President Obama pushed back hard Saturday against the most recent round of Republican efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act by threatening a possible government shutdown on October 1st.
"Some of them are actually willing to see the United States default on its obligations and plunge this country back into a painful recession if they can't deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans," Obama said of Republicans in a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus.
The president vowed that he would not compromise with Republicans seeking to defund Obamacare.
"We will not negotiate over whether or not America should keep its word and meet its obligations. We're not going to allow anyone to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people just to make an ideological point. And those folks are going to get some health care in this country—we've been waiting 50 years for it," he said.
The GOP needs to "stop governing by crisis and start focusing on what really matters," like jobs and curbing rampant gun violence, Obama said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also criticized her Republican colleagues for their insistence on continued budget cuts. "The cupboard is bare," she said on CNN Sunday. The push to tie a budget resolution essential for the government to function to defunding Obamacare amounts to "legislative arson" on the part of the House's most radical wing, she said.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has staked out a vocal and extreme position within the Republican party, confirmed to Fox News on Sunday that he would oppose any attempt to move the bill through the Senate, and that any support for Obamacare, even procedural, is a vote for " this train wreck that is Obamacare."
Cruz will need fellow Republicans to follow his lead, but his leadership style has alienated colleagues, prompting Fox News host Chris Wallace to point out, "Senator, I think it’s fair to say that you have ticked off a whole bunch of your fellow Republicans who feel that you’ve gotten them into this fight without an end game, without a strategy."
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri accused Cruz of making this stand to increase his chances in a future presidential bid and compared GOP leaders to angry toddlers. "I cannot believe that they are gonna throw a tantrum and throw the American people and our economic recovery under the bus," she said Sunday.
Obama made a brief phone call to House Speaker John Boehner late Friday night to let him know there would be no negotiations over the debt limit.