With one simple stroke, Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va) has introduced for consideration by the new House of Representatives a 250 word bill repealing the 2000 + page Obamacare law. The bill’s title says it all – the ‘‘Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act.”
Although unlikely to get anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate and certain to be vetoed in any event by President Obama, the repeal bill fulfills a major campaign pledge by Republicans during the mid-term campaign. It puts a stake in the ground for the next two years. The American people have had enough of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama big government, out-of-control spending agenda and will be pushing back.
But as Bill O’Reilly counseled on the “O’Reilly Factor” last night, Republicans should not make the same mistake as the Democrats did by concentrating more on the health care issue than on helping to create jobs and cutting wasteful government spending.
Supporters of the Obamacare repeal bill correctly point out that getting rid of Obamacare will in itself save jobs and cut down on new entitlement spending. But this will be a hard argument to make in the short term, before the most obnoxious features of Obamacare are slated to take effect in 2014.
Also, Republicans need to watch out that they do not fall into the trap of allowing the Democrats to brand them as shills for the insurance industry. This could happen unless Republican leaders make it clear from the outset that they intend to hold the insurance companies’ feet to the fire by prohibiting denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and prohibiting the insurance companies from dropping someone from insurance coverage when that person becomes sick.
The Republican-controlled House also has the power of the purse, which its leaders say they intend to exercise by denying funding for implementing and enforcing key portions of Obamacare. But in order to make this stick, the Obama administration must be prohibited from moving discretionary monies around to make up for any shortfall in direct Obamacare funding. That means making it a criminal act for any Executive branch employee to use any monies appropriated by Congress to implement or enforce any portion of Obamacare unless there is an express Congressional appropriation specified for that purpose.
The time to impose such spending limitations with criminal sanctions is during the lead-up to the vote on raising the debt ceiling that will be occurring in a few weeks. This is the opportunity for the Republicans who are serious about cutting discretionary spending across the board, and stopping any spending on Obamare, to exercise maximum leverage.
President Obama will either have to blink or face the consequences of a government shutdown due to his intransigence on Obamacare and other wasteful spending. That’s a battle the Republicans should win hands-down if they stick to their guns.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.