The American people have spoken, and the message they sent to Washington is clear: Americans want Obamacare ripped out of the U.S. Code by the roots. With their actions, America’s voters have shown that they want the 112th Congress to make Obamacare repeal a reality.
In fact, a strong case exists that the historic gains made by Republicans on Election Day were driven primarily by the American public’s determined desire for Obamacare repeal. Consider the following facts:
An exit poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports indicates that 59 percent of those who voted favor repealing Obamacare, including 48 percent of voters who strongly favor repeal.
As reported by Roll Call newspaper on Dec. 3, even Democratic senator and Obamacare supporter Charles E. Schumer thinks that when voters went to the polls in November, “voters did say ‘repeal health care.’”
Sarah Palin’s “Take back the 20” effort targeted 20 House Democrats who had voted for Obamacare. After the votes had been counted, 18 of those Democrats had been defeated.
Sixty-five percent of Oklahomans and 55 percent of Arizonans voted in favor of state referendums protecting their state’s residents from Obamacare’s mandate that individuals purchase government-sanctioned health insurance.
None of these results comes as a surprise to those of us who have been active in the effort to repeal Obamacare. The election results are simply the manifestation of what we have been hearing in town-hall meetings since the legislation was forced through Congress by the leftist trio of President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Having been entrusted with control of the House of Representatives, how should Republicans address the public’s unquestionable call for repeal? The answer is simple: Republicans should prove we have heard America’s message by making the passage of a clean, stand-alone, 100 percent Obamacare repeal bill the top priority in the new Congress.
Republicans can align themselves with the voting public by quickly adopting two positions that will show the public we are serious about repealing Obamacare. We must begin by making a clean Obamacare repeal bill the first piece of legislation introduced and passed in the new session of Congress. The virtue of a “clean repeal” bill is obvious: It enables all Americans favoring repeal to unite successfully around a common goal. Repealing Obamacare is a difficult task even as a united team; we certainly don’t need to hamper our efforts at the beginning by drafting a clumsy “repeal and replace” bill, which can only divide repeal proponents into smaller groups with conflicting “replacement” policy preferences. I have drafted a clean, 100-percent repeal bill that has garnered the support of House Republicans. This legislation, H.R. 4972, could serve as the basis for a clean repeal bill in the 112th Congress. In fact, 173 members of Congress have already signed a discharge petition I introduced that would have forced an up-or-down vote on this bill.
The second thing Republicans need to do is to lay the groundwork for defunding any and all efforts to implement Obamacare. Thankfully, the American people delivered the House of Representatives into Republican hands, giving Obamacare opponents the power of the purse. Americans expect the new Congress, bolstered by new members who made Obamacare repeal the hallmark of their campaigns, to oppose the legislation with every tool at our disposal. Not only should Republicans in the House zero out any Obamacare-related item in the budget, we should further protect our efforts from Democrats in the Senate by including language in every appropriations bill we pass explicitly barring any money allocated therein from being spent on implementing or enforcing any part of Obamacare.
On this latter point, we know full well that Mr. Obama will do whatever he can to preserve the socialized health care system that now bears his name. This means he will not only threaten to veto any successfully passed repeal bill, but he may even threaten to shut down the government by refusing to sign individual appropriations bills that contain anti-Obamacare language. If Republicans include spending prohibitions in every appropriations bill, we will ensure that the president will have to explain to the American public why he places a greater priority on protecting the unpopular Obamacare bill than on ensuring the regular functioning of government. That is a political argument Mr. Obama cannot win, and the election results of Nov. 2 should quell any doubts about whom the public will side with should such a scenario unfold.
By returning the House to Republican control, the American people have clearly expressed a desire to turn Obamacare repeal into a legislative reality. It is time for Republicans to validate this faith by making clean, stand-alone legislation that repeals 100 percent of Obamacare the top priority of the 112th Congress.
Rep. Steve King is a Republican from Iowa.