All-Star Panel: ObamaCare and the continuing resolution debate

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R – OH, HOUSE SPEAKER: There are a lot of discussions going on about how to deal with the CR and the issue of ObamaCare. So we are continuing to work with our members. I'm well aware of the deadlines and so are my colleagues. We are working with our colleagues to work our way through these issues. I think there is a way to get there.

HARRY REID, D – NV, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: As we all know, the speaker has a problem, how to get the government funded. All of these things they are trying to do on the ObamaCare is just a waste of their time.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, the CR is the continuing resolution. They need that in order to fund the government. It ends, essentially the funding for the government, September 30th. And that's the back and forth. Conservatives want to defund ObamaCare, and that has been the problem for House Speaker Boehner trying to get something across the finish line. We are back with our panel. John, it looks like that this is going to head up to this deadline. It really looks like it is going to push.

JOHN HILSENRATH, WALL STREET JOURNAL: It certainly does. And then right after that within a few weeks there is a debt ceiling debate. But Boehner is in a pickle here because he's basically -- there is going to be a fight. And he's got to choose whether he's going to have a fight with Obama or a fight within his own party.

He sees going over the continuing resolution deadline as a political loser. If you shut down the government, the Republicans get blamed for that. He is not going to get anywhere -- as Reid said, he is not going to get anywhere trying to defund ObamaCare. So trying to line up all of these disagreements is a very tricky thing for him to do.

BAIER: The conservative line is that ObamaCare is such a detriment to the economy, and they were elected, Juan, to fight this fight. So why not fight it?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: They fought it. They fought it, and if you want to just be blunt about it, they lost. But they continue to fight it. It's like a fight that is over. They voted, I think, 40 plus times. They have three more coming. They want to now challenge the budget on this and threaten the U.S. credit ratings and the rest.

BAIER: Well, how they phrase it is that they would put forward a continuing resolution and it would not have the funding for ObamaCare but it would fund the rest of the government and then throw it to the Democratic Senate and the president which --

WILLIAMS: That's fine. The way Speaker Boehner has done it is here it is. If it's a nonbinding deal so the Democrats are forced to vote on it. So if you are simply appealing to your base and saying to your base, you know, these dastardly Democrats, they like ObamaCare. Aren't they terrible people? You will have another opportunity to demonstrate that to be the case.

But to go beyond that then raises the question -- Majority Leader Reid called it anarchy, but I would think what is the responsibility of people who are elected leaders? You say they are elected to fight this fight, but they are also elected to lead our government.

BAIER: Charles, is there a way out? There are a number of proposals to delay ObamaCare for a year, for example, to compromise, as the president has delayed the mandate for businesses, delay the individual mandate for a year and satisfy some of these conservatives who are pushing for defunding ObamaCare?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It is not going to happen. If there was any impetus for it to happen it would come from the unions, who are intensely unhappy about the fact that employers have gotten a postponement for a year and workers are really getting screwed on this. They are going to lose their benefits.  The unions are going to lose members because they are going to dissipate the advantage of being in a union. They are very unhappy. But it is not going to come from a relatively small number of conservative Republicans in the House. You cannot govern from one part of one half of the Congress. The law passed. Yes, they were elected to go and defeat ObamaCare, but they are two years late.

BAIER: So what's the out?

KRAUTHAMMER: The only out is for these people to realize that they are in a suicide caucus. The way to win this thing is to let it go into effect, which it will because Obama controls the veto. Let it fall apart on its own as it is. Let all of the contradictions be exposed, let the unions and Democrats oppose it, win the election next year, and then attack it and that might work.

HILSENRATH: I will suggest another out. I find it surprising they are choosing to go after ObamaCare and not spending, government spending and entitlements, and maybe that's where this goes. Is that if Republicans want to extract something out of the CR debate and the debt limit debate, why not go after getting some more spending cuts out of Obama, preferably from an economic point of view over the long run and not the next 12 months. But that could get them something.

BAIER: Quickly, John, on the economy, this battle back and forth as we push into another series of deadlines, this and the debt ceiling, what does that do for the economy overall?

HILSENRATH: The economy is lumbering along and I think it continues to lumber along. What's interesting to me, while all of this is going on with Syria, with these deadlines coming up is the stock market is well over 15,000 and it's just -- it's barreling along. So right now it looks like investors aren't freaking out as they did in 2011, but there isn't anything that is going to get the economy off to a faster track.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for some reaction to Apple's newest product.

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