Wednesday showed that congressional Republicans have erased a 9-point deficit in six weeks in a generic congressional ballot question, and are running even with Democrats. One of the main developments in the past six weeks was the rollout of Obamacare on Oct. 1.
Some Democrats say they were emboldened by former President Bill Clinton’s call Tuesday for Mr. Obama to make good on his “you can keep-your plan” promise even if it required legislative changes to the health care law.
Among the lawmakers who challenged administration officials in the private meeting, Democrats said, were Rep. Michael F. Doyle, Pennsylvania Democrat, and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, a close ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a fellow California Democrat. Administration officials taking the brunt of criticism were David Simas, deputy senior adviser to the president, and Mike Hash, director of the Health and Human Services Department’s office of health care reform.
The most urgent political challenge for House Democrats is scheduled for Friday, when they will have to vote on a plan by Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, that allows people to keep health care policies they like. Several lawmakers warned the administration officials that the White House must offer them a way out of the predicament before that vote.
Mr. Carney said the Upton bill isn’t acceptable because it would “allow insurers to sell new plans that were substandard, that did not meet the minimum benefit standard of the Affordable Care Act, and thereby potentially undermine … the central promise of the Affordable Care Act.”
Senate Democrats are scheduled to meet Thursday at the White House to urge the administration to come up with a solution.
Asked about the Quinnipiac poll’s findings that a majority of Americans for the first time find Mr. Obama untrustworthy, Mr. Carney said Washington as a whole is suffering from the fallout of the government shutdown and other failures.
“There is no question that the dysfunction in Washington that the American people have seen is taking its toll on everyone,” Mr. Carney said. “And while the president’s ratings are low for him, they’re sky high in comparison with Congress, and in particular Republicans in Congress. That’s not satisfactory to us, only because it reflects a feeling among the American people that this place is not working for them.”