Q Yes, sorry. It's been a while. First of all, I don't know if you're aware of this, but when I had a heart attack three years ago, I was uninsured and I haven't been able to get insurance ever since then. But listening to all the pressure on the President to negotiate -- a lot of it from inside this room -- made me think, is there a chance the President would be willing to delay Obamacare for a year if Republicans were to agree to delay heart attacks for a year?
MR. CARNEY: Tommy, you know the President's position is that we need to implement the Affordable Care Act. And when it comes to the millions of Americans across the country who have had a very hard time getting access to affordable health insurance, we need to focus on those folks and continue the business of implementing the Affordable Care Act, so that on January 1st, those Americans will be able to purchase this insurance, quality insurance at affordable rates for the first time. Does that answer your question?
Q Just for what it's worth, I was able to enroll in the exchange about a week and a half ago. I haven't picked a plan yet, though.
My second question, I was talking to my mom this morning -- right out here, actually -- and she asked me to ask you to please open the government back up again. And I know you can't just do that. But she is really worried about her Social Security check. And I told her, don't worry, Mom, we'll get it taken care of. I don't want you to worry. But Steve Rattner last night said that October 23rd is one of these drop-dead dates that start to pile up. And so I guess my question is should she be worried?
MR. CARNEY: What I would say about that, which goes to the issue of the debt ceiling, is that the United States government through Congress has made a lot of commitments and has a lot of obligations, and those include the commitments and obligations that the Congress has made and we have made to America's seniors. And we need to never even contemplate the possibility that the timely provision of benefits to those seniors would be jeopardized by a decision by one faction of one party of one house of one branch of government to wage an ideological battle here in Washington.
So that's why -- I mean, that crystallizes the fact that there are real people who depend on some basic things. And everybody in Washington -- Democrats and Republicans and independents -- should sort of agree to the principle that we ought to at the very least ensure that those people are taken care of and that the essential functioning of government is allowed to proceed and that the basic premise that the United States always pays its bills on time is not jeopardized. So that's the position the President has taken.
Q Last question -- do you remember the last debt ceiling deal there was a plan floated, it was called the McConnell plan, where Congress would authorize a debt ceiling increase for I think it was a year, a year and a half. And it would hold a vote every so often, so that Republicans could vote no but it would require two-thirds majority to overrule, so it gave the President the authority. Is something like the McConnell plan in the air now, being discussed now? And if not, why not?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I would basically direct you to Congress for the various plans under discussion and the plans that have been adopted in the past for how they fulfill their responsibility invested in them through the Constitution to pay our bills. So Congress has the authority, whether it's to devise a scheme or a plan along the lines that you talk about, or simply just to take the vote and raise the debt ceiling. That's not an authority that the President has. That's an authority Congress has.
Q Haven’t heard any conversations about that?
MR. CARNEY: I'd just refer you to the Senate.