Barack Obama has denounced Republican moves to potentially use the threat of a disastrous debt default by the American government to delay funding for his signature health reforms as “crazy”, saying he would “not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America”.
The President spoke out in a fiery speech at a community college just outside the Washington beltway as Republican leaders in Congress said they would attempt to seek a one-year delay in the full implementation of the new national healthcare law known as “Obamacare” in return for raising the debt limit by enough to let Treasury borrow through the end of 2014.
A failure to raise the debt limit would mean that the US government is unable to borrow money from the markets to fund existing spending commitments. Such a move would trigger a debt default by the US, a potentially devastating outcome for a still fragile world economy.
“The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Mr Obama said during a speech at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. “All this would be funny if it wasn’t so crazy.
“The Tea Party Republicans have taken it to a whole new level because they’re threatening to shut down the government or shut down the entire economy… unless I agree to gut a law that will help millions of people.
“The Republican Party has just spun itself up around this issue... and the fact is the Republicans’ biggest fear at this point is not that Affordable Care Act will fail. What they’re worried about is it’s going to succeed.”
He went on to chide the Republicans for some of the more hyperbolic attacks on his reforms, which have become known as Obamacare, to extend health insurance to millions of Americans currently without coverage.
He quoted the claim by a New Hampshire Republican state representative earlier in the summer that health law was “a law as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850”.
“Think about that,” Mr Obama said. “Affordable Health Care is worse than a law that lets slave owners get their runaway slaves back.
“I mean, these are quotes. I’m not making this stuff up.”
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