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Policy Update: Defunding Obamacare

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Washington, D.C., September 6, 2013 | comments

I support defunding Obamacare.

I am proud to cosponsor Representative Tom Graves’ H.R. 2682, the Defund Obamacare Act, which  prohibits any funds from being spent on any activity to implement or enforce the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), rescinds any unspent balances that have already been appropriated for implementation, and turns off all mandatory spending streams created and funded by the PPACA. 

Even though this law is a train wreck, attaching legislation such as H.R. 2682 to a continuing resolution (CR) is not the way to go about dismantling the law.

Why?

Because doing so would require the House to take hostage the rest of the government and require us to shoot it.

Republicans only control the House of Representatives, and both the Senate and the President have vowed not to pass any legislation that defunds or repeals Obamacare outright.

What does that mean for our end-of-the-year spending bills?  They will be sent right back to the House with funding for the law attached.  At that point, we either pass the CR or shut down the government.

And let me tell you, shutting down the government won’t be pretty.  What’s worse is that even in the event of a government shutdown, PPACA’s implementation will continue. In a report prepared for Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), the Congressional Research Service (CRS) determined that this is because much of the funding for the law is provided outside of the appropriations process.

During fiscal year 2013, Congress did not provide any new discretionary funds for PPACA implementation.  But the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) used $1.5 billion from the Unobligated Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund (HIRIF) funds, the Prevention and Public Health Fund dollars and no-year funds from the nonrecurring expense fund to continue implementation efforts. It’s  safe to assume they’ll continue to rely on alternative sources of funding even if the government is shut down.

Additionally, agencies may continue to perform certain activities – such as the collection of taxes –  that are allowed to continue by the Antideficiency Act.

This is phenomenally risky for House Republicans and our ability to maintain the majority in the House.  It’s like taking our rent money to the casino; we cannot afford to be wrong. 

Being wrong would not only mean living with Obamacare, but also with suffocating regulations, soaring taxes, deficits, and debts, and an larger government with  fewer freedoms.  This is not my vision for America and – knowing the odds against us – not a bet I’m willing to take. 

The President has already signed seven bills into law which repeal or defund parts of Obamacare, and until we are able to repeal the law in its entirety, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to chip away at PPACA.

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