In a press release issued Friday, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), disturbed by the Obama administration’s courting of the heads of the six major professional sports organization to sell Obamacare to the public, stated that they had issued letters to each sports chief in which they asked them to resist and report Obama administration efforts to enlist them in promoting the President’s signature law.
The six chiefs are the commissioners of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association, and the chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR.
Recent reports alleging tete-a-tetes between the sports organizations and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius catalyzed McConnell and Cornyn to fight back. They wrote in their letters, “Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of the health care [law], it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion.”
They added that Obamacare remains “deeply divisive and unpopular” even three years after it was made into law. The letters also stated that Obamacare’s unpopularity was one reason why Congress has not given the Obama administration money it wants to promote Obamacare. This lack of funds, say the letters, is why the Obama administration is cajoling the sports organizations for support.
Obamacare passed as a partisan issue, with the GOP unanimously opposing it because it would raise health care costs, increase taxes, raid Medicare to pay for a new Obamacare entitlement program, and urge the federal government to interfere with Americans’ personal health care decisions.
McConnell and Cornyn wrote that they have been disturbed by the Obama administration’s record of threatening policy retaliation in order to solicit support or to silence its critics. They urged the sports chiefs to resist such pressure and to contact the senators immediately if it came; then the pressure could be investigated for suspicion of incipient threats by the administration.
The senators said they could not remember when major sports leagues took a posture in such a highly polarized public debate. They wrote, “Yet given this administration’s public request of your assistance in promoting this unpopular law, we felt it important to provide you with a fuller accounting of the facts before you made such a decision.”