a shutdown, but are struggling to get Democrats on board with their idea.
They hope to get a bill passed by mid-February, but the Senate has not yet agreed to hold votes.
Democrats are threatening to filibuster the measure if it doesn’t get a vote before the start of next year’s midterm elections.
The administration has not indicated whether the White House will be using its veto power to block the GOP plan.
Democrats, however, have suggested the administration could use the veto power as a bargaining chip to make concessions to Republicans.
“I think the president’s actions would be interpreted as a unilateral decision that the president could use in order to block this bill,” Pelosi said on MSNBC on Thursday.
“If you do not agree with the president, you have the power and the right to vote no.”