In it, but not of it. TPM DC

White House: Obamacare Off The Table For Debt Reduction

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Newscom

The official was responding to Boehner's Tuesday evening op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer re-affirming his commitment to repeal the law.

"The president's health care law adds a massive, expensive, unworkable government program at a time when our national debt already exceeds the size of our country's entire economy," the Speaker wrote. "We can't afford it, and we can't afford to leave it intact. That's why I've been clear that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt challenge."

In an email to TPM, a Senate Democratic leadership aide called the idea "a total nonstarter. Boehner's office knows that, so even bringing it up is counterproductive."

President Obama and Democrats have previously agreed to relatively minor cuts to the law, such as a reduction in the size of the prevention and public health fund as part of the deal to extend the payroll tax cut through the end of this year.

Republicans are hopeful that a "fiscal cliff" agreement might include additional cuts to Obamacare, which a Senate Democratic aide told the Huffington Post is not necessarily out of the question as long as it does not change the shape of the law "in any meaningful way."