Politics

House passes government funding without ObamaCare

House passes government funding without ObamaCare

It would be swell if we could go back to having “budgets” again one of these days, but meanwhile here’s the best funding news to come out of Congress since our constant state of non-budgeted, bumper-to-bumper emergency resolution fiscal crisis began at Democrat hands over four years ago, per Fox News:

The House voted Friday to keep the government open through mid-December but only if Congress strips funding from ObamaCare.

The vote was 230 to 189, and largely expected.

Current funding for the government is set to expire at the end of the month, and lawmakers must approve the stopgap bill in order to keep Washington open.

The GOP measure would fund the government through Dec. 15, at current funding levels.

“Today, the constitutional conservatives in the House are keeping their word to our constituents and our nation to stand true to our principles, to protect them from the most unpopular law ever passed in the history of the country-  ObamaCare- that intrudes on their privacy and our most sacred right as Americans to be left alone,” Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, said on the House floor.

Everyone knows that it’s going to be tough sledding for this resolution in the Senate, which has somehow gotten away with abrogating its fiscal duties for thousands of days without the public demanding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s resignation.  Maybe we can get that ball rolling while Reid vows to shut the government down, if that’s what it takes to keep the hated ObamaCare program alive:

The vote sets the stage for a showdown next week in the Democratic-led Senate. Realistically, the chance of the measure surviving a Senate vote is slim to none. One Senate Democrat has already announced the bill dead on arrival and called Friday’s vote a “waste of time.”

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement following the vote. “I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare.”

This is a gut check for the American people.  We’ve heard a lot about the horrors of a “government shutdown,” and how we’re supposed to be furious with those who would provoke one.  Well, Harry Reid and Barack Obama say they’ll shut the government down unless you submit to ObamaCare, a program that clearly isn’t working, and has exceeded even its rosiest cost projections.  Isn’t it time to demand our leadership make a smart decision to abandon something that even President Obama admits cannot work – there is no other way to interpret such actions as illegally postponing the employer mandate – and try something different?

Feeding the Democrats a steaming plate of their own government shutdown rhetoric is one big advantage of the defunding resolution.  Another is that it puts the Republicans in the right place at the right time – in this case, October 1, the day the ObamaCare exchange train wreck comes barreling into the station.  How’s that launch date looking?  Let’s check in with the Wall Street Journal:

Less than two weeks before the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the federal health care overhaul, the government’s software can’t reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage, according to insurance executives and people familiar with the program.

Government officials and insurers were scrambling to iron out the pricing quirks quickly, according to sources, to avoid alienating the initial wave of consumers.

I can see where the “initial wave of consumers” – far larger than anticipated, thanks to the huge number of employers who have washed their hands of health insurance and dumped their employees into the public exchanges – might be a little testy when the People’s Glorious Health Care System starts coughing up incorrect prices for the policies they are compelled to purchase under threat of legal punishment.

The Washington Examiner adds a few more little “glitches” we can expect on launch day:

The Obama administration has already had to delay income verification requirements for applicants for insurance on the exchanges, increasingly relying on individuals’ own claims about their income – creating a huge opening for fraud. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General has said that the federal government is months behind testing security systems for the exchanges. And Oregon has said its state’s exchange website won’t be ready on time, meaning that individuals will have to go through approved insurance brokers to register for coverage.

Looks like October 1 will be indeed be a good day to be on the right side of an offer to fund everything in the government except this debacle.  It’s almost as good as moving Election Day next to Tax Day, where it belongs.

This is going to force Democrats to spend an agonizing amount of political capital to keep ObamaCare alive, which is a valuable strategic objective for Republicans.  It’s also the way our system of representative government is supposed to work.  The American people want to be free from ObamaCare; the Democrats oppose their will; the Republicans can offer to give them what they want, following victories in 2014 and 2016.  It is necessary for Republicans to demonstrate their commitment on this issue to the voters, even if the current effort faces formidable political odds.

Is it truly impossible to imagine the political situation souring enough for Democrats to bring an unexpected level of success over the coming weeks, as they contemplate paying a stiff price at the polls in 2014?  Even if things play out between Congress and the White House the way most observers expect, Republicans can capitalize on taking a strong stand alongside the majority of Americans – and it is right and proper for them to milk that stand like crazy, because that’s how a republic functions.

Another benefit for Republicans is the unity brought by having such a great purpose to focus their energies.  Sure, there were some bumps at first, a few GOP politicians still have old scores to settle, the usual establishment vs. conservatives drama is still simmering, and the White House still holds a fat sack of taxpayer cash to buy off a few Republicans here and there.  But there’s an unmistakable sense of unity building on the right side of the aisle, while the Democrats are facing their own crack-up pressures, and smart Republicans will exploit them.

The Democrats are starting to sound awfully flustered and short-tempered as they stick up for ObamaCare.  The odds of squeezing a few politically useful sound bites from them will increase with every day of the ObamaCare defunding drama.  We’ve already got the communications chair of the Sacramento Democrats wishing an agonizing death upon the children of a defunding proponent.  If President Obama was a Republican defending a program that has been comparably awful for the Sainted Middle Class, the media would be pronouncing him terminally “out of touch,” perhaps even wondering about his sanity.  And every minute Harry Reid is on-camera is a good minute for the Republican Party.  Keep them talking, guys.

Another strategic consideration is that forcing Democrats to defend their failed program from 2010 keeps them too busy to inflict any new failed programs on us.  They’re playing defense behind an unpopular lame-duck President, who is having an increasingly difficult time blaming his lousy economy on his predecessor.  Come to think of it, the defunding battle will keep a few Republicans out of mischief, too.

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