How Should GOP Address Obamacare, Shutdown? Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio Differ
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Two Republicans from Florida who are both possible presidential candidates in 2016 offered different takes on what direction the GOP should go after the recent deal ending the federal shutdown and raising the debt ceiling.
Both former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took to the national airwaves on Sunday morning to weigh in on how Republicans should respond to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.
“It was a mistake to focus on something that couldn’t be achieved,” Bush told ABC News. “And that’s what that was. It was tactics.”
Bush also slammed Republicans for failing to provide an “alternative” to Obama’s health care law.
“I think the best way to repeal Obamacare is to have an alternative; we never hear the alternative," Bush said. “We could do this in a much lower cost with improved quality based on our principles, free-market principles.”
Bush called for Republicans in Congress like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who are pushing to repeal the law, to show a “little bit of self-restraint.” Bush added there could be political dividends if Republicans do that, insisting the law will lead to “massive dysfunction.”
While Bush warned about the global economic consequences of not raising the debt ceiling, the former Florida governor insisted he was not taking aim at his fellow Republicans.
“I’m not blaming Republicans,” Bush said, "I think we have a systemic problem in Washington right now and the void of leadership is making it harder to get to a better place.”
Bush called for more “civility” and “dialogue” to find a “common ground” in Washington.
Rubio appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and continued to push the idea of defunding Obama’s health care law.
“I didn’t want to see us waste any more money on Obamacare, which has proven to be a disaster,” Rubio said. “We’re already seeing these exchanges, the sign-up on the exchanges, which was supposed to be the easy part of this endeavor, has turned into a fiasco that the administration is struggling with. Why would we waste a penny more on that?"
Rubio insisted there remained major implications as the fight over the health care law continues.
“I think what is important to remember here, is what’s at stake,” Rubio said. “The American dream is under assault. People every single day who are stuck in jobs that don’t pay enough to live off of or people that haven’t been able to find a job in months. And this growing sense in this country that this is the new normal. We can’t accept that. This can’t be the new normal. We can restore what was the American dream, but we can’t if we leave all of these issues unaddressed.”
Rubio also ripped the launch of the federal health-care website.
“You know, they need to get 7 million people on this thing,” Rubio said. “At the rate they’re going, even by their own numbers, it’s not going to get there. Of course, many of these people that have filled this out certainly made mistakes, some won’t qualify. Beyond that, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of getting people on there, and there is no mechanism for them to be able to do that.
“In the 21st century, setting up a website where people can go on and buy something is not that complicated,” Rubio added. “People do this every single day. The inability of the federal government to set up a website where people can go on and buy something like health insurance does not bode well for the much more complicated elements of this law that are yet to be rolled out.”
Rubio continued that line of attack on Monday, warning consumers about the continued problems with the website.
"It is clear the Obamacare roll-out has been a disaster that has further eroded the American people's confidence in the federal government's ability to keep basic promises,” Rubio said on Monday. “With all the problems and errors with the Obamacare website, people should collect as much evidence as they can from their experiences in order to protect themselves from potential fraud, double billing, and penalties once the mandate is enforced. While the errors with the website have been well-documented in the media, it's important that every consumer who is unable to register keep a record of the specific errors they encounter on the website because of the threat of potential government fines for failing to enroll in the future. Make no mistake, the IRS will go after anyone who fails to meet the Obamacare requirements, so it's important that consumers document the online problems."
During Bush’s time in Tallahassee, Rubio was an ally of his in the Florida House. Bush was an early backer of Rubio’s U.S. Senate bid back in 2010.
As the two Republicans possibly look to running for president in 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) started running robocalls against Rubio on Monday.
“Senator Rubio was an architect of the strategy that shut down our government and took us to the brink of economic collapse,” the narrator of the call says. “Marco Rubio's shutdown cost our economy $24 billion and his refusal to pay our nation’s bills risked raising mortgage rates, crashing the stock market and even put Social Security payments at risk. And now Rubio is signaling that he’s willing to do it all again in a few months ... tell him please stop. Stop his dangerous actions right now.”
Rubio defended his role in the debate over the shutdown and the debt ceiling on Sunday.
“I never was in favor of shutting down the government,” Rubio said. “I was never in favor of defunding the government. I was in favor of funding the government fully, voted to fund the government fully, made efforts to fund the government fully. The only thing I didn’t want to see us waste any more money on is Obamacare.”
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