Exclusive--Rep. Graves: Grassroots Need to Keep Up Pressure to Defund Obamacare
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) told Breitbart News on Friday that a majority of House Republicans have now signed onto his legislation to defund Obamacare in the upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR), passing a threshold that meets the informal Hastert Rule that requires a majority of the majority to support legislation before it comes up for a vote.
“Well it sends a real strong message,” Graves said of the reaching the milestone during a phone interview on Friday morning. “I think as of yesterday we had 121 cosponsors. That’s a very rapid growth of cosponsoring, including House leadership such as Lynn Jenkins, signing onto the bill this week."
"So, we have the majority of the majority that meets the Hastert Rule," he explained. "We’ll see if those numbers continue to grow. Members have come up to me even this morning asking if they could sign on and where would they go to do that. I think we’re going to see the momentum continue.”
In fact, since the interview Graves conducted with Breitbart News on Friday morning, the bill picked up yet another cosponsor and is up to 122. Since there are 234 GOP members in the House, a total of 117 cosponsors are needed for any piece of legislation to cross the threshold to meet the Hastert Rule.
Graves credits a lot of the success thus far to the grassroots and Tea Party movement, which has been helping pressure members of Congress to get in the fight.
“The defund Obamacare bill I’ve introduced this year, along with the Senate sponsor Ted Cruz, it’s really been exciting to watch the momentum that’s been building over the past several weeks and months,” Graves said. “The president himself is wanting to delay portions of his own healthcare initiative. The big question Americans are asking right now is why should have to pay for it?"
"The momentum has been incredible and there are more cosponsors every day," he continued. "What’s really been exciting is the activity from Americans all across the country through Facebook and Twitter and all their social networking, it’s a big issue right now. We’re at a pivotal point in which our main focus is protecting the American family from this destructive law.”
Graves said the reason why it is important to attach any Obamacare defunding mechanism to the upcoming CR, which funds government operations, is because this is the last chance the GOP has to take down Obamacare before the health insurance exchanges are built in October and the individual mandate and exchange subsidies start in January.
“It actually mirrors what we’ve been doing in Appropriations. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ve been a strong advocate for using the power of the purse,” Graves added about the process. “It’s been a very open and transparent process, and in every bill we’ve moved through the committee, we’ve eliminated the funding for the implementation and enactment of Obamacare.”
Graves said that grassroots activists need to turn the heat up and keep the pressure on heading into the August recess. “There’s never been a more important time than in going into this August recess for Americans to begin sharing their stories with their members of Congress or with the media or through social networking of how this law has impacted them,” he said.
“There a lot of stories we hear from our district where individuals’ hours have been cut. They were full time up until a week or two ago. Now they’ve been cut down to part time hour in order for the businesses to comply with the law," Graves said. "These stories need to be shared. If they see their premiums rising, we know it’s happening here, we need to hear those stories. If they’ve seen their insurance canceled or that it’s not going to be available, share that.”
He said now is "a fantastic time for the American people to share their stories” about how Obamacare hurts them, adding that the president appears more interested in protecting big business special interests than he does in helping ordinary working Americans.
“It appears the president has had a lot of influence on him, or persuasion from, the business community,” Graves said. “He’s taking care of them not only through the delay of the employer mandate but also the waivers that he’s provided to a lot of them. He’s leaving hard-working Americans to feel the full blunt of this law.”