Shutdown Over, Pols Go Back to Warring Over Obamacare

Glitches in health care rollout provide ammo for GOP opponents of Obamacare

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President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on the initial rollout of the health care overhaul on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Washington.
President Barack Obama is taking the offensive in response to the GOP's criticism of the Affordable Care Act and its rollout issues.

President Obama and congressional Republicans have resumed their trench warfare over his health care law, and the clash promises to get more ferocious as the 2014 mid-term elections approach.

Obamacare took a back seat to the wrangling over the government shutdown and the potential federal default. But now that those issues have been temporarily settled, the opposing sides in Washington have resumed debating how well or how badly Obama's law is working.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, blasted the problem-plagued launch of the Affordable Care Act's enrollment website and said House investigations of the episode are just beginning. "With more than one trillion taxpayer dollars being spent on a completely defective program, Congress is going to get to the bottom of this debacle," Boehner said.

[READ: Obama Schmoozes the Media]

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., a senior Senate Republican, said, "Instead of continuing to pour money into this broken law, it's time to issue a permanent delay and work on solutions that provide real health care reform, rather than broken promises and error messages."

Obama's critics are expected to focus more intensely on the role of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the website's shaky rollout, and some want her to be fired.

President Obama is defending the law and taking the offensive against his GOP critics. While conceding difficulties with the website, he said the problems with Obamacare are "going to get fixed." He went on to say in his White House speech Monday that, "It's time for folks to stop rooting for its failure."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the government is "early in the process" and he expects the situation to improve soon.

But in a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal, Jim DeMint, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation and a former Republican senator, said, "Obamacare will now be the issue for the next few years."

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for, and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at and followed on Facebook and Twitter.

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