An ABC News panel on Sunday could not contain their laughter at a Republican congressman’s straight-faced assertion that his party would be doing President Barack Obama a “favor” if it was successful in delaying the ability of millions of Americans to receive healthcare through the Affordable Care Act.
ABC host George Stephanopolous told Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) that the president had indicated he was not willing to let Republicans hold the debt ceiling hostage in order to defund his health care reform law.
“We’re willing to compromise and part of that compromise means that when you want to borrow more money, your going to have to have some cuts in government,” Amash explained. “And that’s all Republicans are asking for. And we’re not talking about draconian cuts.”
“We’re talking about delaying Obamacare for a year, which is something the president has asked for with the employer mandate. So, let’s delay it for everyone.”
The Michigan Republican added: “I think we’re doing to president a favor if we delay it, the program is not ready to be implemented. If anything, the president should be asking us to delay it because because it’s better for him politically.”
That remark drew spontaneous laughter from President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist, Matthew Dowd, and the other panelists.
“I don’t thinks so,” Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MA) chuckled. “The fact is we’ve voted 41 times to defund Obamacare. I mean, maybe 42 is a charm. I mean, I think the president is right that we can’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. And we can’t be irresponsible in shutting down the government.”
Amash insisted that Congress could still pass major legislation like funding the government as long as it did not include funding Obamacare.
“You can’t start where the Democrats want us to start,” he opined. “You have to start with a Republican proposal. We have a Republican majority [in the House] that was elected by Republicans. Let’s start with a Republican proposal.”
Watch the video below from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Sept. 15, 2013.