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March 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM
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Ryan: Obamacare will collapse under weight

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Sunday the House isn't wasting its time budgeting for a repeal of Obamacare because it will "collapse under its own weight."

The House unveiled its budget last week calling for a repeal of Obamacare as a means of balancing the budget.

"We believe that young people, seniors, families, businesses are in for a very rude awakening as Obamacare is rolled out," Ryan said in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation." "It still has nearly two years to go before it's fully implemented and we're showing that there's a better way of going and this is a better plan to balance the budget."

When asked by "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer if including the repeal in the House budget was a waste of time since there would not be enough votes to do so, Ryan said no.

"I really believe it's going to destroy the healthcare plan, the healthcare system in America. We believe the law will collapse under its own weight and that people will be eager for alternatives, as the gory details unfold in the future with its implementation," Ryan said.

GOP says Obama must lead on Medicare

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- A Senate Republican Sunday said President Obama must break the news to the U.S. public that Medicare will have to be scaled back to save it.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Sunday the public needs to know Medicare is running a serious deficit, and Obama needs to take to the presidential pulpit to tell them those days are over.

"We will know when the president is serious by virtue of a process that's set up where he is actually at the table ... and whether he begins to say publicly to the American people that he understands that Americans are only paying 1/3 of the costs of Medicare, and that has to change for the program to be here down the road," Corker said on "Fox News Sunday."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the White House was agreeable to entitlement reform, but not to the major meat-ax surgery degree he said many Republicans wanted to see.

"That's what the president is trying to set that -- both sides sitting down on a bipartisan basis," Durbin said. "Not eliminating Medicare -- as I'm afraid the [Rep.] Paul Ryan [R-Wis.] budget would do -- but making sure it's going to survive for generations to come."

Boehner: Congress key to budget deal

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- President Obama might not be the key player in the ongoing U.S. budget battle, House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday.

The Republican House leader said on ABC's "This Week" the end game in the partisan standoff over taxes and spending would probably be the result of negotiations by Congress.

"I don't know whether we can come to a big agreement," Boehner said. "If we do, it will be between the two parties on Capitol Hill."

Boehner restated the GOP stance that tax hikes were already agreed to, and the Democrats needed to commit to spending cuts. He added the recent dinner meetings at the White with Obama and congressional leaders of both parties were a good opportunity to break bread, but didn't do much to break the deadlock.

"It is always a good thing to engage in more conversation, engage more members in the conversation that had not been involved up until this point," Boehner observed. "But if you get down to the bottom line where the president believes that we have to have more taxes from the American people, we're not going to get very far."

Gitmo hunger strike downplayed by U.S.

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, March 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. military said claims that inmates at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were holding a mass hunger strike were overblown.

Attorneys representing some of the inmates as well as human rights groups sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warning the strike was a threat to the prisoners' health, but a spokesman for the controversial prison told The Washington Post the claims were "simply untrue."

Officials told the Post there were only about 14 prisoners involved in the protest. Six were being force fed but the others were refusing meals but subsisting on personal caches of snacks stashed in their cells.

The Post said Sunday the hunger strike was taking place at Camp 6, a unit where security is relatively low and the 166 inmates are considered "compliant" with the rules and regulation. The newspaper said cell doors at Camp 6 were usually unlocked to the prisoners could mingle freely.

Tensions at Camp 6 have been on the rise in recent weeks, however, after guards reportedly began thumbing through the inmates' Korans in search of contraband, which the prisoners considered an act of desecration.

Attorneys for the prisoners said the protest also stemmed from the Obama administration's slow-down in sending inmates home. "Part of this is the general, absolute loss of hope, people having forgotten about Guantanamo and the administration having no plan for closure," said Pardiss Kebriaei, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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