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Is Speaker Boehner backing off Obamacare demands? (+video)

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(Read caption) Paul Ryan calls for 'common ground' in shutdown
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Is the House Republican leadership backing away from its demand that big changes to Obamacare are the price of reopening the government and raising the nation’s debt ceiling?

That’s what some tea party conservatives are beginning to suspect. They’ve noticed rhetoric from House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and his allies has changed a bit in recent days. It’s focusing on the word “conversation” – as in, what the GOP wants is for President Obama to give in and talk to them. The GOP leadership is talking more about the general prospect of tax reform and budget restraint, as opposed to the Affordable Care Act in particular.

Now, a new op-ed from House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin is irritating some on the right due to what they believe is its apostasy. The piece repeats the request for negotiation and talks about the prospect for bipartisan entitlement reform. It does mention the need for a “complete rethinking of government’s approach to health care,” but only as a vague future goal.

“But right now, we need to find common ground. We need to open the federal government. We need to pay our bills today – and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow. So let’s negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code,” writes Representative Ryan.

“Obamacare” does not appear in the piece. It contains no direct reference to the president’s signature health law or the law’s current implementation problems. And that has not gone unnoticed among those for whom Obamacare is the central issue of the current crisis.

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