Shutdown Negotiations: Is Obamacare Even On The Table Anymore?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

As President Barack Obama is meeting with 18 top House Republicans today, it appears the shutdown might finally being reaching its conclusion, but is Obamacare even on the table any longer?

Many of the GOP’s leaders don’t appear to be concerned with negotiating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"There is a developing consensus that this is a lot bigger than an ObamaCare discussion," said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., wrote op-eds calling for negotiations published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal and this Washington Post. Neither put Obamacare at the forefront of those negotiations.

"I’d like to get rid of Obamacare, no question about that, but I think that effort has failed ... We’re going to have to take it on in other ways,” said Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah.

“We took an unpopular law and chose a more unpopular tactic to deal with the law,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “Why don’t we focus on entitlement reform, Tax Code reform, regarding the debt ceiling and continue to fight on Obamacare [separately], because there’s not a consensus there?”

"This is where we've been wanting to go all year long," Ryan told Roll Call. "We've always known the debt limit is the way to get a budget agreement."

Ryan said spending is the key concern, but the GOP is totally finished with Obamacare.

"We're bringing that to the table, too,” he added.

Jenny Beth Martin, the national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, released a statement Wednesday that the group is unhappy with Ryan’s stance.

“We must remember the reason we are fighting and remain united in our opposition to Obamacare,” Martin wrote.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a private Senate meeting said he would be agreeable to a plan from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine that would repeal Obamacare’s medical device tax but nothing else related to the health care law.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise, La., said unless some aspects of Obamacare are addressed it will not win the committee’s support. But he admitted the committee is more focused on “Washington’s spending problem.”

The Republican approval rating is now at a record low 28 percent, according to a Gallup poll.

Sources: Newser, Politico