The movement to enter the inevitable budget battle this fall armed with ObamaCare’s funding as a political weapon is apparently gaining some traction on Capitol Hill; as Guy mentioned yesterday, the number of Republican Congresspeople adding their names to the Rubio/Cruz/Lee-led push to defund the health care law is growing, and Sen. Mike Lee just dropped this little note in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s inbox:
Dear Leader Reid:
We view the Obama Administration’s recent decision to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate and eligibility verification for the individual exchanges as further proof the law is a failure that will inevitably hurt businesses, American families, and the economy.
In light of this admission, we believe the only way to avert disaster is to fully repeal ObamaCare and start over with a more sensible, practical approach to reforming our healthcare system.
However, if Democrats will not agree with Republicans that ObamaCare must be repealed, perhaps they can at least agree with the president that the law cannot be implemented as written. If the administration will not enforce the law as written, then the American people should not be forced to fund it.
This is a matter not only of fiscal prudence, but of fundamental fairness as well. The president cannot seriously expect to waive ObamaCare’s onerous mandates on large businesses, while simultaneously forcing individuals and families to pay to implement an individual mandate the public has opposed since before the law was even passed.
For these reasons, we will not support any continuing resolution or appropriations legislation that funds further implementation or enforcement of ObamaCare.
Sens. Lee, Rubio, Cruz, Risch, Paul, Inhofe, Vitter, Thune, Chiesa, Enzi, Fischer, and Grassley.
Oh, boy. Not everyone, of course, is on board, via The Hill:
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) slammed a proposal to block a continuing resolution on federal funding unless ObamaCare is defunded.
“I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” Burr told journalist Todd Zwilich Thursday. “Listen, as long as Barack Obama is president the Affordable Care Act is gonna be law.” …
“I think some of these guys need to understand that you shut down the federal government, you better have a specific reason to do it that’s achievable,” Burr continued. “Defunding the Affordable Care Act is not achievable through shutting down the federal government. At some point you’re gonna open the federal government back up and he won’t have signed this illusion of the Affordable Care Act.”
And indeed, others are pointing out that fully repealing the law is going to be the only effective way of actually getting rid of it; Sen. Lee’s fellow Utahan Sen. Orrin Hatch is all about the repeal efforts, but thinks that Lee’s “not going to win on that, and that will open the Republicans up to all kinds of false criticism.” Karl Rove agrees that it’ll give Democrats another chance to tee off on Republican obstructionism:
And Byron York doesn’t think it’ll be an effective tactic, either:
The defund-Obamacare Republicans in the Senate hope to strip out that discretionary funding from a continuing resolution needed to fund the government that Congress will debate in September.
They know they won’t succeed. Democrats, with 54 votes, have enough to pass anything that requires a simple majority, and won’t have much trouble getting to a filibuster-proof 60 votes, either. “I could count six or seven Republicans who would vote for full funding of the continuing resolution without breaking a sweat,” says one Senate aide who supports defunding. “So they’re going to get to 60.”
But that’s just the discretionary part of Obamacare. The far bigger portions of the program, including the billions and billions of dollars in subsidies that will start going to Americans on Jan. 1, are mandatory spending, an entitlement funded by an automatic appropriation which is written into law and runs without further congressional action. To change that, Congress would have to change Obamacare.
Get ready for the inevitable Congressional drama that’s on the way.