POLITICS: PennAve

Bill Clinton: GOP 'begging for America to fail' over Obamacare

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Obamacare,Republican Party,ABC,Bill Clinton,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Sean Lengell

Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday accused Capitol Hill Republicans of "begging for America to fail" over their repeated attempts to defund or delay President Obama's health care law.

But Clinton added he's confident the Affordable Health Care is here to stay, saying he can't envision a scenario in which it would fail.

"I've never seen a time -- can you remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was just sitting around, begging for America to fail?" Clinton said on ABC's "This Week." "I don't know what's going to happen, but I'll be shocked if it fails."

National polls repeatedly have shown that most Americans oppose "Obamacare." But Clinton, who failed to secure congressional approval in the early 1990s for his own health care overhaul, said he is optimistic the public eventually will warm up to the president's reforms.

"I just think that when all these dire predictions don’t come out, if they don’t — I believe that pretty soon, within the next several years, this’ll be like Medicare and Medicaid," he said. "And it’ll be a normal part of our life. And people will be glad it’s there."

Clinton also defended Obama and Senate Democrats for refusing to bargain with Republican over raising the federal government's debt limit, saying "there's nothing to negotiate."

The federal government is expected to hit its self-imposed borrowing limit of $16.7 trillion on Oct. 17, and House Republican leaders want any increase in the debt ceiling to be offset with spending cuts elsewhere. Failure to raise the ceiling would force the nation to default on its financial obligations, which experts say could trigger a global recession, or worse.

House GOP leaders also have suggested they'll demand a delay or defunding of Obamacare, as well as a host of other GOP priorities, as a condition for passing legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

But Clinton said that since Republicans voted to spend money, they have an obligation to ensure the government pays its debts.

"If I were the president, I wouldn't negotiate over these draconian cuts" proposed by Republicans, he said.

"This is the House Republicans and the Tea Party people saying, 'We don't want to negotiate with the Democrats. We want to dictate over the Senate, over the House Democrats, over the speaker of the House of our own party and over the president. We insist on dictating the course of the country.'"

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