Boehner Digs In on Obamacare Elements

By Susan Jones | October 15, 2013 | 11:11 AM EDT

( - House Republicans stressed "fairness for all" at a brief Tuesday morning news conference, saying they want to "find a way forward in a bipartisan way." That means they will not wait for a Senate deal-in-the-making, but will pass their own proposal to end the current impasse on government funding and the debt limit.

"There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go. There have been no decisions about exactly what we will do," House Speaker John Boehner said. "But we're going to continue to work with our members on both sides of the aisle to try to make sure that there's no issue of default and to get our government reopened."

Boehner did not unveil the Republican legislation, but press reports said the House bill would delay the tax on medical devices and scrap Obamacare subsidies for Congressional staffers in exchange for short-term government funding and an extension of the debt limit.

The Senate deal -- which also has not been unveiled, either -- reportedly does not include those two elements, and that raises the likelihood of another impasse.

"This bill that  they're sending over here is doomed to failure," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said after Boehner spoke, "and it is so awful, awful, awful for our country."

House Minority Leader Eric Cantor, appearing with Boehner, noted that Republicans have been saying the same thing all along: Democrats should negotiate with Republicans; and no one should get special treatment under Obamacare:

"And we've been saying since day one that there should be no special treatment under the law and there should be fairness for all Americans, those elected and those unelected. And I'm glad to see that Harry Reid in the Senate finally has begun to sit down and talk with the Republican leader there. We encourage that."

Cantor said that any legislation passed by the House "will reflect our position of fairness" and "no special treatment for anybody under the law."

House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy added that neither "big business" nor members of Congress should have special treatment under Obamacare.

Soon after Boehner spoke, House Democrats pounced, accusing Republicans of sabotage, obstruction, and undercutting the Senate deal before it was even announced. President Obama summoned House Democrats to the White House on Tuesday afternoon.