FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Defund Obamacare or Bust
It’s really simple, folks. Everything boils down to Obamacare.
Do we really believe that Obamacare will make private health insurance unaffordable?
Do we really believe Obamacare will bankrupt the nation and relegate the next generation of Americans to a dimmer future of less freedom and opportunity?
Do we really believe Obamacare will create incorrigible dependency?
Dow we really believe that Obamacare will lead to a deterioration of healthcare services and rationed care?
Are we really serious about balancing the budget and reforming entitlements?
If the answer to the aforementioned questions is a resounding yes, which is presumably the case for all conservatives, then the following statements from House conservatives regarding funding Obamacare in the upcoming budget CR are incomprehensible: (via The Hill)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a conservative leader who recently stepped down as the head of the Republican Study Committee, said he and other conservatives would support the measure, even if “Obamacare” and the health reform mandate that insurance plans cover contraception are not defunded.
“We would hope the religious issue, the Obamacare would be in there,” he said. “The fact is that if we get the CR at the post-sequester level that is a big win.”
“I think all or most conservatives will be on board with doing that,” Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), who is also looked at as a leader of the party’s right wing, said. […]
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said that passing the Rogers measure makes political sense because if the Senate rejects it and wants to spend more, it will be responsible for shutting down the government after March 27.
The newfound reluctance to fight on the part of these conservatives is born out of an agreement they had with leadership at the annual retreat in January. They agreed to kick the can down the road on the debt ceiling in return for leadership proposing a 10-year balanced budget and retaining the sequester cuts – something we will get for free simply by doing nothing.
Part of the problem here is that we’re focusing too much on dollars and cents of a budget, instead of explaining to the voters how big government harms their lives. We’ve gone over this many times; cutting spending is not exactly the same as limiting government. The EPA’s operational budget is only about $8.5 billion, but its effect on the economy is a lot worse. I don’t think we’d cut the budget much by repealing ethanol mandates, but we’d save consumers in the middle class a lot of money. Likewise, as much as Obamacare will cost the federal budget, its effects on the private economy will be much worse.
Rep. Jordan feels that the important aspect of the CR fight is that we keep the sequester and the $974 billion discretionary spending number. But we get the sequester for free. We should use the CR to fight Obamacare. Moreover, the optics of brinkmanship over a budget figure ($974 billion) will not resonate nearly as well as a fight over something tangible – something that the public still understands to be harmful to their lives. We definitely should keep the sequester, but if the CR budget fight comes down to brinkmanship over defending the sequester vs. attacking Obamacare, it’s a no-brainer which position is stronger. Compare the messaging of “down with Obamacare and higher costs” to “keep the 974 number!”
Furthermore, any talk of balanced budgets is irrelevant if we don’t use a leverage point – such as the upcoming CR – to disrupt implementation of Obamacare. If we don’t defund it this year, it is here to stay. Now, you might say that it is indeed here to stay because we lost the election. But if you believe that, then please stop talking about balancing the budget and reforming entitlements. The main entitlement crisis stems from the lack of free market healthcare, even prior to the enactment of Obamacare. There is no way we can reform healthcare entitlements without first blocking Obamacare. There is nothing worth fighting for if not the defunding of Obamacare.
Conservatives in Congress know that we will eventually have to use a point of leverage to save this country. Jordan later said himself that he plans to fight for the House-passed budget for FY 2014, a budget that will presumably defund Obamacare, when the debt ceiling is reached over the summer. While I would support the use of any leverage point, it is absurd for them to wait for the debt ceiling fight, which is more radioactive than a CR. It is also credulous to think that leadership will engage in brinkmanship to enact the reforms in the Ryan budget. They only promised to formulate a 10-year balanced budget at the so-called “Williamsburg Accords;” they have never promised to force through the reforms using the debt ceiling.
There are 105 members of the House who signed a letter last year asking the Speaker not to bring any appropriations bill before the floor that contains funding for Obamacare. Their names are listed below. If they have changed their minds and believe that Obamacare is here to stay, there is no purpose in them holding office. Everything else is a moot point.