Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) made his bid to stop the ObamaCare train wreck by introducing the Stability, Security, and Fairness Resolution, which essentially funds every part of the government except ObamaCare for the coming year. The gigantic federal government is now funded by an endless string of emergency spending resolutions, a stack of fiscal Band-Aids high enough to reach the Moon. Rep. Graves is simply proposing to leave ObamaCare out of this year’s check-writing frenzy, which seems only fair, since President Obama already broke the law to delay the crucial employer mandate past the 2014 elections. Why not put the whole thing on ice until the employer mandate goes into effect?
“This plan is straightforward,” said Graves. ”We will achieve long-term stability by funding the government for the next fiscal year. Additionally, the resolution includes the three House-passed appropriations bills that affect our national security and our veterans. Our troops, their families and our veterans should not have their priorities put on hold. Finally, our plan will achieve fairness for every American by fully delaying and defunding Obamacare until 2015. This approach builds upon the Obama Administration’s policy of delaying portions of Obamacare and relieves taxpayers of the burden of funding a program that is not being implemented.”
Democrats, of course, not only want to pour gallons of red ink down the ObamaCare hole, they want to pretend sequestration and that silly Budget Control Act of 2011 never happened. Graves and his 42 co-sponsors are hoping to flip the usual “government shutdown” narrative on its head by putting a year’s worth of government funding on the table and daring the Democrats to shut down the government to protect ObamaCare, which hasn’t been looking any more popular in the latest round of polls. If the Republicans can work the constant drumbeat of horror stories about ObamaCare into a consistent narrative of failed government hubris that no fiscally responsible representative would vote to waste taxpayer money on, it will be harder for Democrats in the media to paint the Republicans as the ones eager to force a shutdown.
Hopefully no one in the GOP thinks their task will be easy, just because every day brings another story of jobs lost, insurance plans vaporized, or some other vacuum tube in the ObamaCare system blowing out. Those special law-breaking ObamaCare subsidies for Congress were a test of the public’s resolve. The lack of pitchforks and torches outside their window convinced Democrats that a defeated American public has largely accepted the inevitability of this broken system. They no longer expect much from ObamaCare, but they don’t think it can be stopped. Rep. Graves’ appeal to pull the plug, until the day President Obama unilaterally decided the employer mandate can safely go into effect, is a strong appeal to the common sense of the voting public. If he can rally enough support, vulnerable Democrats could grow nervous. Saving their hides was the reason for punting on the employer mandate.
The Graves strategy appears to be acceptable to the big guns of the Defund ObamaCare movement, judging from comments made by their spokespeople to the Daily Caller:
“As it relates to Obamacare, it would accomplish exactly what Sen. Cruz has advocated from the beginning — to fund the government without funding Obamacare. It is an important step forward, we hope the House quickly acts to stop Obamacare,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told The Daily Caller, noting that Cruz is still reviewing the legislation in its entirety.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who is one of the main ringleaders of Ted Cruz’s “Defund Obamacare” campaign, supports Graves’ plan, saying, “The House should pass this legislation immediately and send it to the Senate.”
“This is exactly what we’ve been talking about from day one,” Lee’s communications director Brian Phillips told TheDC. “There has never, ever, ever been any proposal from Ted Cruz or Mike Lee to shut down the functions of government. That was just the media. There’s no sneaky vote.”
“This is a [continuing resolution] that funds every section of government except Obamacare,” Phillips said. “It’s up to Harry Reid at this point. If the House passes it, the only thing standing in the way of funding the government is Harry Reid. If he doesn’t take it to a floor vote in the Senate, then he’s the one responsible for a shutdown scenario.”
“Cruz would absolutely support it,” Phillips said.
Conventional political wisdom says there’s no way to win a shutdown battle against a Democrat President with a willing and eager media cheerleading squad. However, the Republican base is not in a mood to hear more assurances that next time the GOP will put political capital on the line to fight for their principles, because a few “next times” have already come and gone. Democrats will be eager to misrepresent the Graves resolution as a shutdown threat, when in truth it hands the detonator to them, and asks if they’re willing to lean on the plunger in order to keep an unpopular, severely malfunctioning government program alive.
If ObamaCare funding is actually delayed for a year, Republicans would run hard on a platform of winning back the Senate to kill it for good. Presumably Democrats would be obliged to run on a platform of holding the Senate to preserve ObamaCare. That sounds like a much better approximation of the way our system is supposed to work than the Affordable Care Act’s ugly backroom-bargain birth. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously encouraged us to pass ObamaCare to find out what was in it. Now that we know it’s filled with unrealistic projections, broken promises, intrusive government, bureaucratic confusion, and market chaos, shouldn’t the American people get another chance to decide if they want to go ahead with it?