This post has been updated.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), or “the joint speaker of the House” as Harry Reid calls him, argued Friday that Republicans have already offered Democrats a concession in their stand against reopening the government by demanding not a full repeal of Obamacare, but merely the defunding of President Barack Obama signature health law.
“The House of Representatives has repeatedly compromised already,” said Cruz, who already who spoke against funding the law on the Senate floor for 21 hours earlier this month. “The House began — it is the view of every Republican in this body, and indeed every Republican in the House, that Obamacare should be entirely and completely repealed. Nonetheless, the House started with a compromise of saying not repealing Obamacare but simply that it should be defunded.”
The White House and Democrats have so far moved in lockstep by refusing to negotiate with Republicans on any bill to fund the government or raise the debt limit that also includes language defunding Obamacare. House Republicans have offered to enter conference committee negotiations, but Democrats say any negotiation must come after the government is funded.
“Shutting down the government and threatening to not pay our nation’s bills when you don’t get everything you want isn’t ‘compromise’- it’s extortion,” said Michael Czin, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Thursday that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) expressed his support privately last month for a “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government, a measure without any language affecting Obamacare, but that Boehner couldn’t stand up to the conservative wing of his party.
“That was my concession to get this done cleanly,” Reid said of the “clean” CR, which includes automatic budget cuts known as sequestration that was signed into law earlier this year.
Watch video of Cruz below: