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Obamacare and the GOP’s Negotiation Crisis

Should Congressional Republicans (1) fight to completely defund Obamacare, putting the brakes not only on its immediate implementation but also on any efforts to plan for its future implementation, (2) fight to delay implementation of the individual mandate and/or other provisions (following the Administration’s lead in delaying the employer mandate, or (3) leave the issue alone and focus on other elements of the budget? What tactics should the GOP use: should it hold up the next continuing resolution, creating the threat of a government shutdown? Tie it to the next debt ceiling fight?

I have tried, with mixed success, to steer clear of this inside-baseball tactical debate, which has generated an outsized amount of acrimony within the Beltway GOP and the conservative movement alike. The pro-defund caucus has been accused, not without reason but with a lot of unfair ad hominems, of being unrealistic in its expectations and misleading the grassroots into a losing battle. The anti-defund caucus, formally aligned mostly behind the “delay” solution, has been accused, not without reason but with a lot of unfair ad hominems, of being spineless, afraid of its own shadow, and in some cases actively scheming to keep Obamacare alive.

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