Opinion

Defunding Obamacare more significant than budget cuts

While most of Washington has been focused on what level of spending cuts will be agreed to in the current fiscal year, the more consequential question is whether Obamacare will be defunded or not.

Since last year, when the Democrats abdicated their elementary responsibility to pass a budget, the federal government has been funded through a series of short-term continuing resolutions. In the hope of putting a stop to this tenuous process, House Republicans passed a spending measure for the remainder of the current fiscal year, including $61 billion in cuts and the withholding of discretionary appropriations for Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, and other objectionable items.

Not surprisingly, Democrats have rejected the measure outright, with President Obama issuing a veto threat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proclaiming redundantly that “this will go down in history as probably one of the worst pieces of legislation that we’ve drafted in the history of this Congress.”

As a result of this deadlock, Congress most recently enacted a two-week continuing resolution that only included $4 billion in cuts and none of the GOP’s policy objectives, including the defunding of Obamacare.

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership appears willing to continue this model of a clean CR with $2 billion in cuts per week into perpetuity in order to avoid being held responsible for a government shutdown. If the Democrats go along, $61 billion will have been cut by the end of the current fiscal year. More likely though, the Democrats will only agree to a few more billion in cuts, given Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin’s statement that a mere $10 billion in cuts would be “pushing the limit.”

Either way, only comparably miniscule cuts are likely to be enacted, thus making little positive impact on our record $1.6 trillion deficit this year.

Meanwhile, Obamacare will continue to be funded and become more entrenched by the day.

What House Republicans must realize is that if they include in the continuing resolution Congressman Steve King’s legislative language that fully defunds the law and claws back its over $105 billion in advanced appropriations, they’ll achieve far more fiscally than the $6 billion in cuts they will vote on tomorrow and the maximum $61 billion they are pursuing over the year.

Importantly, they will have also effectively stopped the momentum of Obamacare dead in its tracks, forcing the administration to re-open the health care reform debate.

For these two reasons, their priority should be fully defunding Obamacare and not pitifully begging Democrats for small spending cuts. We urge every House Republican to vote against any continuing resolution that doesn’t have this priority in order.

Colin Hanna and Alex Cortes are respectively the President and Executive Director of Let Freedom Ring.