Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), number four in House GOP Leadership, said the effort by conservatives to defund ObamaCare is “not realistic.” She advocated a piece-meal approach to repeal, delay, or defund individual provisions of the sweeping health care overhaul. The debate will likely dominate discussions within the Republican caucus when Congress returns next month.
“To get the entire bill repealed, or defunded, is probably not realistic,” McMorris Rodgers said. “But I do think there are provisions in the law that we can get delayed, or provisions in the law we can get defunded.”
The government’s spending authority expires on September 30th. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass a continuing resolution authorizing continued spending. Many conservatives, led by Sens. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), want Republicans to strip spending for ObamaCare out of this continuing resolution.
Eighty House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker Boehner on Thursday endorsing this plan. More moderate Republicans, however, are worried that such a move would garner a veto of the continuing resolution from Obama and lead to a government shutdown. Party leaders are concerned that they would be blamed for any shutdown.
GOP Leaders seem to be galvanizing around a plan to delay by a year the implementation of ObamaCare. “The delays the administration has been forced to implement in the healthcare law have given us a golden opportunity to talk about fairness,” Boehner said Thursday, according to The Hill. “‘If big business gets relief from the president’s healthcare law, families and small businesses should, too.’ This message strikes a chord with Americans. When people hear it, it resonates.”
The debate is especially relevant, because ObamaCare starts coming into effect on October 1, the day after current government spending authority expires.
Even if Leadership were to rally behind the conservative effort to defund ObamaCare, it wouldn’t succeed. Much of the spending to implement ObamaCare isn’t contained in the government’s annual appropriations. The law itself created mandatory spending that would continue even if the government were shut down.
The public, however, is only now starting to pay real attention to the issue. The negative consequences of ObamaCare are now becoming public. Businesses have been cutting employee hours to escape the health care mandate, and millions of Americans are realizing they will have to pay a lot more for health coverage.
Throughout September, the public is likely to become even more acutely aware of the problems with ObamaCare. It is a necessary debate the Republicans ought to embrace.