WASHINGTON -- Obamacare is now the law of the land, and has been since President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on March 23, 2010. But if you listen to Republicans, it's still just a bill, sitting on Capitol Hill.
"The American people don't want the president's health care bill," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week.
"The will of the people, I think, is to delay this bill until we can fix things that we all agree are a problem," said Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) in a recent C-SPAN interview.
"And so my plea to this body is that we listen to the American people, because if we listen to our constituents, the answer is, defund this bill that isn't working, that's hurting the American people," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) during his 21-hour speech last week on the Senate floor.
Watch a compilation of Republicans calling Obamacare a "bill" above.
Whether Republicans want to admit it to themselves, Obamacare is law. After all, if it were still a bill, there would be no need to defund it, since it wouldn't yet have any funding anyway.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recently took to the Senate floor and reminded his GOP colleagues that the law passed after lengthy debate. McCain said "the people spoke" on the matter when they reelected Obama in 2012 and rejected GOP candidate Mitt Romney -- whose main selling point was that he would repeal the health care law.
"We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost," McCain said. "One of the reasons was because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation."
He added that Republicans were right to continue to press for changes to Obamacare, but said they should not force change as a trade-off for keeping the federal government running.
"The Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land for four years. Democrats are willing to work with reasonable Republicans to improve this law. But we will not bow to tea party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week.
Obama underscored this point in a Monday afternoon press conference as well.
"An important part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect tomorrow, no matter what Congress decides to do today," said Obama. "The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can't shut it down. This is a law that passed both houses of Congress, a law that bears my signature, a law that the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional, a law that voters chose not to repeal last November, a law that is already providing benefits to millions of Americans."
Calling Obamacare a "bill" doesn't appear to be a consistent or coordinated messaging strategy by Republicans, and a few Democrats have been caught slipping up as well.
But Dean Clancy, vice president of public policy at the conservative group FreedomWorks, told the Hill that he likes to refer to it as a "bill" to "emphasize that the law remains quasi-illegitimate, because it has never [been] accepted by one of the two major parties."
This story was updated with a statement from Obama's press conference.
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