During a recent Tea Party town-hall meeting, the discussion focused on actions that the new Republican House majority could take to hasten the repeal of Obamacare.
I restated my long-held strategy that House Republicans can take the next definitive step toward full and final repeal of the unconstitutional health care law by simply using the same tactic that abruptly ended all U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War: We can add an amendment to the continuing resolution (CR) to prohibit all federal funds from being spent to implement or enforce the provisions of Obamacare.
When the Pelosi Democrats drafted Obamacare, they quietly included provisions that trigger automatic and mandatory funding in the law. An additional $105.5 billion is about to be spent to implement and enforce Obamacare unless action is taken in the continuing resolution to stop it.
It makes no sense to allow funding of a law that the American public has rejected, that the House and every Republican in Congress has voted to repeal and that a federal judge has declared to be unconstitutional and void in its entirety. It is impossible to justify turning away from our oath to defend the Constitution and our obligation to save American taxpayers $105.5 billion that otherwise will be spent unconstitutionally and irresponsibly. Yet, the House is poised to do just that.
There has been an effort behind the scenes to block my initiative to cut off all funding to Obamacare. One of the tactics is to argue that my proposal violates the rules by legislating on an appropriations bill. It wasn’t a violation when Congress defunded the Vietnam War, and it’s not a violation now. The CR, the very bill that I seek to amend, has language in it that blocks the use of any funds to move detainees out of Guantanamo Bay. By their definition, they’ve set a precedent and all I ask is to use the same tool to debate and vote on blocking the use of any funds to implement or enforce Obamacare. In fact, the CR as written already addresses Obamacare in at least four places, the 1099 provision among them.
But even if the House and Senate rules did somehow stand in the way, shouldn’t the oath that each member of Congress takes to protect and defend the United States Constitution trump them anyway? After all, if the choice is between either defending the Constitution or using congressional procedure to protect an unconstitutional law like Obamacare, the Constitution should win out every time.
With the Republican House majority swelled by the addition of 87 freshmen pledged to repealing Obamacare, the time to fight the battle over the law’s funding is now. Failing to defund Obamacare when our ranks are at their strongest will be interpreted by President Obama as proof that the House places a greater emphasis on passing bills that he will sign than on repealing his namesake law. If that position is established, it will weaken future repeal efforts considerably.
My proposed amendment reads as follows:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds made available in this Act or any previous Act may be used to carry out the provisions of Public Law 111-148, Public Law 111-152, or any amendment made by either such law.”
Since the House declined to include this language in the CR, the rule must include a standard provision to protect my amendment from a point of order. My amendment would stop the $105.5 billion in automatic Obamacare funding already in the pipeline, and it would freeze Obamacare dead in its tracks. The House should adopt a rule that allows this language to be offered and, when offered, the House should vote to close the valve through which $105.5 billion will flow to grow Obamacare like a malignant tumor.
The American people will be with us and stay with us if we defund Obamacare in the CR. They will lose faith in our commitment to them if we posture rather than deliver. Americans will not be pacified with an argument that Nancy Pelosi was so clever that she made sure the next speaker of the House couldn’t - even under his own rules - allow for a vote to shut off the automatic funding written into Obamacare.
Rep. Steve King is a Republican from Iowa.