Three-and-a-half years ago, every single Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives – and 34 Democrats – voted against Barack Obama’s socialized medicine bill. And since taking control of the House following the 2010 elections – thanks in large measure to anti-ObamaCare fervor – numerous votes to repeal this job-crippling monstrosity have been cast.
In fact, just prior to departing for the August 2013 recess, the House approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., blocking Obama’s scandal-plagued Internal Revenue Service from enforcing any portion of the new law.
Every Republican supported this measure – as did four Democrats.
Of course, any ObamaCare repeal vote is dead on arrival in the Senate – meaning the GOP has only one real option if it is serious about scuttling this abomination. That option? Attach a legislative rider to the upcoming budget resolution defunding the measure entirely -- and then batten down the hatches, vowing to vote against any amended spending resolution containing ObamaCare funding.
In other words, Republicans must strip ObamaCare from the upcoming appropriations measure – and reject any effort by the Senate to re-insert it. Doing so would force Obama and his allies to either accept a spending plan that does not contain ObamaCare funding – or shut down the government in protest.
In years past, Republicans have been reticent to invite a shutdown of government – fearing backlash from the liberal media. But the debate over defunding ObamaCare is different.
For starters, a majority of Americans remain opposed to this new law. According to Gallup, 52 percent of Americans oppose ObamaCare, compared to just 44 percent who support it. Meanwhile, Rasmussen found 53 percent of U.S. voters oppose the law (including 42 percent who strongly oppose it) compared to only 41 percent who support it (and only 15 percent who strongly support it).
Assuming those numbers don’t convince Republicans to zero ObamaCare funding out of the upcoming budget resolution, new Gallup polling released last week further underscores Obama’s weakened negotiating position.
According to the latest Gallup survey, Obama’s approval rating in August dipped three points to 44 percent. While that isn’t necessarily a huge month-to-month decline, a look at the underlying data demonstrates Obama’s rapidly weakening position on several critical issues central to the ObamaCare debate.
On the economy, Obama’s August approval rating plunged seven points to 35 percent, while on taxes it slipped from 41 to 36 percent. Meanwhile on the deficit it fell from 31 to 26 percent. Now, align the data with the results of a Fox News poll (also released last week) which showed 71 percent of Americans saying they believe ObamaCare will raise taxes and 65 percent saying it will add to the deficit.
Those are compelling numbers – and they should serve to compel the GOP to mount a unified front in support of ObamaCare’s defunding. You’d better believe that’s what former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be doing if the shoe were on the other foot – and with good reason. In addition to blocking the most dangerous legislation America has seen in decades, this is a rare opportunity for the GOP to win a shutdown debate – because the only way government grinds to a halt in this case is if Obama and his allies decide their socialized medicine law is worth that risk.
Any fear or timidity on the part of Republicans regarding a shutdown debate over ObamaCare has no basis in reality – unless certain elements of the GOP secretly want this law to go into effect and are looking for an excuse to let that happen.
Accordingly, GOP “leaders” – particularly Mike Simpson of Idaho, Fred Upton of Michigan, Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Peter King of New York – need to get on board with the defunding plan. Otherwise the tail will truly be wagging the dog within the GOP.
Republicans are sitting opposite an increasingly unpopular president trying to ram through a consistently unpopular law – one that is clearly not ready to be implemented. They must seize this victory – not snatch another defeat from victory’s jaws.
Bill Wilson is a member of the board of directors of Americans for Limited Government.