House GOP Moderates: Earmarks Are Awesome, Obamacare Here to Stay

House GOP Moderates: Earmarks Are Awesome, Obamacare Here to Stay

Two House GOP moderates–Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Mike Simpson (R-ID)–made comments this week that are sure to infuriate the House GOP conference.

In an interview published on YouTube as part of a series called “Solon Speaks” in Solon, Ohio, hosted by Terry Dean, Joyce said Obamacare is the law of the land–and here to stay:

The Affordable Care Act, like it or not, is the law of the land. The Supreme Court passed it. Now we’re struggling to implement what is the law of the land. In the last Congress, they put up 23 odd bills that tried to repeal it. It doesn’t get repealed. The Senate’s not going to pass it and the President’s not going to sign it. So it’s not going to be repealed. So when you deal with the premise that this is the law, and it’s the law of the land and we move forward, now we’re stuck with the implementation process and the implementation process is going to be where we’re going to have some of this falling-out because there are 23 some separate taxes that are involved here.

Later in the interview, Joyce further advocated for the implementation of Obamacare–in a different manner than the President has adopted. 

It breaks my heart to see all these small businessmen come to me and say that they’re spending $50,000 on consultants trying to come in compliance with something that the government is still writing the regulations on. It’s just wrong. We should have held off until we had the regulations and had exchanges in place and then implemented it in a way that everybody could understand it and then be able to make the decision on whether or not it was a good idea.

Joyce is a centrist Republican from Ohio who took over the district of former Rep. Steven LaTourette–a key ally of Speaker John Boehner. He has made it his mission as the head of several lobbying outfits since leaving Congress to destroy the Tea Party movement. But Joyce is facing a primary challenge from conservative state Rep. Matt Lynch. Democrats are heavily targeting Joyce’s seat, too, as Roll Call reported earlier this year.

Joyce’s comments come on the heels of questionable remarks made by another GOP moderate: Simpson, a centrist from Idaho who, like LaTourette, is another key Boehner ally. Last week, Simpson said in video captured by the Idaho Statesman that he loves earmarks.

“Let me tell you about earmarks,” Simpson said, and went on to explain:

I’ve always been a supporter of earmarks. It’s kind of interesting. You know who the biggest supporter in Congress of earmarks was? Ron Paul, one of the most conservative, libertarian, members of Congress. He thought Congress should earmark every dollar of spending.

Simpson’s claim that Paul was the “biggest supporter in Congress of earmarks” strains credulity. While Paul did come under national scrutiny for some hypocrisy regarding earmarks toward the end of his tenure in Congress–he would vote against the earmarks at final passage, but several times made spending requests–on numerous occasions, he publicly touted: “I’ve never voted for an earmark.”

His championship of earmark spending is earning Simpson a brutal beating back home. Bryan Smith, a Club for Growth-backed conservative challenging Simpson in the competitive primary there, is running television ads right now blasting the comments district-wide.

“Simpson tries to claim he is a fiscal conservative, but he cannot run from his liberal voting record anymore,” Smith campaign manager Carrie Brown said Tuesday in a statement announcing the ads. “When you vote for the ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ a lobster institute in Maine, and a park in Nancy Pelosi’s district, you cannot make such conservative claims.”


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