Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks’ endorsements of Graves’ plan.
Amid growing concerns that House Republicans will be unable to find the votes to pass a Continuing Resolution to before the end of the month, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) has proposed a measure that would keep the government open while also delaying implementation of ObamaCare until 2015.
House Republicans leaders tried some legislative trickery by proposing a Continuing Resolution that wouldn’t defund ObamaCare. Division in the party’s ranks caused the leaders to delay a vote on the measure and threaten the cancelation of the September recess.
“After weeks of working with and listening to members on how to approach the government funding deadline, it’s clear that House Republicans are united around two goals: keeping the government open and protecting our constituents from the harmful effects of Obamacare,” said Graves, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Today, my 42 cosponsors and I are putting forward a plan that achieves both goals.”
Graves says the plan is “straightforward.” The measure funds the government a post-sequester levels, with the exception of defense and national security, while keeping true to House Republicans’ desire to delay and defund ObamaCare.
FreedomWorks hosted a group of bloggers, social media stars, activists, and other liberty-loving folks at its D.C. offices this weekend to discuss the central issue we face today: Defunding ObamaCare.
January 1, 2014 is the ObamaCare ultimatum. As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has stated: “On Jan. 1, the exchanges kick in and the subsidies kick in. Once those kick in, it’s going to prove almost impossible to undo Obamacare. The administration’s plan is very simple: Get everyone addicted to the sugar so that Obamacare remains a permanent feature of our society.”
It’s crucial to use any constitutional resources at our disposal to prevent that from occurring. Fortunately, the Constitution grants the House power over the purse. This is the moment that the 2010 and 2012 Tea Party influx in the House needs to bear fruit.
The federal government’s fiscal year ends September 30. Congress must pass (and the President must sign) a continuing resolution (CR) by that date to continue funding the federal government as of October 1. As explained by Dean Clancy, FreedomWorks Legislative Counsel and VP of Health Care Policy, the key to the defunding strategy is that the CR is a must-pass bill to avoid a temporary slowdown of non-essential government services. This is the leverage we have. We cannot waste it.
How Do We Defund?
Members of Congress are back in their districts this month where they’ll be hearing from constituents about various issues that face the country and their local communities. But in case you haven’t heard, there is a pretty big fight brewing between congressional Republicans over whether or not to fund ObamaCare.
With the current fiscal year expiring at the end of September, there is going to be an extraordinary amount of pressure in Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running. But there is a wrinkle as many conservative members, empowered by the delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate, are pushing leadership to defund the law.
Democrats in both chambers of Congress and the media are quick to point out that defunding ObamaCare will embroil Republicans in a budget showdown with the White House, the likely result of which would be a government shutdown.
But conservative members of Congress are quick to say that don’t want to shutdown the federal government. They note that they want to pass appropriations measures or a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running, they just don’t want to fund a law that Americans consistantly reject and want repealed.
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who has introduced legislation to defund ObamaCare, recently told United Liberty that this effort is about getting rid of a law that harms Americans, not shutting down the government.
Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.
Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”
“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.
Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.
I spent most of Friday in disbelief.
The House was supposed to be considering the Cyber Intelligence Safety and Protection Act, otherwise known as CISPA, on Friday. Thursday I caught some rumors that it was being moved up a day, and when I got online Friday morning, I found that they had indeed voted on it, and it passed 248-168.
My disbelief wasn’t that it passed but rather that my Congressman, Tom Graves, had voted in favor of it. He has a 5-way conservative test for considering legislation, and I’m still not sure how CISPA passed his test. I think CISPA has some obvious Constitutional problems, and when I saw Graves’ vote, I felt (for lack of a better word) betrayed.
That’s not to say that Graves is awful and needs to be thrown out. On the contrary, Tom really is a pretty good Congressman, and he’s usually on the right side of an issue even before I offer my input on legislation. For example, he opposed NDAA, and he was opposing SOPA before everybody else. Graves wasn’t the only usually-good Congressman to vote for this bill. Several others shocked me with a vote for CISPA as well.
While asking around and looking for reasons why these Congressmen went the wrong way on this bill, I was told multiple times that The Heritage Foundation was a major influence in CISPA’s passing. How unfortunate. While The Heritage Foundation typically does a good thing, apparently when it’s wrong, it’s really wrong.
Though the ongoing controversy and revelations about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs have slowed any legislative action to reform loopholes in outdated electronic communications laws, The Hill reports that the Email Privacy Act is picking up steam in the House of Representatives:
The Email Privacy Act from Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kans.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) has 181 co-sponsors in the House, and the authors are “still pushing to get more,” according to a Yoder spokesman.
“There’s a lot of growing support for that bill,” said Mark Stanley of the Center for Democracy and Technology. “A lot of members of Congress see this as a common sense thing.”
More than 40 lawmakers have signed onto the bill since November, pushing the total close to the magic number of 218, which would represent a majority of the House.
Passage of legislation to limit warrantless email searches appeared to be a done deal last year until revelations about National Security Agency surveillance rocked the debate.
The focus on the activities of the NSA shifted Congress’s focus from law enforcement access to national security, shunting the email issue aside.
Did you know that the federal government can get access to your emails because of a loophole in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA). The loophole means that after 180 days, your emails lose protected status and can be accessed by third-party providers without a warrant.
This video, produced by End180Days.org, offers a humorous and informative take on the very serious issue of electronic privacy. Three measures that would close the loophole have been introduced in Congress. United Liberty has covered two of them, ECPA Amendments Act (Leahy-Lee) and the Email Privacy Act (Polis-Yoder-Graves).
It looks like conservatives in the House of Representatives have succeeded. Robert Costa reported late yesterday afternoon at the National Review that Republican leadership will allow a vote on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that defunds ObamaCare, though what comes after that remains in question:
Leadership sources tell me the House GOP will soon vote on a continuing resolution that simultaneously funds the federal government and defunds Obamacare. Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are expected to announce the decision at Wednesday’s closed-door conference meeting.
Here’s how my sources expect this gambit to unfold: The House passes a “defund CR,” throws it to the Senate, and waits to see what Senator Ted Cruz and his allies can do. Maybe they can get it through, maybe they can’t. Boehner and Cantor will be supportive. But if Cruz and company can’t get it through the Senate, the leadership will urge Republicans to turn their focus to the debt limit, avoid a shutdown, and pass a CR that doesn’t defund Obamacare.
Conservative members in the House and outside grassroots and pro-growth groups have been pushing hard to kill a plan backed by leadership that wouldn’t defund ObamaCare. They’ve rallied behind an alternative proposed by Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) that would delay and defund ObamaCare until 2015. Graves’ measure now has 79 co-sponsors, according to his office.
Editor’s note: Rep. Tom Graves has announced seven additional co-sponsors to his proposed spending measure, according to a post on his Facebook page. This brings the total to 66 co-sponsors.
Just days after introducing a measure to delay and defund ObamaCare for the upcoming fiscal year, Rep. Tom Graves’ office announced more support from House Republicans for his proposal.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) were forced to delay a vote last week on a Continuing Resolution that conservative members of the Republican conference said would fund ObamaCare. Congress must pass and President Obama must sign a stop-gap spending measure by the end of the month, when the current fiscal year ends, to avoid a government shutdown.
Graves, a Republican from Georgia, introduced the Stability, Security and Fairness Resolution on Thursday. This proposal, an alternative to the strategy pushed by House Republican leaders, would fund the federal government a post-sequester levels, with the exception of defense and national security. More importantly, this measure would directly take on ObamaCare, pushing back the law until 2015.
“[O]ur plan will achieve fairness for every American by fully delaying and defunding Obamacare until 2015,” said Graves in a press release last week. “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.”
With Congress set to return to Washington in just under two weeks, Republicans are incredibly divided on how to deal with ObamaCare in the upcoming Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded for another year.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) have been urging members of both chambers to sign onto their push to defund ObamaCare. Basically, this means that Congress would withhold statutory funding for the 2010 healthcare law while funding the rest of the government. But the idea has faced a substantial amount of opposition from Republican politicians and pundits who feel that this maneuver would led to a government shutdown, a prospect that they believe will be blamed the GOP.
Some 80 Republicans have signed on to a letter urging House leadership to back the effort, though only 14 Republican senators have signed the letter in the upper chamber. Cruz acknowledged over the weekend that the effort to defund ObamaCare doesn’t have enough votes to succeed and noted that it would take a “grassroots tsunami” to push it through Congress.
The merits of defunding ObamaCare are well understood. This is a destructive law that is greatly influencing the rise in health insurance premiums and hurting job growth as employers resort to hiring mostly part-time workers to skirt the laws’ costly mandates.