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.
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.
Legislation offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered healthcare reform would save taxpayers nearly $2.34 trillion over the next 10 years, according to an independent analysis by a former Congressional Budget Office director.
The Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 2300, would provide Americans with tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage, improve access to health savings accounts (HSAs), reform Medicare and Medicaid, and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. It would also guarantee coverage for roughly 1% of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the CBO from 2003 to 2005, and Stephen Parente estimated that these reforms will reduce health insurance premiums almost across the board and reduce the budget deficit by nearly $2.34 trillion in the 10-year budget window from 2014 to 2023.
“H.R. 2300 would lead to smaller premium increases on average when compared to current law. The largest reductions would occur in narrow network and high PPO insurance products,” wrote Holtz-Eakin and Parente at the American Action Forum.
“The number of insured individuals would increase by 29 percent in 2016, a smaller net increase than current law by 3 percentage points. Over ten years, H.R. 2300 would yield a net savings of $2,337 billion,” they added.
The Obamacare disaster has put Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is a tough spot. Not only is he finding discontent from vulnerable Democrats who are fearing for their political futures, Nevada’s largest paper is calling on Reid to consider Republican healthcare ideas because of the Obamacare “meltdown.”
The Las Vegas Journal-Review isn’t buying lines from President Barack Obama and other congressional Democrats who claim that Republicans who oppose the law don’t have any healthcare policy alternatives. The paper points to a comprehensive reform package introduced by Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA) with a number of ideas from which to draw.
“Rep. Price’s plan is lacking in paper weight — it’s 250 pages, compared with the more than 2,000 pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its accompanying thousands more pages of regulations — but it’s heavy on ideas that would make health insurance and medical care more affordable,” wrote the Journal-Review’s editorial board.
Since the disastrous Obamacare at the beginning of October, some administration officials, congressional Democrats, pundits friendly to President Obama have been, unbelievably, trying to place some blame on Republicans for the problems. They’ve also countered the attempts to repeal or delay the Obamacare with the line that Republicans haven’t offered any ideas or alternatives to this administration’s ill-conceived law.
But that’s not true, as George Will explained on Tuesday night during an appearance on Fox News’ Special Report. Republicans have offered alternatives to Obamacare, and they’ve pushed these ideas for several years.
“I think it’s unfair [to say Republicans don’t have healthcare ideas]. Paul Ryan has a premium support plan, John McCain, amazingly, got it right in 2008,” noted Will, a conservative Washington Post columnist. “[H]e said, look, tax all employer-provided health insurance as what it manifestly is, compensation, but compensate for that by giving people a large tax credit to go into the market and shop across state lines, which you’re not allowed to do now, for health insurance.”
After several days of wrangling, House Republicans decided to move forward on a Continuing Resolution that defunds ObamaCare, which will mostly likely pass and head to the Senate, where it may not come to the floor for a vote at all.
The thinking is that the House will then pass a Continuing Resolution that funds the government (and ObamaCare) that can pass the Senate before the end of the month, thus averting a government shutdown.
But Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) set some House Republicans off early yesterday evening. In a statement praising the latest House spending bill, the freshman senator acknowledged that there aren’t enough votes to defund ObamaCare. Even some Senate Republicans have expressed skepticism about the House CR for various reasons (more on that later today), though only a few have publicly knocked the defund ObamaCare approach.
“We commend House leadership and House Republicans for listening to the people and for taking decisive action to stop Obamacare, the biggest job-killer in America,” said Cruz. “Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so.”
“At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people,” he added.
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.”
Months after facing some contention in his own ranks, there are rumors that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will step down from his post after next year’s mid-term election, according to sources who spoke to the Huffington Post:
Despite the effort by Boehner to tamp down speculation that he will depart the House after the 2014 midterms, multiple cooks in Boehner’s kitchen cabinet think the Republican is still strongly considering making his exit just over a year from now.
“I’d be surprised if he did [stay],” said one former senior aide to Boehner, who, like many consulted for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their relationships. (HuffPost spoke to four top former Boehner aides, two current aides, five former leadership aides close to Boehner’s inner circle, and a GOP operative on familiar terms with his circle.)
“It’s probably not up to him,” said one GOP operative. “The natural assumption is that he leaves. It’s the overwhelming, working assumption as people are making strategy going into 2015 and 2016.”
Given the difficulty of retaining the gavel, plus the scant prospect for a so-called grand bargain later in the midst of a presidential election year, stepping down after the midterms would allow Boehner to leave on his own terms.
Boehner will likely deny this report, if he hasn’t already. But he’s been a largely ineffective leader who has been out of step with fiscal conservatives in his caucus, which very nearly cost him his speakership in January.
The Obama Administration has issued the final regulations for ObamaCare’s individual mandate. This controversial provision of the law, which goes into effect at the beginning of next year, requires most Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a punitive tax of $95 or 1% of their gross income.
Even as these regulations for the individual mandate are being implemented, Americans are weary of the provision and want it repealed or delayed, according to a recent tracking poll from The Morning Consult.
The poll, which was conducted at the end of July, found that 60% of registered voters oppose the individual mandate. It also shows that 49% want the individual mandate repealed while 28% believe it should be delayed. Only 39% support the provision and just 24% believe the provision should be implemented on schedule.
The Morning Consult also found that 57% of registered voters believe that ObamaCare will make healthcare more expensive for them through higher co-payments, premiums, and deductibles. Forty-one percent (41%) say that the law will make healthcare less expensive.
The House of Representatives voted on Friday to remove the Internal Revenue Service’s authority to enforce ObamaCare, a response to the agency’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups.
The Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act passed the House in a 232-185 vote. Four Democrats — Reps. John Barrow (D-GA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), and Collin Peterson (D-MN); all of whom are potentially vulnerable next year — voted with Republicans to pass the measure.
Under ObamaCare, the IRS was given 46 new powers, including the authority to enforce the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and distribution of various tax credits and subsidies. This measure would remove enforcement authority, rendering the individual mandate, which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a tax, and the already delayed employer mandate, completely meaningless.