In the midst of the government shutdown, there has been plenty of blame to go around. But is President Obama in the wrong for not negotiating with Republicans? More on that in a minute.
Right now, the House blames the Senate for being unwilling to compromise, while the Senate accuses the House of “holding the American people hostage” by refusing to fully fund and implement Obamacare.
Whatever the case may be, President Obama has made it clear that he is unwilling to “negotiate” with House Republicans, who are pushing for a one-year delay in Obamacare’s individual mandate.
President Obama reportedly told House Speaker John Boehner “I’m not going to negotiate. I’m not going to negotiate, I’m not going to do this.”
During an interview with NPR on Monday, Obama offered an explanation for why he will not make an offer to House Republicans as a compromise to avoid government shutdown. The President explained, “I shouldn’t have to offer [Republicans] anything. They’re not doing me a favor by paying for things that they have already approved for the government to do. That’s part of their basic function of government; that’s not doing me a favor. That’s doing what the American people sent them here to do, carrying out their responsibilities.”
Press Secretary Jay Carney has had to respond to tough questions from the press regarding Obama’s silence.
At a Monday press conference, reporter Ed Henry asked Carney why Obama has been unwilling to communicate with House Republicans. “Why don’t you at least talk to them, even if they’re wrong?” Henry asked.
After thanking Henry for his “reassertion of GOP talking points,” Carney responded, “Ed, maybe you didn’t catch up to what the president just said, but he said he would be talking to leaders of Congress. I have nothing new to report on the president’s schedule.”
That press conference was on Monday, and the president has yet to sit down and talk with House Republicans despite the federal government having shut down on Tuesday morning. Republicans have been making the claim that the President “is willing to talk with Iran but not with Republicans.” That of course is a talking point that has no merit. One case has nothing to do with the other.
When the federal government shut down in 1995, President Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich communicated almost constantly until the government was back up and running, despite being fierce political enemies. Clinton and Gingrich likely exchanged more words in one day than President Obama has with the House Republicans since these current issues began.
But is President Obama wrong to not “negotiate”? After all, the President is right that Congress is attempting to stop a law that was legally passed, signed into law and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Millions of Americans are claiming that the law is bad for country, while millions more will be signing up for healthcare exchanges over the next few weeks.
Regardless of how we feel about this law, the Affordable Care Act IS the law of the land. Should any President be forced to negotiate over whether laws are enforced?