House GOP Eyes Debt-Ceiling Fight Prize

Republicans leaning toward repeal of an Obamacare provision as their price, instead of the Keystone XL Pipeline

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Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger says he could support his leadership in seeking approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline or repeal of an obscure Obamacare provision as price for raising the debt ceiling

With some House Republicans spoiling for another fight over lifting the country’s borrowing limit, leadership is eyeing a repeal of an obscure provision in the new health law over approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as its price for cooperation.

That wish list, described to TIME by a House GOP leadership aide, represents a marker being laid down as the Obama Administration says the debt ceiling must be raised by the end of February, and as Democrats warn Republicans not to play a game of chicken with the nation’s credit rating again. The path toward approval of the controversial pipeline was cleared a bit last week by a State Department report that found minimal environmental impact in building the pipeline. So Republicans are leaning toward seeking a repeal of so-called risk corridors in the health-reform law instead. The risk corridors reimburse insurers buffeted by fewer healthy people signing up than they had originally expected, acting as a cost buffer during the experimental early years of health care reform.

The leadership aide described repealing the risk corridors as Republicans’ more likely target. Many Republicans are calling the program a government bailout of insurance companies, including Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana, who chairs a coalition of House conservatives. “I think it would be a real tough position to sell to say that when we’re running out of money, when we’re maxing out our credit card, we should also be borrowing money from China to bail out insurance companies,” Scalise told TIME last month.

(MORE: Republicans Offer Little Clarity on Debt-Ceiling Strategy)

Under the risk corridors, the Department of Health and Human Services would pay insurers to offset risk pools that are too heavy on older, sicker Americans — unless a surprisingly high number of healthy people sign up. The program will only run through 2016, according to the American Academy of Actuaries, because “as more data becomes available on the health spending patterns of the newly insured, the ability to set premiums accurately should improve, thereby reducing the need for risk corridors.”

Representatives Pat Tiberi, Republican of Ohio, and Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, told TIME on Tuesday that they could support the leadership’s strategy on either the risk corridors or the pipeline. But the State Department report easing the way for Keystone might make it less likely that Republicans use the pipeline as a bargaining chip. “Keystone ought to be approved on its own merits; it doesn’t need to be tied to the debt ceiling,” Scalise told the Washington Post.

Whatever the Republican demand is, Kinzinger said it would have to be “a reasonable opening position” that could bring over some Democrats — a tall order considering that Democrats have been almost entirely unified in insisting that they will only raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached.

“Last thing you want to do is ask for the moon again and then have a divided government,” Kinzinger said.

(MORE: GOP, Dems Set to Collide in ‘High-Risk Corridor’)

House Speaker John Boehner has the weaker hand, having already said he won’t force a cataclysmic debt default, so any possible ask will be extremely difficult to deliver. Some Republicans, still smarting from the blame their party took over last year’s government shutdown, want to hold their fire this time. “We should bring up a clean debt ceiling, let the Democrats pass it, and just move on,” Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho, told the Post.

But there are still conservative firebrands in the caucus that want to push for more. “There are some of us that think the President shouldn’t get any more money until he can explain the issues around Benghazi,” Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, told TIME, referring to the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Libya that has become cause célèbre for conservatives.

The federal government will reach its borrowing limit on Friday, but the Treasury Department can use extraordinary accounting measures to delay the need for a debt-ceiling increase until the end of the month.

MORE: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Warns Time Is Running Out to Lift Debt Ceiling

27 comments
libertarian4freedom
libertarian4freedom

the Leftist GOP

continues to be the party of the 

.

'Yes you can obama' Party

seeing how boehner and other leftist GOP have no backbone to stand up against lobbyist and the left.

d_may
d_may

the CBO "is projecting that the federal government will take in $16 billion from health plans that are essentially making a profit on the exchange -- and will redistribute $8 billion to other insurers running a loss. That means $8 billion in net savings for the federal government...

Here, you insurance companies take 8 billion and we the government will take 8 billion of taxpayers money.  Still wondering why the insurance companies wrote and supported the health care act.  Something is not right with this picture.

MrObvious
MrObvious

These guys are brilliant in how they manage to beat any chance to regain power with whatever dead horse they drag around.

But do try. Third time is a charm?

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

Guess what GOP: there is no prize. There will be no addition to the raising of the debt ceiling. All you will accomplish will be to lower your own abysmal approval ratings.

CONSTANTWEADER
CONSTANTWEADER

Your report would have been a lot closer to meaningful if you'd included something along the lines of this:


The risk corridors program, rather than being a bail-out program as Scalise claims, is a money-maker for the government. As Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/02/04/the-good-bad-and-ugly-of-cbos-new-obamacare-projections/"> reported yesterday re: the risk corridors provision, the CBO "is projecting that the federal government will take in $16 billion from health plans that are essentially making a profit on the exchange -- and will redistribute $8 billion to other insurers running a loss. That means $8 billion in net savings for the federal government.... This is a pretty significant obstacle for Republican efforts to repeal the risk corridors."

The Constant Weader at http://www.RealityChex.com


DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

The Republicans don't seem to be able to help themselves, and keep rescuing Obama from his missteps with their overwhelming nihilistic stupidity.


One wants to ask them: "what, what, what are you doing …?"


Well, the Republicans didn't learn, obviously, from the first episode in the fall, when they blundered into a public relations disaster.  


Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is that you keep doing the same thing and expect the result to be different.


QED

TomPiper
TomPiper

I'm running out of popcorn with these guys.

First rule of poker - don't show your hand before the betting begins.

Second rule of poker - if you're beaten face up, you're beaten on the ass end, so fold.

bobcn
bobcn

The gopers pass a budget and then less than a month later they think they don't have to pay for it ???  

Do these morons actually believe that anyone respects this kind of behavior?

fitty_three
fitty_three

You know, this is the day after Groundhog Day - and the GOP "plan" presented here is a perfect way to celebrate!


Go GOP! Rah Rah Rah!

barneydidit
barneydidit

Rick Corridors?  Yes...absolutely, we HAVE to get rid of those risk corridors....we're borrowing money from China to pay for those dang risk corridors. We need to go with the Republican alternative to risk corridors...uhm...what was that again...oh yeah, Obamacare, but without the mandate...and optional.

lostintaxes
lostintaxes

EITHER WAY, IF DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS PASS SOME FORM OF AMNESTY, AMERICAN WORKERS—LOSE--BIG?

Do you recognize the face of our nation anymore? People are broken. Millions are living in poverty, without healthcare and jobs. We're being spied on, targeted by agencies like the IRS and NSA who abuse their power, and being forced to comply with an unconstitutional health care law. As the government grows it is creating greater government dependency. Our military is being systematically weakened as our enemies are being animated. THIS is Obama's America, not ours. Stand up and fight! Nor can we blame just the Democrats, as the RNC (GOP) Establishment must also carry the blame for the corruption rife in Washington. The ardent promise in 1986 amnesty of enforcing the borders, prosecuting the employer wrongdoers, and just enforcing the Rule of Law have been jettisoned by both political incompetent parties. Congress has made illegal entry just a misdemeanor, when it should be a FELONY. And now judgment is at hand as the American people who are rising up verbally to combat this plague that has been eating up federal and state revenues for decades.

outsider
outsider

Gee, moving the goalposts again. And who cares about whether it's a good idea or not - as long as the GOP gets a political victory. 


This people, is what you get when you elect clowns to congress. 


Instead of actually looking to have the US pay it's already incurred debts, the GOP is going to gamble again (in theory) with the credit rating of the US. 


Simply to score political points. 


You get what you deserve, i suppose.

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

This is a stunning repeat of the Republicans' winning strategy from last fall.  Yup, nothing succeeds like success, and the GOP has certainly hit on a winning formula: just threaten to screw up the whole world unless Obamacare is repealed.


It bears noting that the Republicans, other than their "sky is falling" rhetoric, haven't said what they'd replace Obamacare with.  In fact, they haven't offered any real convincing facts to support their antipathy towards the program ... besides, of course, that it's the signature program of the man who humiliated them twice.


The GOP has become a party that simply purveys fear.  The party feeds on the terror that their constituents feel for a future that they don't understand and that they see as different from the past with fantasies of which they are so comfortable.  They don't want the future to come.  They want time to stop.


And the Republican party offers them that comforting option: vote for us, we'll get the black man out of the White House and we'll put you all back where you belong, in an episode of "Ozzie and Harriet".  We'll keep the foreigners out of the country.  We'll keep America strong.  We'll keep America white.  We'll stop those scientists and educators who are spreading seditious rhetoric about evolution and an expanding universe and the Earth being 4+ billion years old.  We'll stop those evil atheists from teaching your children all this anti-Biblical heresy.  We'll put guns in all of your hands to defend yourselves against the hordes of immigrant criminals who are flooding the country.  (Never mind that the crime rate is at its lowest in over 40 years.)


The GOP has become the party of fear-mongering.  They are trying to cater to the basest instincts of the fringes of the American population and exploit the fears of the American people in order to regain power.


They sell the fear of foreigners and the fear of the future, and purvey the remedy: they'll just build a huge fence around the country, prevent all those pesky minorities and poor people from voting and return America to Americans.  They'll stop time from going forward and transport us all back to their fantasy of the 1950s.


That's what the Republican party is all about: fear.

jsfox
jsfox

Why are Republicans so bad at math? So they want to get rid of a prom that brings in $16 billion and pays out $8 billion' thus netting the government $8 billion. And these people have the nerve to call themselves the fiscally responsible party. What a joke!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Don't these people ever learn? You approved the spending now pay the actual bills.

aztecian
aztecian

@bobcn it is crazy how these nazis get away with this.  this is treason.  the obstructionist need to get voted out of office now!

tom.litton
tom.litton

@mary.waterton If you had the public support to make that happen, then you would also have the votes in congress to make it happen.


You still have a chance next year, and another every 2 years after that.  Why blow up the entire economy, unless you know you can't win at the ballot box?  I say either give up or move out (of the country).

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@mary.waterton That isn't what the report says. It says 2.5 Million may choose to work less, which reduces the amount of people competing for jobs and helps raise wages for the rest. Better lies please.

JustinEiler
JustinEiler

@lostintaxes It would help if you were replying to the article, instead of posting completely and totally off-topic.

It would probably help even more if your post had something to do with reality ... but one step at a time.

bobcn
bobcn

@outsider  

"You get what you deserve, i suppose. "

Nope.  I deserve better than these morons.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@outsider  

I want these guys to go for it.  Obama already said:

"Here's the deal: Nothing".

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@outsider

What do you expect. Just look at the people the Tea Party has brought to Washington

1) a pro- life congressman from Tennessee who forced his mistress to get an abortion 

2) a coke head in Florida who had to resign when he couldn't complete rehab

3) and one from Staten Island that just threatened to throw a reporter from a balcony.

And that just the tip of the iceberg.

outsider
outsider

@bobcn @outsider 

But you gotta elect better people than these morons. Not you specifically of course - but in general.