Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher grilled White House Press Sec. Jay Carney on Tuesday over the status of negotiations between Congressional Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House on a plan to raise the debt ceiling and reopen government.
Christopher began by asking Carney about a House Republican plan that would increase the nation’s borrowing limit and reopen government in exchange for changes to the Affordable Care Act, including a delay of the medical device tax.
“When I had a heart attack a few years ago, I was uninsured and I haven’t been able to get insurance ever since then,” Christopher began his first question. “Listening to all the pressure on the president to negotiate, some of it coming from inside this room, made me think: Is there a chance the president would be willing to delay Obamacare for a year if Republicans would agree to delay heart attacks for a year?”
Carney replied that the White House believes that the ACA needs to be fully implemented. Christopher noted that he has been able to access the health care exchanges online.
“I was talking to my mom this morning,” Christopher continued, “and she asked me to ask you to please open the government back up again.”
“She’s really worried about her social security check,” he added. Christopher asked if former Obama advisor Steve Rattner was correct when he warned that October 23 was a “drop-dead date” at which point Social Security recipients may be negatively impacted by a post-default scenario.
Carney replied that default could potentially imperil “the obligations that the Congress has made and we have made to America’s seniors.”
“It crystallizes the fact that there are real people who depend on some basic things,” Carney said.
Finally, Christopher asked about a plan floated during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis in which the Congress would effectively surrender its authority to raise the nation’s borrowing limit because a debt ceiling raise would require a two-thirds vote in order to pass. He asked if a similar plan was being discussed in relation to the present crisis.
Carney referred Christopher to the Congress, but said that the president currently does not have the authority to raise the debt ceiling.
Watch the clip below via C-SPAN:
[Photo via screen grab ]
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