Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Sunday defended a budget deal to avert a government shutdown, saying that it would allow the Republican Party to “focus” on destroying President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.
In an interview on Meet the Press, NBC host David Gregory asked Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who were responsible for negotiating the budget deal, how the Affordable Care Act could survive if half the country thought it was a bad idea.
Murray pointed out that a lot of lawmakers were “rooting for the failure of Obamacare,” but she suggested that public opinion would change as more people saw benefits from the law.
“No one wants to go back to the point of having our insurance companies decide whether or not we get health care,’ she explained. “I’m rooting for us to be able to make this work.”
But Ryan said that Republicans had made the budget deal with eye toward undermining the president’s health care reform.
“I think we have to replace this law,” he insisted. “I believe we can have a system in this country where everybody has access to affordable health care, including people with preexisting conditions, without it costing a government takeover with more freedom.”
“We like the fact, for the economy, no shutdowns,” he said. “We also don’t want to have shutdown drama so we can focus on replacing Obamacare, so we can focus on showing better ideas than what this is coming.”
“Because we don’t think people like this law, we don’t think it’s going to get anymore popular,” Ryan added. “So each of us gets something out of this agreement that we think is good.”
While the country may have avoided a government shutdown, Ryan told Fox News on Sunday that Republicans were gearing up for a fight on the debt ceiling that could again put the nation’s credit at risk.
“We as a caucus — along with our Senate counterparts — are going to meet and discuss what it is we’re going to want out of the debt limit,” Ryan remarked. “We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we’re going to accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”
Watch this video from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Dec. 15, 2013.
(h/t: Think Progress)