Brinkmanship: Courage of Convictions to Be Tested over Push for Obamacare Delay
House Republicans remain united against Obamacare, demanding that it be delayed in its entirety for a full year before they agree to any stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown before Tuesday.
Technically, the government will run out of money at midnight on Monday if Congress and President Barack Obama do not come to an agreement by then. Unlike Senate Republicans, House Republicans are united against funding Obamacare in the Continuing Resolution and are demanding the president agree to put the law on hold for at least a little over a year in exchange for passage of a spending resolution.
If President Obama continues to refuse to negotiate with Congress, as he has done thus far, the government will shut down. Similarly, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to compromise, as he has done thus far, the government will shut down. Republicans have compromised several times already, and a looming government shutdown comes down to whether or not Democrats are willing to compromise as well.
More than a week ago, House Republicans acted to keep the government working by passing a Continuing Resolution that funded the government entirely except for Obamacare. Senate Republicans failed to hold the line on the bill, allowing Reid to strip the language that defunds Obamacare from the House bill. The new version which funds Obamacare was sent back to the House, where conservatives have offered a compromise.
The compromise amendment, from Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), is called the “Fairness Amendment” and would delay all of Obamacare's implementation until early 2015, a little over a year from now. Both the Obama administration and Congress have already agreed to delays, exemptions, and waivers of several parts of Obamacare that affect big business and Washington politicians, but they have left in place the economically devastating parts of the law that will directly apply to the American people. Graves’ amendment calls on Congress and the president to agree to extend the same courtesies to average Americans as they have to the politically connected.
On Saturday, House Speaker John Boehner backed the new Graves plan, and House Republicans united behind it. Boehner's actions came after pressure from House conservatives, groups like Tea Party Patriots, and grassroots leaders like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Several conservative staffers have told Breitbart News they are excited that Boehner and House GOP leadership continue to listen to and work with them; Tea Party activists are commenting that they are similarly pleased.
When they backed the House conservatives’ plan to delay Obamacare as a compromise with the Democrats and the president, Boehner and the rest of GOP leadership—House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Whip Kevin McCarthy and conference chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers—said that the “American people don’t want a government shut down” but that they also “don’t want ObamaCare.”
“That’s why later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s health care law as possible,” the GOP leaders said. “The first amendment delays the president’s health care law by one year. And the second permanently repeals ObamaCare’s medical device tax that is sending jobs overseas.”
Boehner and the GOP leaders added that this is the second time House Republicans will have voted to keep the government open and protect Americans from Obamacare, and it is now up to the president and the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass the bills the House has sent them.
“Both of these amendments will change the date of the Senate CR to December 15th,’” they said.
In addition to those details, Boehner and the GOP leaders added that the House will pass a “measure that ensures our troops get paid, no matter what.”
“We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown,” the GOP leadership team said.
Graves, who is emerging as a leader of the conservative block in the House, said he is pleased House Republicans remain united against Obamacare. “I thank the 61 House Republicans who joined me yesterday in support of our Fairness Amendment to delay Obamacare for one year,” Graves said. “Our combined effort proved successful as House Republicans have decided to incorporate the one year delay policy in the government funding bill we expect to vote on today."
"It is reasonable, and right, to demand that every American gets the same Obamacare delay that the president gave to businesses and insurance companies," he continued. "I thank leadership for, once again, listening to the conference and moving forward with policies that unite us as we work to keep the government open and protect our constituents from the harmful effects of Obamacare.”
The vote is expected to happen sometime Saturday evening, putting the Senate--which, by Harry Reid's design, is on recess until Monday morning--in an awkward position during the Sunday news programs. They will have to explain why they are on recess when the House is working to keep the government open and protecting the American people from Obamacare. It is expected that House Republicans will remain united on the Saturday evening vote.